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Amy Adams and director Jean-Marc Vallée talk family dysfunction and rock to Led Zeppelin

LA Times –  Get actress Amy Adams and director Jean-Marc Vallée into a room together and at some point Led Zeppelin might start blaring through the puny speakers of an iPhone, with Adams doing a subtle sing-along midway.

“We could keep this going,” Adams warns, as she bobs her head in time along with Vallée to the iconic band’s “What Is and What Should Never Be” inside a Beverly Hills hotel on a recent afternoon.

The musical moment is enough to make you wonder what could have been. The two were set to team up on a biopic of Janis Joplin, with Adams, a multi Oscar-nominee whose acclaimed work in films such as “Arrival,” “American Hustle,” “Nocturnal Animals” and “The Master” propelled her to the top ranks of Hollywood actresses, set to play the legendary ’60s rock singer.

That project was ultimately shelved. But music, ever so slightly, has finally united them in a different endeavor: HBO’s“Sharp Objects.”

Making its premiere July 8, the limited series is an adaption of the 2006 debut novel of the same name from author Gillian Flynn, whose other novels, “Gone Girl” and “Dark Places,” were made into feature films.

“Sharp Objects” is a psychological thriller that stars Adams as Camille Preaker, a troubled reporter with a penchant for drinking and cutting herself, who has been assigned to cover the mysterious murders of two young girls in her small Missouri hometown of Wind Gap. The journey to her fictional home also forces Camille to confront the corrosive effects of her psychologically abusive relationship with her mother, Adora, played by Patricia Clarkson.

It’s a series that’s been 12 years in the making — and, well, one that was originally poised to be a feature film. That is until Marti Noxon, the writer and producer behind “UnReal” and, currently, “Dietland,” persuaded the producers that had optioned the book that the onlysmart way to make this was for TV.

“I said, here’s who I am. This is a TV show, it’s not a movie,” Noxon recalled in a separate interview. “And [the producers] were like, “Well, we’re pretty far down the road to make it a movie. And I said, ‘I think you’re wrong’ until they eventually saw that I was right. … My argument really was that these kind of female characters are not successful in films and could get shoveled off to an indie — or it could be a studio movie where they try to make it ‘Less Sharp Objects.’ But for it to be as provoking and to build out some of the characters, it belonged on TV. You would have lost all that.”

Flynn characterizes the long journey from book to screen more simply: “The book was waiting for Amy.”

The eight-episode miniseries is directed entirely by Vallée, who won an Emmy for helming the first season of last year’s critically acclaimed “Big Little Lies.” And in keeping with Vallée’s reputation for preferring songs over score music to amplify emotions, “Sharp Objects” makes noticeable use of music, including Led Zeppelin (hence the jam session) — for reasons that will reveal themselves as the series plays out on the small screen.

In a long-ranging conversation, Adams and Vallée spoke about what drew them to “Sharp Objects,” their working relationship, and what might have been lost had it been a film.

Amy, what opportunity did you see in this character, in terms of expanding the types of portrayals we see of women on screen?

Adams: She just has such a deep pain. That’s something that I sense in people around me, I sense in myself — there’s a darkness or pain and it’s not something that we share openly. That’s what I’m always interested in exploring … this private experience of life. . Even if we don’t have similar vices in common with Camille, I think you can take away this idea of feeling alone or feeling unwanted or an alienation from family, which creates alienation itself. In the book, the line that got me, which always gets me, is her boss says — or she’s recalling something her boss said — and she says, “Curry always said I was a soft touch.” Outside of all of these really dramatic vices that she has, she’s a really tender heart and she cares. I find the most tender people are the most easily wounded and they end up with the biggest scars.

What did you bring out in each other in your respective roles?

Adams: I can be a very heady person. I like to think and I like to plan and I can be like precise. When you’re working in the way Jean-Marc works, it kind of takes you out of your head and puts you into a very visceral place. Exhaustion isn’t the right word but you just stop telling a story and start living the story.

Vallée: When she started to act, she’d use a tone down, and start to talk more [Vallée speaks softly to demonstrate]. The first day of shooting, I was like, “OK, that’s Camille’s voice she’s doing, hmm?” And I wasn’t sure about it. And you [Amy] just did it. You just went into this kind of talking where people have to listen — she’s a cerebral journalist, she has an obsession with words —

Adams: She also doesn’t want people to see her. You’re not gonna draw a lot of attention to yourself with volume. I didn’t know that you [Vallée] were like, “Oh, what is she doing with your voice?” You know, you’re not the first. I worked with … I won’t tell you what director, but I worked with a director and I brought out the voice that I was doing and he literally went home and was like in full sweat until the next day, when he’s like, “Oh, no, no, no, yeah. It’s not Amy’s, she’s putting it on,” I’m sorry. You’re not the first to be freaked out. I didn’t know you were freaked out. That’s funny. I totally get it because we hadn’t had a conversation.

Vallée: But, to answer your question, what I learned and what I saw from Amy is that she had an understanding for who is Camille. I don’t really verbalize, and she does and she did, and I was receiving this every morning and it was putting me in a safe place.

The narrative touches on a lot of themes: the way your past can haunt you, the cycle of mental abuse, the way women treat each other.

Vallée: Yes, that history of abuse is what is heartbreaking — behind all the murder, the investigation [Camille] is doing — we want to discover what happened to Camille. And then, we get to understand the vicious cycle of abuse. And when you get to discover that’s why she’s cutting herself — this mother-daughter relationship that is so unique and so singular and so troubled. You’re supposed to feel protected and safe in your home with your mother, and you’re not.

