The 31st Annual Film Independent Spirit Awards took place on Feb. 28, 2016, at the beach in Santa Monica, Calif. Here is what this Spirit Award winner said backstage in the Spirit Awards press room.
Best Female Lead
What was it like for you to emotionally prepare for your role in “Room”? Was it taxing for you?
Oh yeah. The whole process was taxing, which is why it was really important for me to understand and have clear boundaries. A huge part of it was not just knowing her but knowing myself and having a clear distinction between the two. I made very pointed choices, because I had to go on a diet, I couldn’t be in the sun.
There were so many sacrifices I had to make that I wanted to make sure that at the end of the day when I came home from work in that foreign apartment in Toronto that it even smelled like home. I’d bring things from home. I’d do all sorts of things that when I came home, I was being, and that was a real comforting home base so I didn’t get too lost in the process.
The captivity space that’s called Room in the movie is almost like another character in the movie, don’t you think?
It really is a major character. I feel like it’s a leading character in this movie. He [the production designer for “Room”] had already done so much work before we had gotten there. The attention to detail that he did to that space, even thinking about how the sun would’ve hit those pieces through the skylight, because certain pieces were faded in that area. There were little pieces of mold. There was a seven-step coloring process or something crazy to make all those tiles feel and look differently.
And then he had Jacob [Tremblay, who plays my son in “Room”] and I make the toys that you see in “Room.” When he arrived, he had all the trash that we would’ve kept, rubber bands, the five crayons that he had — all on this craft table. And every day, he would build toys. And it was our first time getting to know each other.
It was so incredible to use those toys that you see in the movie as a way for us to bond. After making those toys, we’d go downstairs and place them into Room. So over the course of those weeks, the rehearsals became very intimate, a very special place, and that was the idea. Although it was small and the things inside were cheap, it meant a lot. It was very valuable to us.
Outside of work, is there anything you’re looking forward to the most?
I really want to read “Finnegans Wake.” It’s really hard because I’m traveling so much. I have to put it aside. Something like that, I really have to feel the pages. I can’t read it on a Kindle. I’m really forward to that. I have “Finnegans Wake” sitting on my desk. That’s the first thing I will do when this is all done.
What have been the highlights for you during this awards season?
For me, the highlights have been the really small moments. It’s really hard to accept and understand these things in the moment. It takes time. A lot of the time, I also have to go back to work, so I’ll be on a plane very early after the awards and heading back to work.
It won’t be until I’m crossing the street three weeks later that I’ll be like, “Oh my gosh! I just won a Golden Globe” or “I just won an Independent Spirit” or “I just won a SAG.” It doesn’t make sense right now.
Right now, it all feels like a bizarre, incredible loving dream that I keep thinking I’m going to wake from, and nothing I do is going to wake me up, so I’m just going to keep going in this lucid dream. Later, we can talk about what the moments were because I have no idea what they are yet.
For more info: Spirit Awards website
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