Exclusive Coverage and Stills from the Los Angeles Premiere of The Woman
Arriving on the carpet, Scottish actress Pollyanna McIntosh dished regarding what interested her in reprising her role, one which in the past she has described as ‘challenging.’
“First off it’s really attractive when someone’s writing a script for you because they think you are good enough to carry a movie,” said McIntosh, who in addition to Offspring appeared in the horror feature Bats: Human Harvest. “From the purely egotistical basis that’s exciting, and from an artist’s perspective that’s exciting, because you think, ‘Well, I can really take this and collaborate with these people and make something that you feel a real part of from the start,’ so that attracted me. Also, I knew the character already from the Offspring book and film which I’d done, and I was just really excited about stepping back into that, kind of my raw female self. There’s such a license with that character to go to places that we all feel like going to sometimes that we don’t get to express normally.”
Was returning to the role cathartic for the actress, given the arc of that character and the demands of the role?
“Yes!” she laughed. “Honestly, people say to me, ‘Oh god you did this and did that! How could you go there?’ I feel like I was that person as a kid. I was that little creature as a kid, and I’m just really glad I can finally admit it!”
“The first reaction I experienced to the film was at Sundance from that guy, and it was really strong,” McIntosh mused of the continued buzz surrounding The Woman, “and luckily that was the only negative response that I’ve received from it. I haven’t had any negative questions at screenings, I haven’t had anyone Facebook me and tell me what an asshole I am, or how I am mistreating women or blah blah blah, but I have had wonderful messages from men and women alike saying how much they’ve been moved by the film and how much they’ve enjoyed it, and some really intelligent discussions at screenings about the film, too.”
Still, she wasn’t displeased by the results of the ‘Sundance Incident.’
“Oh my god, I must say I am so grateful for that dude being so furious,” said the actress. “(The reaction once the incident was posted to YouTube) was super fast. And you know, tell cinephiles that they can’t watch a movie and that it should be censored, and of course that movie becomes the most popular kid on the block, so he couldn’t have done us a bigger favor, and he did it for free!”
Regarding her current project, McIntosh dished, “I just wrapped two days ago and flew back from Luxembourg from a movie called Love Eternal, which was written and directed by Brendan Muldowney, who did a film called Savage, which wasn’t really a horror film but was at a lot of genre festivals because it’s kind of dark and quite violent. (With Love Eternal) he has adapted a Kei Oishi novel, the Japanese writer who wrote the book that The Grudge was based on.”
Of Muldowney’s adaptation of Love Eternal, “Brendan is a horror writer,” reflected the actress, “but it’s so funny to me because when I read the script, I had no idea that it was based on a horror novel because it has no element of horror about it at all, except that it’s got interesting dark characters and it’s about loss and being an outsider, which I think horror films often have, but it’s certainly taken away all of the extremely controversial stuff that was in the novel. It’s not in the script, but it’s a great sort of a dark romance, and I got to play a grieving woman who covers everything with sort of an insistent sense of hope, and it was exhausting to play, but I think we’ve got a good thing in the bag, so I’m quite excited.”
The Woman lead Sean Bridgers, who's had a prolific television and film career, stated of his attraction to his character of the Cleek patriarch while on the carpet, “I liked the character’s flaws. He’s a sociopath, and he tries to control everyone, and he thinks that he can, and so there’s a certain amount of arrogance in the character that I hadn’t been able to play before, so that was intriguing. And the story itself! I mean, as an actor I’m not necessarily that interested in the role: it’s more if I like the story that I’m a part of. It doesn’t really matter to me what character I am, as long as I am in a good story. So it was the script itself that intrigued me.”
Given the hellish subject matter which unto itself may have required a suspension of audience disbelief, “There were things about it, though, that I wasn’t sure would work,” said Bridgers of The Woman’s narrative, “(particularly) the opening and the ending, and I was concerned about that. When I first read it I thought, ‘Well, if this doesn’t work and it isn’t accomplished in some way that at the time I couldn’t imagine, then we might really have a problem.’ I knew that the scenes themselves would sort of work and that we could make them work, but when I saw the film at Sundance, I was so pleased because Lucky is brilliant. What he did with those things that I myself couldn’t imagine, and Sean Spillane who did the score and Zach Passero the editor – they just did a great job of putting it together, and so the film as a whole is just really fresh, and I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”
Concerning his approach to his character, a man whose misogyny boils beneath his measured façade, “I was just happy that someone gave me the ball,” Bridgers said. “Lucky had enough faith in me to say, ‘Yeah, carry this’ for the storyline of the family and all of that, because I get to drive some of it, and that was really great. Just the opportunity to be able to do something new is always a pleasure. I think the film’s a masterpiece.”
Young actor Zach Brand (who portrays Bridger’s adolescent male offspring who’s drawn inexorably downward as he looks to his depraved father for guidance) chimed in, “It was weird to play a character like that because he’s totally not like me. It was challenging to play someone as ‘dead’ as that character. It’s kind of hard not to show any emotions. I did a lot of research in preparing with my mother, and I looked to Sean and asked him what he knew about this, and he helped me in approaching it.”
Carlee Baker, who, too, was on the carpet, stated of her turn in The Woman (the actress portrays ‘Genevieve Raton,’ the high school teacher of Cleek daughter ‘Peggy’ whose concern for her student leads to places she couldn’t predict), “I see her as if she had just started working as a teacher and is a little unsure of where her boundaries are in regards to that, and I think that it actually takes a lot of balls to do what she does as a character. She’s thrust into such a topsy-turvy world where she doesn’t even understand what’s going on because everything is so bizarre that it’s almost impossible for her to kind of get a grasp on what her surroundings are. I think that’s kind of a cool thing.”
With paparazzi snapping away and others arriving to the carpet and premiere (including The Lost director Chris Sivertson, Brawler star Marc Senter, Madison County’s Ace Marrero and Joanna Sotomura, actress Brooke Lewis, filmmakers Sean Cain, Christian Ackerman and more), Baker (who previously appeared in the horror flick Wicked Lake) reflected of The Woman’s continued buzz, “It’s been amazing - more than I ever thought this little film capable of. It just keeps exceeding everyone’s expectations, and I have no doubt that it will continue to do so. But it’s been really lovely and an amazing experience, and I’m not taking anything for granted. I’m just trying to experience it right now.”
For more information visit the official The Woman website.
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