Adams: That’s what’s interesting to me as well is this idea of generational violence between women, and it’s not something that’s been explored in this way, or at least that I’ve had the opportunity to explore. Every time I play something, I always do a lot of research, just to make sure if the story’s too out there, I’ve got to base it in reality and I always find so many stories or, by doing projects, people will approach me that I wouldn’t have expected to. I’ve shared some stories with a friend of mine about her relationship with her mother that I can’t even believe what I hear. And it just reminds me that these stories happen and there is this generational cycle that’s hard to break but important to break.

The book relies on narration to help bring in Camille’s internal perspective. The TV series does not.

Vallée: I read the script and I went “Oh, my God. There’s no voice-over in the script. This is what I love in the book’.’So I went to Gillian and Marti, what’s going on? Where’s the voice-over? I wanna hear her talk.

Adams: Camille is a very reactive character and it was hard for me to wrap my head around it too. She is reactive.

Vallée: Then of course they manage to get the quality of her internal voice into the scripts through dialogue and some details in her action. And we found a way, in the cutting room, to cut to quick flashbacks to get into her head. And this visual language becomes almost her voice-over because we see what she thinks of, how she thinks of, what she’s afraid of, what she fantasizes about. And words — in the editing room, we added words in the reality from [Camille’s] perspective, but when it’s from someone else’s perspective the words are not there. Like, you’ll notice the word “dirty” scrawled on the trunk, like someone wrote “dirty.”

Adams: That’s amazing. That’s so smart because so much of Camille being obsessed with words is her claiming reality, her understanding that there’s something that she knows, trying to hang on to truth, and she puts it on her body as a memory. So yes, it’s cutting but it’s also claiming the truth, claiming the moment because Adora has so systemically created this insanity inside of her where she no longer trusts anything.

Amy, this is your first time serving as an executive producer on a project. What was the experience like? Do you want to do more of it?

Adams: I think it’s something I want to head towards. I’d be curious to try it again if I had more of a supporting role because I really do like to be active. But as a producer, I think people trusted that I actually wanted to make the day shorter and make us all more comfortable, you know what I mean? I’m not sure that I’ve ever felt comfortable using my voice in that way. Like trying to, believing that people would trust that I was doing things for the betterment of the whole and not just of myself. I think that’s something that I really enjoyed and also getting into all parts of the project. It was intense. There was a lot of things that I loved about it.

“Sharp Objects” was optioned to be a film before it became the TV series. What do you think might’ve gotten lost or not fully explored had that happened?

Adams: I think Wind Gap as a character would’ve been lost. All of the smaller characters might have been repressed a little bit. And I think they’re so informative to how those structures stay into place, how everything kind of keeps as is.

Vallée: In two hours, the character-driven stuff, the emotional stuff would’ve been hurt … and suffered.

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 Photoshoots > 2018 > #008 LA Times

Fox Dates Amy Adams Pic ‘Woman In The Window’

Deadline

Amy Adams will star in the former, Joe Wright and screenwriter Tracey Letts’ adaptation of A.J. Finn’s hit Hitchcockian-style novel about an agorophobic child psychologist with a drinking problem who one day witnesses a crime take place in the house across the park. Scott Rudin and Eli Bush are producing.

The slot means The Woman In The Window could potentially feature in early 2020 awards chatter. Fox’s similarly-angled Oscar-nominated box office smash Gone Girl got an early October slot in 2014 while Universal releasedThe Girl On The Train at the same time in 2016 to strong effect and a BAFTA nomination for Blunt.

Amy Adams attends the “Sharp Objects” premiere in LA

On June 26, Amy Adams attended the premiere of her upcoming miniseries ‘Sharp Objects at the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles. She was there with her husband Darren Le Gallo, her co-stars Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina, Taylor John Smith, Madison Davenport, Sydney Sweeney, Eliza Scanlen, Elizabeth Perkins, and Hilary Ward, the author of the book Gillian Flynn and series creator Marti Noxon.

The eight-episode miniseries debuts on HBO on July 8.

Amy was looking amazing in a Calvin Klein by Appointment  black dress and Cartier jewelry.

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 Appearances & Public Events > 2018 > Jun 26 │Premiere of “Sharp Objects” in Los Angeles

Amy Adams Talks #MeToo Movement and her new project ‘Sharp Objects’

Amy Adams discusses getting into character for her role in the dark new HBO series “Sharp Objects” in a candid new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

Adams, 43, who plays a deeply troubled newspaper reporter who cuts and draws all over her skin, insists it wasn’t an easy task.

Amy touches upon the ongoing #MeToo movement as she sat down with “Sharp Objects” novelist Gillian Flynn and show creator Marti Noxon for the chat.

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Amy Adams Goes Dark: ‘Sharp Objects’ and a Female Antihero for a Troubled Time

The five-time Oscar nominee joins the women behind the acclaimed HBO limited series — novelist Gillian Flynn and creator Marti Noxon — for a pointed conversation about the rise of complicated women onscreen and the personal impact of the #MeToo movement: “I’m an idealist — it can be annoying and I’m constantly disappointed.”

It’s not 20 minutes into our interview, and already Gillian Flynn is in tears.

The best-selling author of Gone Girl is huddled with Mad Men writer Marti Noxon and five-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams in a private room at a bustling Brentwood steakhouse. They’re here to talk about their prestige murder mystery, Sharp Objects, adapted from Flynn’s lesser-read debut novel about a deeply troubled newspaper reporter, Camille Preaker, who cuts and draws all over her skin. On the surface, Flynn, 47, wouldn’t seem to have much in common with the character — except that she too was once a journalist, for Entertainment Weekly, back in the early aughts — but Camille clearly is close to her heart. “The reason I wrote about the scars,” she says, “was because I felt that [misery] of, like, ‘Why can’t anyone see how much pain I’m in?'”

