Saturday, February 18, 2017

Lily Gladstone talks 'Certain Women' and mentions Kristen with The Guardian

And how has it been to have the support of an even wider community – all these rave reviews? “It has, at times, been a bit overwhelming,” she admits. And was she ever thrown off track by acting alongside such a constellation of stars? “I was daunted after seeing the cast list and before auditioning. But my mantra for the rancher became: don’t think about it – one of the lines in the story.” And besides, she and Kristen Stewart (with whom she is mainly acting) clicked: “Kristen has an incredibly sharp, artistic mind, catches every micro-expression, understands how to drive a scene, gave me everything I needed. And we bonded over our admiration of Kelly.” When pressed to say what makes Reichardt special, she adds: “She gives her actors freedom and her world space. And she is good to be with – the best thing you can say about a person. She has a wonderful, dry, not overreaching sense of humour.” She volunteers that she also formed a bond with Michelle Williams because they both come from Montana and were even, she reveals with satisfaction, born in the same hospital.

She then tells the story of how Reichardt first went out to Montana and drove around until she saw a ranch she liked and knocked on its door. Lynn, the ranch owner, was resistant to the idea of a film at first. She said she did not want to exploit the beauty of her landscape for Hollywood. “But Kelly spends five minutes with somebody’s dog and…” Gladstone laughs – does not need to finish her sentence. Lynn and Reichardt quickly became friends but Lynn remained “hesitant”, especially about “having some actress she didn’t know working with her horses”. Gladstone had been around horses before but had no rancher experience – everything she learned was from Lynn. She says: “Lynn and I became close. She has no children and was born in 1953 – the same year as my own parents.”

When people praise the film for its “lived-in” quality, Gladstone believes they are reflecting her experience: “I lived on that ranch for two weeks. I got into the lull of daily chores – you have nothing but silence and rhythm. A lot of the character I found there.” To look the part, she even helped herself to Lynn’s boots and overalls with their ripped linings. And Lynn’s doubts were – slowly – put to rest. The horses came first, the film had to fit around them: “Reichardt is such an animal lover and would not let the horses go 15 minutes off their feed schedule.” Gladstone got to know the lead horse, Remington, by riding it every day: “I’m not as assertive as some lifetime cowboys but I figured it out.” It is charming to watch her offering Stewart’s Beth a lift on horseback to the diner and back – especially in a film where so much conversation happens in cars.

But what I kept wondering, as I watched the film, was this: how aware was Gladstone of what her face was expressing at every turn? “When I was little,” she laughs, “my father used to tell me he could see when I was lying because I’d get a twinkle in my eye. But I rarely make a meticulous choice in placing a gesture. I’m more fuelled by what is in the gut. One of the most intriguing things I talked about with Kristen is: how self-aware do you allow your characters to be? Sometimes, your audiences have an insight into the character that the character doesn’t.” The most important decision was about the “level of crush” her character had on Beth. “I told Kristen: ‘I’m not going to let Jamie be all that self-aware’ because, after all, who is?”

Gladstone was herself coming to terms, during filming, with the end of a relationship. How much did the pain of that personal experience feed her performance? “It was a lesson in learning how to let go and walk away – not easy, but important wisdom. My relationship helped – although I’ve also often been in Beth’s position in my life.” And she briefly considers the difficulty of having a person besotted with you: “Beth’s hand is forced when Jamie shows up with that horse, there is nowhere she can go!”

Read Lily's full interview with the Guardian at the source.

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