After Mary and Riley talked to The Bitter Script Reader in part one of yesterday’s interview and how Faults came to be, part two focuses on writing and performing characters with layers, and Mary’s thoughts on issues with the writing of many roles for women. Click the link to read the full interview. Highlights below:
BSR: Mary, how are you layering your performance? It would be easy to just play Claire’s deception as sincere up until the reveal, but in watching it, it feels like you were very aware of “real Claire” and “fake Claire” and letting us get a hint that she’s wearing a mask. How do you do that?
MEW: I wanted it to feel very sincere in the beginning. I kind of realized as I was doing it how much I was enjoying all of it. At first I was worried about it, like, “Should I be having this much fun doing these emotional scenes?” Then I realized that was a good thing because ultimately Claire is having fun with this whole situation. She’s just like getting a kick out of it. I was going with sincerity, but also enjoying it.
BSR: Do you often get offered roles like this, with this complexity?
MEW: No, I don’t think that kind of material comes around very often in general. Just look at the landscape of female roles out there. I just think it’s really hard to find material that’s exciting and roles that are gonna showcase everything that you can do. And I wasn’t even sure going into this if I’d be able to bring the complexity that would make this a great role for me. Not even until I saw the movie was I like, “Okay, I can take a deep breath.”
SR: Mary, I don’t feel like you’re typecast in the sort of roles you do, but do you feel like you’re typecast in the sorts of scripts you’re sent?
MEW: That’s interesting… I think it’s changing now. The past couple years it’s been different than it was before. It’s really interesting how one project can kind of shift the perception of how people see you, even in terms of looks and stuff. I used to get “the cute girl” and now I get “rough, haggard” because of Smashed.
RS: Or after The Thing where they thought of you as really tough.
MEW: You can always tell someone saw something else I did and thought “She’d be good for this.” I still get heroine roles or action roles, and then I get more indie, rough-and-tumble, kind of messy…
Thanks to a bunch of massively underrated, underexposed actors who are given the meaty screen time they deserve to shine, Stearns makes a flawless debut as writer-director, showcasing his ability to shock even where you may have guessed the twists. The Coen brothers-esq characterisation is so captivating that you almost feel you’re being indoctrinated into some sort of cult yourself. Thanks to fearless performances, the results are darkly humorous, disturbingly convincing, and above all, manipulative. When one character asks: ‘doesn’t it feel good just to listen instead of thinking?’, it is like being awoken from hypnosis, and you realise how easily Stearns has pulled us under.