When Sharp Objects premieres July 8 on HBO, with Adams, 43, playing Camille, it enters a landscape in which such darkness traditionally has been reserved for male leads. In fact, conversations about whether audiences were ready or willing to see a woman maim herself have been had more than once at the premium cable network. And, per its programming president, Casey Bloys, for good reason. “I can’t think of a more complicated female lead,” he says of the first drama he bought when his purview expanded in early 2016. “There are a lot of celebrated, self-destructive male leads out there, but it’s going be very interesting to see a woman really wrestling with her demons like that.”

Such questions have trailed Flynn for more than a decade. “No one wants to read a book about difficult women,” she was told over and over when she initially pitched the manuscript to publishers back in 2005. Ultimately, Crown bit — “but barely,” she jokes (and in doing so earned Flynn’s loyalty, in the form of two more best-sellers, including 2012’s monster hit Gone Girl, which has sold more than 9 million copies). Sharp Objects‘ journey to screen didn’t go much smoother. It wasn’t until Noxon, 53, stepped in, in early 2014, and convinced rights holder Jason Blum to let her reconceive it as a TV series, rather than a film, that things began moving. Four and a half years later, that vision — under the direction of Big Little Lies auteur Jean-Marc Vallee, 55 — is finally being realized.

On this springtime afternoon, the female trio, each a hands-on producer (with Adams on the heels of a development deal to produce and star in more for the network), spoke candidly about everything from psychological pain to sexual harassment.

Gillian, Sharp Objects launched your career as a novelist, but it wasn’t an easy sell. How come?

GILLIAN FLYNN No one wanted to buy the book. I was writing it in 2004, 2005, and it was really in response to the fact that I didn’t see that kind of character out there. You saw portrayals of bad-boy men and men who were making bad choices. They were everywhere. And I thought, “Where are the women who are like this?” It was at a time where “chick lit” was very popular, and that drove me insane. It was all about these women shopping in their heels, and the end was about getting the boy. I wanted more than that, so I wrote it. You always hope to get that bidding war and instead it was crickets. We’d hear a lot of, “We like her writing, show us her next book.” And, “We just don’t think this book’s gonna sell.”

Ultimately, you found a buyer.

FLYNN At Crown, and I’ve stayed there ever since.

AMY ADAMS Do you go all Pretty Woman into the other publishing companies now and say, “Big mistake, big mistake”? (Laughter.)

FLYNN Loaded with all my books, all the spinoffs … (Puts out her hands and wobbles, as though she’s carrying too many books.)

ADAMS Your awards …

FLYNN All my airport paperbacks. “Suckas!” (Laughter.)

MARTI NOXON My analogous fantasy is the ex-boyfriend audition. It’s all exes coming in to audition for me. And I get to say, “Ya know, that was interesting. We’ll be in touch.”

ADAMS “I’m just looking for something else. Just something … else.”

The process of bringing it to screen doesn’t sound like it was much better, correct?

FLYNN Yeah, there was no interest. (Laughs.) Or only nibbles. Fun fact: Andrea Arnold picked it up and dropped it, and now she’s [taken over for Vallee directing] the next season of Big Little Lies. Other than that, it just sat silently. And a bit of that was my choice, because anyone who was interested wanted to do it as a horror film.

And you objected to that?

FLYNN Yeah. I wrote Sharp Objects because I wanted to write a character study, and I hid that inside of a mystery. I tricked people into reading about women and violence and rage and what that looked like in three different generations of women. That’s what I wanted to write about, and I figured out I could do it if I coated it in this yummy Southern Gothic mystery. But people were only interested in the yummy, chocolate coating of the mystery and not the Camille part, and I knew that I was going to lose that if I sold it that way.

You were each, in your own way, drawn to this central character of Camille. Why?

FLYNN I’m a laugh-through-the-pain kind of person. I wrote Camille coming from a very, very dark place, a place of deep pain. The reason I wrote about the scars, about Camille writing on her skin, was because I felt that [misery] of, like, “Why can’t anyone see how much pain I’m in?” I wished I could bear witness somehow. I had these fantasies of being mangled — of showing how much pain I was in.

Was putting it on paper, even if in fictional form, cathartic?

FLYNN Writing is always cathartic. It’s also always painful as fuck. (Laughter.) I’d say it was a saving thing for me. To me, Camille is … (Begins crying.) … a testament that people are braver than you think and that everyone walkin’ around is wounded in some way. It’s this idea that sometimes keeping your head above water is the brave thing. Oh, God, if this gets printed, my mom is gonna call me immediately: “Honey?” (Laughter.) She’ll say the same thing she did after she read Sharp Objects. “That was such a great book, so how’s …? Are you OK? Should we talk?”

What about you, Marti?

NOXON I jokingly refer to [my last three projects,] To the BoneDietland and now Sharp Objects as my self-harm trilogy.

FLYNN Oh, God. (Laughter.)

NOXON I got very sick [with an eating disorder] when I was young. In fact, I almost died repeatedly until I got sober in my early 20s. And then around the time I went into menopause, I got sick again and to treat that I started drinking again. And because I knew all the signs of what could happen, I was trying to arrest it, mid-fall, which is really hard to do because I hadn’t hit bottom — but I knew what it would be, I had a memory of what bottom was like. So, when I read Sharp Objects, I was like, “That’s what I’m doing to myself right now. But I do have a choice about this. I don’t have to keep cutting myself, metaphorically. I don’t have to keep living in this pain.” It’s funny, I remember a man on the crew said to me early on, “I don’t get it, why would anybody want to watch this? It’s so dark.”

