The NY Daily News recently caught up with Mary and talked to her about the research she did for Smashed, how she hung out with Aaron Paul and her career. Click the link to read the full interview.
It’s a major career leap for Winstead, who’s been acting since she was 13. Now 27, she had a breakthrough playing the love interest in 2010’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” But despite major roles since then in big-budget studio flicks (“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and the remake of “The Thing”), she was unsatisfied with the films being offered her.
“When I was younger, I was just excited to have any work at all,” Winstead says. “To be part of making a movie was mind-blowingly exciting. And I don’t want to lose that feeling.”
She insists she’s not jaded. “But I wanted to demand more of myself and the people around me so I can keep growing. Rather than just going from job to job, I wanted to force myself to be better,” she says. “It’s great to work, but I’d like to do something more challenging.”
For research, Winstead attended A.A. meetings with the film’s co-writer, Susan Burke. Winstead found that while she didn’t have a substance-abuse problem herself, the lessons of the 12-step program were nonetheless invaluable.
“It definitely terrifies me,” she says. “So I’d love to try my hand at it.”
A new Smashed review has been released via Village Voice:
Movies about drugs and alcohol might be a dime (bag) a dozen, but James Ponsoldt’s Smashed is so beautifully shot and well acted as to transcend the genre. Centered on a twentysomething alcoholic named Kate (an excellent Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the film further distinguishes itself via an atypical arc: Kate has already hit rock bottom at film’s beginning—no, seriously. She wets the bed, pukes in front of a classroom full of first-graders, and smokes crack within the first 10 minutes and spends the rest of it clawing her way back into civilized society. Smashed is as much about recovery as it is about addiction, with Ponsoldt successfully making the case that the 12 steps are sometimes more difficult than whatever necessitated them in the first place. Kate’s main obstacle in her struggle isn’t her own willpower, it turns out, but rather the influence of her enabling husband, Charlie (an equally good Aaron Paul, no stranger to this sort of material), who, having never hit the same lows as his wife, can’t quite see the point in getting on the wagon. Ponsoldt doesn’t take sides in their frequent back-and-forth, instead letting the growing distance between the couple act as its own statement on their incompatibility. There’s more speechifying than there needs to be in an otherwise low-key movie of relative brevity, but Smashed at its worst is still better than many other films of its kind at their best.