After months of taking Mr. Disgusting’s word for it (review here), I finally saw Image Entertainment’s Lovely Molly. And I loved it. It’s super unsettling, well-directed, well-paced, and has some truly striking imagery.
It’s also a role that requires a lot of its lead actress, Gretchen Lodge. I felt bad for her just watching it, but she more than rose to the occasion. Earlier this week I sat down with Lodge to discuss her role as Molly, what she thought of the script, and the elements of the story she might have been the most trepidatious about filming.
Lovely Molly opens in limited theaters today, May 18th. If you live in Los Angeles, Lodge will doing a Q&A following the 7:40PM show at the Chinese 6 at Hollywood and Highland this evening. She’ll also be conducting a poster signing at Dark Delicacies on Tuesday night.
Directed by Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project), “When newlywed Molly Reynolds returns to her long-abandoned family home, frightful reminders of a nightmarish childhood begin seeping into her new life. She soon begins an inexorable descent into evil that blurs the lines between psychosis and possession.”
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I love the film. How did you get involved with the project? Were you freaked out when you read the script?
Freaked out. In a really subtle, weird way. I was taking the train and I read it on my phone and I was completely immersed. It was scary, I sort of rushed through it and then realized I needed to go back and re-read it.
When you went back through, what was the one thing you were most trepidatious about?
I mean, probably the sex scene. It’s different. With the other nudity I didn’t have to choreograph my naked body with someone else’s…
The other nudity is more combative and tribal.
Yes. So I was sort of dubious about it because I didn’t know how it would go down. But then we got the choreographer and worked it out and it was much better once we actually got in there. But seeing it on paper made me nervous. Not in a way that would make be back off the project or anything, but nervous.
The character is a recovering addict. Did you do any research into that?
I did. Because I was living in New York I had some avenues I knew I could go down in terms of research. Centers for people with addictions, I did research in those. What interested me more was sort of watching behavior that was outside of the context of a conversation. Isolation. Watching from afar. That helped a lot. I had all these other different points I wanted to cover, like schizophrenia – I did textbook research on that and I was able to speak to patients.
And did you shoot this in sequence?
I can’t imagine trying to do this performance out of sequence.
Everything was in sequence, which was so helpful. It was also really helpful because the first person camera stuff, we would do that at the end of a regular shooting day. Exhaustion had taken over, I was already dirty, Ed [director Eduardo Sanchez] was tired. Which really lent itself to the emotion that was needed for those segments. As opposed to jumping in cold.
There are a couple of scenes that are pretty brutal. The “kissing” scene is incredibly uncomfortable to watch.
It was incredibly uncomfortable to do! We had choreography on that one as well. A fight guy came in which was great. It sort of evolved from this small scene that was really quick into the length that would be necessary for that to actually happen. Everyone onset was dreading it. It’s the really weird scene. That and the stuff in the basement was hard, especially with the make-up.
After wrapping the picture did you feel like this role had changed you at all?
Yeah. I think some of the subject matter I would have shied away from a could years ago. I could;t have expressed it in a whole enough way. I think that’s the joy of this kind of character, you can go through this vicarious chemical process of changing with them. Characters that do things outside of what you would do, you can go through these things with them. It does transform you. Obviously in different ways than you’re portraying [laughs]. When it was done I didn’t have this weight on my shoulders.
Did you find it hard to say goodbye to her?
It was hard! Everyone just let me walk around like her all the time, drinking coffee, puffing on a cigarette, disheveled. And everyone was go great about that. But it was really hard. Everyone bonded so much filming it. We became such a family. I was keeping a diary every single day, a stream of consciousness so I wouldn’t forget about her in my off-time. Letting go of all that was sad.
Had you watched Blair Witch growing up?
I saw it when I was 18. I was completely freaked out and blown away. So when I read the script to this and saw that Ed was doing it, I was really excited. I was excited by the prospect of someone who would be getting this great stuff out of his actors. He pushed hard, but he was very kind. He had a good balance and established trust early on.
Did you watch any early Polanski for this? Rosemary’s Baby?
Not really. Most of the research I did was clinical research. That was what I limited myself to. I didn’t want the performance to be someone else’s. I wanted it to come from the script, my portrayal of her, and the reality of what she was going through. I didn’t want to be skewed by what I had seen.
What’s one thing you want people to know about the film? Your most compelling reason for people to go see this movie?
I would say that it doesn’t rely on a lot of artificial stunts to draw you in or scare you. I feel like it’s a very truthful documentation of what sort of happens when someone in your family or someone you’re close to goes through stuff that’s unexplainable. It’s a non-glamorized version of things that affect many, many people that aren’t addressed in an appropriately raw way a lot of times.
This isn’t the Girl, Interrupted version of this kind of story.
Exactly. This happens all the time to people we know. Okay, maybe not exactly this story [laughs]. But [psychotic] breaks or unexplainable things happening. This is a very realistic account. And there are a lot of really compelling performance by everyone in the cast. Alexandra Holden (Hannah) and Johnny Lewis (Molly’s husband, Tim) give great performances as well. They do an amazing job along with everyone else.