What do you say to that?

NOXON I explained what I just explained to you and that it’s an experience that a lot of marginalized people — not just women, anybody who is not in the ruling class — have.

Amy, you had to inhabit this exceedingly dark world for five months. How did you prepare yourself to get into the character and, just as important, back out of it?

ADAMS I often said that if I left set or left a scene feeling like I needed to cry or left crying, I had done my job. Because Camille isn’t someone who’s going to cry in front of people, she’s going to internalize that pain. I felt like I had residual pain from her more than pain playing her. I also tend to be a sufferer of, like, 2 to 3 o’clock in the morning insomnia, and that’s when Camille would catch up with me. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and have like unexplained terror or self-loathing and I’d have to work my way out of it. That said, the scenes that were hardest were the ones with Patricia [Clarkson, who plays Camille’s mom].

NOXON They’re the hardest to watch, too.

ADAMS Because she just keeps going back to the same well and drawing the same poison water. And that’s so common and it’s something we all, ugh, it’s hard to talk about. I have two parents who are alive and I feel like I shouldn’t …

You had prosthetic scars glued on daily. How did that impact your performance?

ADAMS I think what helped me was I had to stand naked because it was head to toe, every inch of my body. So, there I’d be, in a taped-on thong. Everyone was so professional but, to me, there’s such a humiliation to it. I’m not a, what’s the word?

NOXON An exhibitionist?

ADAMS I’m not an exhibitionist, I’m not somebody who naturally feels comfortable parading myself around in front of people, so I had to have a false bravado standing there naked. There was also a mirror right there and I had to confront my body and I’d stopped working out to play Camille because I thought, “She’s not gonna be toned, it’s gonna be annoying if we see her naked and she looks like me in American Hustle.”

FLYNN She’s not someone who takes care of herself.

ADAMS She eats Kit Kats and drinks beer, whiskey and whatever else you put in front of her. She’s bloated.

NOXON When I was still in my mini-alcohol-bottle era, I was so skinny-fat it was crazy. It’s not a good body.

ADAMS So, there I am, in my not-a-good-body, just standing there. I’ve never had so much fluid in my life. O’Doul’s and Coca-Cola mixed with water and whatever [Camille was drinking in a scene]. I thought I was going to die of water intoxication. Literally, [on one episode], I had, like, 24 O’Doul’s.

FLYNN That’s so gross.

ADAMS And I thought, “OK, I’m gonna ask for a covered cup, and then I’ll fake it.” I thought I had it all figured out, but Jean-Marc was like, “I need Amy to have a clear cup. I need to see the beer go down.” I’m like (makes a bloated face).

FLYNN “And I need Amy to get a bigger dress because she has had 58 million O’Doul’s.” (Laughter.)

ADAMS Exactly. So there was definitely an emotional component to putting on the scars in terms of seeing the damage that she had done to her body, but there also was that vulnerability that standing naked created. And I had this amazing stand-in, Reb, who they also scarred up because Jean-Marc wanted to see it and she would stand there every day, too. She was fantastic, and she also put up with a lot ’cause she wasn’t getting the sort of catharsis from the performance and she wasn’t treated the same way I’m treated. And I’ve never experienced this before but, because we looked so much alike, at one point somebody grabbed me really hard and pulled me. I went, “What’s going on?” And they’re like “(Gasp) You’re not Reb!” I went into producer [mode] and I was like, “You will not handle her like that.”

FLYNN And, “Is that what you do to Reb?”

ADAMS I shouldn’t share that story but …

NOXON Well, it’s a true story. And [it happens] all the time. And she wouldn’t have said a word, by the way, and that’s the other part that’s [changing] through women being more a part of the engine. But I learned a lot on this show about how I want to do it in the future, including controlling more of the pipeline. It’s not enough to come in and sell your thing to an entity. I’m waiting for the first female-owned streaming service. That’s my dream.

Gillian, this was your first writers room experience. How’d it feel to workshop characters you’d created with six other writers?

FLYNN Like so much input for someone who’d been spending her days alone. I don’t know how people do it. I was exhausted by the end of the day. I’d get home and I’d have two tiny children to swim with in the pool and run around with and I was like, “Where is my liquor!?” (Laughter.)

And yet you’re about to do it again for Utopia, a remake of the cult U.K. drama.

FLYNN Well, I wrote all the scripts, so they’re done — but I did recently have a tiny writers room, a punch-up, and we start filming this fall [for Amazon]. And I’m in charge! (Laughs.) But first, I gotta finish my book, which is way overdue. No one used to care [when I turned the next one in]. They were always like, “You’re writing another book? Okaaay …”

NOXON “If you need to.”

FLYNN “I guess we’ll pay you, if you do it.” I didn’t really have a contract for the next book until Gone Girl.

NOXON That put you in the catbird seat.

FLYNN Yeah, I mean, they’re doing OK with the Gone Girl money. (Laughter.) So, that’s hopefully going to get turned in this fall and be out next year. It’s sort of in response to the election of a pussy grabber as our president … It’s not about that, but it was a response to it. If you read my Time essay [“A Howl” was part of the magazine’s Person of the Year: Silence Breakers issue], you’ll know the tone of it.

In that essay, you said, “I’d like to scrape up some sense of triumph over the fact that many courageous women have raised their voices, but I don’t feel triumphant. I feel humiliated and angry.” Did that reaction surprise you?

FLYNN Yeah, because we’ve been whipped up in this false sense of triumph. And I don’t feel that way and I think a lot of other women don’t feel that way. Maybe hopeful, maybe invigorated, but not triumphant.

