Posted by Valentina Valentini on August 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm
When I opened my interview with Melanie Lynskey, poolside at the cozy boutique hotel in Beverly Hills, with what I thought was an ice breaker (“What question do you hate being asked most?”) she answered earnestly: “I don’t know… nothing really comes to mind.” Nothing seems to bother her too much when it comes to interviewing.
Well, what a dream she is for press.
Lynskey, a native Kiwi who burst onto the silver screen in 1994 with her role as real-life murderer Pauline Parker, opposite Kate Winslet in Heavenly Creatures, portrays Amy Minsky in next week’s indie release, Hello I Must Be Going. The story is by Sarah Koskoff, a former actress and first-time feature writer, and is directed by Todd Louiso – a fellow actor and sometimes writer and director.
Amy, 35 and recently divorced, is forced to move back in with her parents (Blythe Danner and John Rubinstein) and their super gorgeous Connecticut home after realizing that her life was actually her husband’s life. Having left a potential career in photography at the alter and committing friendships to only her husband’s friends, Amy finds herself isolated, lost and more than a bit demoralized.
When a bold and beautiful 18-year-old (Christopher Abbott) shows up at her parents’ dinner party, son of a potential business partner with her father, Amy embarks on a fun and sexy affair. Something desperately needed for her to find herself again, the film reminds us that to get back up, you gotta hit bottom first…and that while down there, you might just meet the people that really care about you.
Was Hello I Must Be Going a jumping off point for you, proving that you can carry a film?
I didn’t really look at it that way. There is definitely a different kind of responsibility when you’re in every scene of a movie. It’s a little bit terrifying. But it wasn’t something I was actively seeking out. I just loved that script and was excited about the character.
I think Amy was a really relatable character for many women, divorced or not – did you find her enjoyable to play, even though her plight was difficult?
The most difficult parts of life for me are the stuff that’s most interesting to play in a character. I don’t like to be in a place where I don’t know what the future holds, that grey area, the uncomfortable ‘anything can happen,’ and ‘who am I?’ all the yuckiest stuff in life is the most fun to play. But it’s not fun to be in that place every day. It was such a relief when Chris showed up after the first week of shooting and I got to be in love and happy. I got to get out of slumping around in that T-shirt and having fights with my parents.
Do you have any rituals or routines that you always have to do before you dive into a role?
That’s so impossible to talk about without sounding like a crazy person or the most pretentious person of all time. [Which Lynskey is neither, I assure you.]
I operate from my unconscious. So when I read a script, if something resonates with me on some weird level, I know that it’s going to be something that I want to do. Then all the work that I do from that point on comes from what that initial feeling was.
Creative Dream Work is what I do to prepare. Now this is where I start to sound crazy [she laughs] – you write a letter to yourself and you ask yourself for a dream about the script, the character, and then with my teacher I’ll work on whatever comes from the dream.
What happens if you don’t have the dream?
Then you do what is called a waking dream, where you take a day of your life and explore it as the character and like it’s a dream. But usually I have a dream.
I have to ask – how was making out with a much younger guy?
It’s always weird. I know everyone says that, but there’s a bunch of people around, you don’t really know each other – it really is weird.
The first time Chris and I kissed each other it was so awkward. We were very polite about it. We did a little [lips puckered cutely] ‘muah, muah muah’ and then went off to the kitchen. We looked at each other and said, ‘We can NOT keep kissing like that for this whole movie.’ So we sat down and told each other horror stories about other love scenes we had to shoot, we told each other what we were comfortable with, and we got very explicit with each other – not in a filthy way, just so that every question you could have was off the table. The next kiss after that was awesome. We even high-fived after it!
Look for Hello I Must Be Going in limited release on September 7.