NOXON If some of the men — the ones whom we’ve all heard stories about, who are making a lot of money for people right now — if they were paying the price, I’d feel a little bit more triumphant.

ADAMS I don’t think retribution is going to make me feel triumphant.

What would?

ADAMS Change.

NOXON Nah, I’m still focused on revenge. (Laughter.)

ADAMS I’m an idealist — it can be annoying and I’m constantly disappointed. Before the Harvey thing came out, a young actress said to me, “This is going on [with a male producer], is this weird?” And I’m like, “Yeah, that’s not OK.” She didn’t know what to do, and I said, “Tell him I said hi,” because, unfortunately, I knew this person and I thought if he knows he can’t create a silent victim, then maybe we remove that temptation?

In your own past, were you always able to recognize what was wrong in the moment?

ADAMS I think most women have experienced it, even if it’s just feeling unsafe rejecting somebody. And apologizing, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I must have been sending you the wrong signal,” when, really, it’s like, “No, I think I said I don’t want to go out with you, I don’t know how that’s the wrong signal. I think we should just be friends and I’m not sure why you’re at my doorstep,” it’s that unsafe feeling. I can’t say all, but most women have had that moment and you question yourself. “Did I smile? Was I not direct enough?”

FLYNN “When we were joking, was that wrong? Should I not have joked with another human?”

ADAMS There’s a reason I started playing nuns and virgins. I was like, “I’m not putting up with that anymore.” (Laughs.)

Do you find yourselves revisiting past experiences through a 2018 lens and seeing them differently?

ADAMS I knew they were wrong then.

Marti, you came forward in support of former Mad Men writer Kater Gordon, who claimed showrunner Matthew Weiner sexually harassed her. Walk us through your decision to speak up.

NOXON It was so interesting because Kater came forward and, to be perfectly honest, other people from the show started to call me and say, “What are you gonna do?” Because I was the person with seniority in that room at that time [a decade ago]. And even back in the day, part of my job felt like telling people that they could leave and that they’d be OK, but the truth is even I didn’t fully know that it would be. We were on the most successful show on television at that time and people were calling it history-making. So, the idea that we might get fired and that the person in power would say terrible things about us felt like it could ruin our careers. And all the people who would say to that, “Well, just walk away,” I don’t think they understand that there wasn’t a woman in that room who had a safety net. Not one. I was supporting my entire family. I had no place to land, and I was terrified. So, can you imagine what it’s like if you’re a 27-year-old [like Kater] in that situation?

ADAMS Or a farmworker or a waitress or a teacher or an assistant at a drug company?

You went to AMC, which aired Mad Men as well as your new show, Dietland, before you went public. How’d that go?

NOXON I went to the most in-charge person I could find [she declines to name the executive] and I said, “I feel I need to do this,” and to his credit, he teared up and he said, “I’m so sorry, we suspected but we didn’t know for sure, and you have to do what you’ve gotta do.” It was a pretty awesome thing to say, knowing that I had a show coming up on the network. And if he hadn’t said that, I don’t know what I would have done. But other relationships have been forever destroyed. A price has been paid and that’s all I can say.

If you had to do it all over again, knowing the repercussions, would you?

NOXON I’d do it in a heartbeat because, boy, you find out the people who are interested in progress and the people who are interested in keeping things the way they’ve always been. After I dropped my bomb, I got some angry responses, particularly from women, who said, “Wake up, you’ve been in this business for a long time, you know better than anybody that that’s just the way things are.” And after working on it for a while, I finally got to, “No, that’s the way things were.”

ADAMS I love that.

NOXON And, of course, one of the reasons I could speak up now is that if somebody said, “You can’t work in Hollywood anymore,” I’d be OK. I don’t care that much about money, and I have enough now for my family. But that’s not true of so many people.

ADAMS So many people. And that’s one of the reasons I chose not to speak immediately after the Sony hack [which revealed a pay disparity between Adams and Jennifer Lawrence and their male co-stars on American Hustle]. Because I wasn’t educated about pay discrepancy in all industries and until I understood the truth of it outside of my particular bubble, I didn’t want to talk about it. I know what my truth is, I know what I fight for and the things I let go of based on them saying, “Take it or leave it.” And I make those decisions for myself and I don’t hold anybody else accountable for them. But I didn’t want to talk about it until I was educated. And as much as I love Jennifer Lawrence, she doesn’t need me to be her voice. She has her own voice. [Lawrence famously opened up about the experience in an essay on Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter.] And if I’m going to use my voice to talk about pay discrepancy, it’s going to be for women who don’t have the same platform as me.

Has that mind-set changed at all in the Time’s Up era, when many of your peers are speaking up about parity?

ADAMS Of course I think about it, but I think about it in terms of how I operate as an example, not how I use my voice. I think about it with Eliza [Scanlen, her 19-year-old co-star] or any other young actress I’ve worked with. Helping the next generation further the cause is going to be the thing I want to focus on.

Much has been made here about Sharp Objects being a story about women and by women, and yet you brought in a man to direct every episode. What was behind that move and does the story get told differently through male eyes?

ADAMS Jean-Marc came on through me because we had been developing Janice [a now stalled Janice Joplin biopic] together, and the way that he communicated about Janice, I was like, “Oh, he’d really understand this darkness and the resilience of [Camille].” And I’ll say this, he does have a way of seeing women and being able to tell the truth about them, whatever his relationship is with women, I don’t know. So, he came with us to the different networks when we pitched it and he kind of acted like Mick Jagger.

NOXON He just swaggered his way in. But I learned a lot from watching Jean-Marc because he does have this, like, “No, this is how we’re gonna do it.” And I come from a school, especially in TV, with lower budget projects, where I was like, “There’s a thing called a green screen. We can just fix this and make it easier for all of us.” But he kept saying, “But it’s just…” And he kept saying it until people got exhausted and gave it to him. And I hated it at the time but you know what? The show is beautiful.

ADAMS It’s a good lesson for us women. Like, maybe it’s okay to ask for what we want and what we feel like we need to get our job done, right?

Final question: It’s a limited series now, but that doesn’t mean much these days. Is this a story you’d want to keep telling?

FLYNN My characters always go on in my imagination. They have full working lives in there, and I keep in touch with all of them.

ADAMS Does Camille have a boyfriend? That’s what I’m worried about … (Laughter.)

FLYNN Camille’s doing great. But I would never say no [to another season]. I know exactly what happens to them.

The Hollywood Reporter

 

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Amy Adams Explores Her Dark Side

Marie Claire USAmy Adams gets what she calls “the feels”—visceral vibes sparked by a sound, a smell, a setting, a certain something that triggers a memory. New York’s Central Park is loaded with feels for her. Adams knows every inch of this 750-acre haven. She can introduce you to each statue and fountain, the under- and overpasses, and all the best places to get lost. She could rattle off every movie scene filmed in these groomed wilds. “Walking in Central Park is my favorite thing to do here,” says the actress, leading the way, blending in with park visitors in her big sunglasses, white tee, Lululemon leggings, and Nike tennis shoes, a Starbucks Americano in hand. “There’s something about the serenity inside of the chaos; I love that juxtaposition.

This serenity has a life of its own, with the rhythmic clopping of horse-drawn carriages, the scent of sugared-nut carts, bikes whizzing by, and music drifting through the air. Over in the band shell, tap dancers tap, tap, tap away. “Where else are you going to see that?” asks Adams, smiling. Stopping suddenly, she points to children running in the distance. “That playground gives me the feels. My daughter, Aviana, broke her foot there. So the feels in this case is an anxiety bubbling up,” she says, emitting a jittery trill. “It was scary. She had a buckle fracture on all the bones across the top of her foot. She was about 4 or 5. We started calling her Wolverine, she healed so quickly.

My husband and I went for a run while Avi was playing with the nanny,Adams continues, walking on. “And when she saw us, my daughter started running toward us and fell down. We had to run back to the hotel, and Darren was carrying her, and in my mind I was like, Oh, my gosh, this is so ‘Kramer vs. Kramer!’ He looked like Dustin Hoffman when he was running out of the park with the child in his arms, and I thought, Amy, what’s wrong with you?” She laughs. “That was my mind’s way of dealing with my daughter being injured: coming up with a movie reference!

You can’t blame Adams, 43, for having movies on the brain. She’s made nearly 30 films since breaking big in the 2007 live-action fairy tale Enchanted, her perfect oval face, dimpled chin, and wide azure eyes able to capture any type, any era, in every genre, from Disney princess Giselle to comic-book reporter Lois Lane to real-life artist Margaret Keane and Vice President Dick Cheney’s wife, Lynne, in the biopic Backseat, opposite Christian Bale, out in December.

As major as she is, Adams is more actor than star; while her peers can’t help but bring a bit of themselves along for the on-screen ride, she’s up there without a tic or a trace of who she really is. The only constant in her work is the intense economy with which she pulls it off. “Amy can convey so much with the subtle movement of her face; she has the most expressive eyes,” says Tom Ford, who directed Adams in 2016’s delicious film noir Nocturnal Animals. “She can literally telegraph her feelings.

“There’s something freeing about playing somebody who’s a mess.”

In her five Oscar-nominated performances, the actress induces all kinds of deep feels, embodying a pregnant chatterbox in Junebug (2005), a guileless nun in Doubt(2008), a tough Boston barmaid in The Fighter (2010), a Lady Macbethian cult leader’s wife in The Master (2012), and a swindling siren in American Hustle (2013).

Odds are she’ll add an Emmy nod for her work in HBO’s series Sharp Objects, an eight-episode adaptation of the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl), premiering July 8. Adams, a co-executive producer, stars as Camille Preaker, a self-mutilating, sex-addicted, alcoholic newspaper reporter fresh from a psych ward who is sent to cover a pair of creepy child murders in her creepy hometown where her creepy estranged family lives.

It is the slimmest of my books and the one that’s gotten the most screen time,” Flynn says. “I worried as a two-hour movie, it would all be procedural; Sharp Objects is a character study hidden inside a mystery. It’s not a whodunit; it’s a ‘who-is-she?’”

She’s someone who couldn’t be further from the actress playing the part, and yet “Amy has this dark quality that is always there, even after five, 10 minutes,” observes Jean-Marc Vallée, who directs the series in the acute documentary style he used to such great effect on HBO’s Big Little Lies. “Camille has so much pain and shame, pouring liquor all the time over her demons; she carries all these scars. Amy didn’t judge her. She approached her with humility, humanity.

There’s something freeing about playing somebody who’s a mess,” Adams admits. “But the depth of pain that she’s constantly in is tricky. I felt like I had to not back away from it because so many people have a personal experience with this book.

Not the least of whom is Flynn, who confesses,“It holds a lot of my own little demons. What Camille carries with her—that’s my appetite for self-destruction. It’s been very hard and cleansing watching Amy take on this character. She looks like a china doll, with this beautiful angelic voice, but she has this real grit to her, this uncrumble-ability, a resilience. She’s a ballerina with a steel spine.


Here, a few highlights from her July cover interview, on newsstands June 21:

ON THE CREATIVE FREEDOM OF BECOMING CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF HBO’S SHARP OBJECTS:

“To know you could be part of a creative conversation that you’re not invited to was frustrating. So, being an executive producer, I felt that I had the agency to offer my voice and that was exhilarating.”

ON EXPLORING HER DARK SIDE:

“There’s just so much truth in the darkness and the sadness and I’m willing to explore it now in a different way. Before, I thought people wouldn’t like me or they would think I was crazy. Now I know I can navigate my own personal darkness and it won’t consume me.”

ON HUSBAND DARREN LE GALLO’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR DAUGHTER:

“It’s sexy to see him raising a girl and teaching her how a man should treat her in a lovely way.”

ON AGING:

“I want to do everything I can that does not involve needles or knives.”

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Amy Adams on equal pay, family life and her grittiest role to date

Telegraph – In a corner of the genteel lounge of Los Angeles’s iconic Chateau Marmont, Amy Adams is launching into the opening lines of the Abba classic The Winner Takes It All – and it’s pitch-perfect. With other Hollywood actors, this tuneful showcase of talent, five minutes into an interview, might come across as showing off.

But the star of American HustleNocturnal Animals and Arrival – a five-time Academy Award nominee and the recipient of two Golden Globes – seems atypically unstarry. Our conversation has simply prompted a demo of one of her great passions: karaoke.

Fresh-faced and freckled, today, the 43-year-old is dressed casually in jeans and a peach blouse, her red hair pulled into a loose ponytail. In spite of her success on the big screen, you might not recognise her if she strolled past you on the street.

She’s one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood, skilled at switching between roles – from wide-eyed and vulnerable in Junebug, which launched her leading-lady career, through tough-talking and trashy in The Fighter, to religious fanatic in The Master and – most memorably – sexy, seductive con artist in American Hustle.

Amy’s latest part looks set to make her more immediately familiar, however. Next month, she stars in HBO’s hotly anticipated new mini-series Sharp Objects, an adaptation of the novel by Gillian Flynn, author of the bestselling thriller Gone Girl. ‘I’ve been attracted to Gillian’s work for years, because she creates these incredible, flawed females,’ she says.

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (who also directed last year’s critically acclaimed TV hit Big Little Lies), Sharp Objects is set in small-town Missouri, where restraint, manners and strong cocktails mask brutal violence and deep dysfunction.

Amy plays what is easily her darkest, most damaged character to date: Camille Preaker, the acerbic, alcoholic, self-harming protagonist. Recently released from a psychiatric unit, Camille, a reporter, is dispatched to Wind Gap, the town in which she grew up, to investigate the murder of two pre-teen girls.

It quickly becomes clear that the intense pain that affects her also infests the other women in her family – her uptight, neurotic mother, Adora (Patricia Clarkson) and her manipulative younger half-sister, Amma (star-in-the-making Eliza Scanlen).

As is becoming increasingly common among Hollywood’s leading ladies, Amy was also an executive producer on the series. It was she who suggested French-Canadian director Vallée. ‘There’s something about the way he tells women’s pain: he circles around it, yet gets to the heart of it,’ she says.

‘He’s not afraid to approach the violence in a way that’s also very emotional.’ For his part, Vallée praises Amy’s bravery in taking on bleak themes. ‘It was scary material, and she was so courageous to tackle this, to be so naked – literally and metaphorically,’ he says.

To help her dig into the darkness, Gillian Flynn recommended she read A Bright Red Scream. ‘It’s first-person accounts by people who self-harm,’ explains Amy, who had to wear prosthetic scars from the neck down during filming. She admits it wasn’t easy to leave Camille behind at the end of each day. ‘I’ve trained myself not to bring a character home, but there were times – whether from living in her head space or just exhaustion – when I suffered insomnia.’

The role also required her to research the psychological condition Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which causes a parent to harm their son or daughter to create the illusion that the child is ill. ‘I did a lot of reading about that too,’ says Amy. ‘It’s so against every parental instinct I have, so I just can’t imagine it. Our daughter [seven-year-old Aviana] has been hurt twice in a way that required trips to the hospital and that’s not something I’d ever want to revisit – it was traumatising.’

Happily, both Amy’s disposition – upbeat, energetic and quick to laugh – and her family life would appear to be a far cry from Camille’s. She and her husband, Darren Le Gallo, met in 2001, at an acting class in Los Angeles, and today live in the city’s glamorous Hollywood Hills. She describes their life as ‘quiet’, save for the odd karaoke night out, or in – the family’s portable karaoke machine even accompanies them on holiday.

When Amy travels for work, her husband and daughter generally go with her. ‘If I’m on my own, I engage in not-great behaviours, like hotel-room eating – sitting in bed every night with a bag of crisps and salsa and a beer,’ she admits.

The middle child of seven, Amy was born on a military base in Vicenza, Italy, where her father was stationed at the time. Her parents were Mormons and, although their adherence to the faith was ‘more cultural’ than overtly religious, ‘church played an important part in our social interactions’, she has said. ‘It instilled in me a value system I still hold true.’

The family eventually settled in Castle Rock, Colorado, when Amy was eight, where her father, having left the army, began singing professionally in nightclubs and restaurants. The rest of her family was more sport-orientated. ‘I was surrounded by these incredibly coordinated siblings who excelled at everything, whereas I just liked to read in my room,’ she laughs.

Her parents divorced when she was 11, and left Mormonism. Her mother, Kathryn, a former gymnast, was also, for a while, an amateur bodybuilder. ‘We have a good relationship, but my mom is tough and always challenged me to push myself,’ says Amy. ‘I wasn’t allowed to be afraid of things, even though I’m naturally very risk-averse. For instance, if a guy pulled up on a motorcycle, I’d be like [adopts goody-goody voice], “Don’t you understand that those are just coffins on wheels?”’

When her mother would take her to her gymnastics class, she goes on, ‘She would say: “We’re not leaving until you do this really tricky move.” That taught me to do things I was afraid of, because the sense of pride in having done something difficult was always worth it.’ It’s a skill that appears to have served her well in her career.

‘I had a kind of autonomy from childhood on,’ she continues. ‘There were so many of us that I knew my parents weren’t going to be funding my life, meaning my choices were my own and I wasn’t worried about what they thought of them.’

She gave up gymnastics, focused instead on dance and trained at a local ballet school. At 18, however, she decided she wasn’t good enough and switched her focus to musical theatre. She worked in dinner theatre for a few years before scoring a chance to audition for Drop Dead Gorgeous, the 1999 beauty-pageant comedy starring Kirstie Alley and Kirsten Dunst, in which Amy played a promiscuous cheerleader.

With Alley’s encouragement, at 24, Amy moved to Los Angeles, where her first few years attempting to break into the industry weren’t easy. ‘I auditioned a lot, but couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working,’ she has said. ‘The problem was a lack of confidence and self-esteem,’ she tells me today.

In 2004, she was cast as the lead in the CBS series Dr Vegas, alongside Rob Lowe, but the show was dropped after just a few episodes. At that point, she considered quitting the industry.

‘I began thinking I should do something that was more secure,’ she says. ‘I wasn’t willing to be as unhappy as I was in danger of becoming and I didn’t like what it was turning me into.’

Then her fortunes began to turn around. In 2005, she was cast as the lead, Ashley, in the indie comedy Junebug. Her portrayal of the garrulous pregnant woman won her the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and two years later, scored her the part of Giselle, the optimistic princess, in Enchanted.

Achieving success at 31, rather than 21, has its advantages, she now believes. ‘At least I was able to enjoy my 20s before anyone was paying me too much attention,’ she sighs, nostalgically. ‘No Instagram, no Twitter, no Facebook – thank God! I had a bad habit of taking photos on disposable cameras that didn’t belong to me. I have no idea how many complete strangers’ cameras I mooned into back then!’ she laughs.

Since the downfall of Harvey Weinstein and the rise of the #MeToo movement, are there incidents from early in her career that she feels she wouldn’t be OK with now?

‘Yes, and I wasn’t OK with it back then either,’ she says. ‘I had to audition in a bikini. I didn’t get the role, because the character would be filmed wearing one and I don’t look good in swimwear.’

I scoff at this claim. ‘I really don’t,’ she insists. ‘And that’s OK – that’s not why I was put on this earth. But I don’t know a single woman, working in any industry, who doesn’t have a story like that, about feeling vulnerable.’

I wonder whether, beneath her sanguine exterior, some of the self-esteem issues she mentioned earlier still lurk. Despite being petite, Amy is surprisingly self-deprecating about her body.

‘I always look pregnant in photos,’ she claims with a laugh. ‘I wear loose dresses because I have a paunch. It’s not a big paunch, but it’s there!’ And she’s less than comfortable being snapped on the red carpet. ‘I understand it’s part of the job, but it’s not my favourite place,’ she has said.

‘I love fashion, but having to be somebody who promotes that industry has always been a tricky one for me, because of the way it affects women’s sense of self,’ she says. ‘I’ve lectured several designers about their sizing. If a dress in my size is five inches too small for me, what’s happening?’

Even before the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements began, Amy was catapulted into the centre of rows about sexism within the industry. When thousands of email accounts at Sony were hacked in 2014, the revelations about American Hustle focused mainly on the fact that Amy and her co-star Jennifer Lawrence were paid less than their male counterparts, Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale.

At the time, she chose not to comment. ‘Everyone wanted me to talk about how I felt about it, but I want to fight for people outside our industry, so to come out and look ungrateful about what I’m paid as an actress just didn’t feel right,’ she says today.

‘I do believe in equal pay, but let’s start with our teachers. Let’s get waiters paid the minimum wage. That’s what’s great about what’s happening with Time’s Up – we’re starting to have bigger conversations than just about what’s happening in Hollywood.’

Other emails were also leaked, alleging that the film’s director, David O Russell, was so tough on Amy that Bale stepped in to address the problem. ‘He was hard on me, that’s for sure. It was a lot,’ Amy later said, and she has admitted in interviews that she cried ‘most days’ during the making of the film. ‘I remember saying to my husband, “If I can’t figure this out, I can’t work any more. I’ll just have to do something else. I don’t want to be that person, not for my daughter,”’ she has said.

When she talks about coping during the making of Sharp Objects, it’s clear that she was determined for it to be a very different experience. ‘I’m now able to think, “OK, I know what’s going on here. I just need to go to work, do my job, then come home, make dinner and do something grounding.”’

She was recently reunited with Bale for the upcoming biopic Backseat, about former US vice-president Dick Cheney. She whips out her phone to show me an image of her in character as his wife, Lynne, alongside Bale, who played Cheney, and both are virtually unrecognisable thanks to extensive prosthetics.

The lengthy process of transformation renewed her respect for her co-star. ‘I had to wear the prosthetics for only two weeks, but Christian was coming in at 2am every day to have his applied before the day’s filming started. His work ethic is just incredible.’

Amy is keen to do more producing, too. ‘There’s lots in pencil on the calendar, but I don’t talk about anything until it’s in pen,’ she says. Risk-averse to the end. And with that, she gives me her top karaoke-bar tips and slips back to her quiet life in the hills.