The 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards took place on Jan. 30, 2016, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Here is what this Screen Actors Guild Award winner said backstage in the Screen Actors Guild Awards press room.
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
What is one piece of advice that someone gave you when you first started that helped you get to where you are today?
I did a film with Michael Chapman when I was 15. He’s an absolutely legendary DP [director of photography]. He really inspired me so much, and he comes from really old, classic film. And when I was finished, he was the only person I ever asked, “Can you give me some advice?”
And when I said, “Do you have any advice for me, he said, ‘Yeah. Always take a nap at lunch.’” And I do stick to that. It’s really important. It requires so much energy to be an actor.
And it’s not just what’s happening on screen, it’s negotiating the relationships you’re having off camera as well and making sure there’s a sense of flow and camaraderie to everyone who’s making this movie. It’s exhausting. So even taking a 20-minute nap recharges you, and you’re ready to go back out.
What does it mean for you to win an award from your fellow actors? And do you have room for more awards?
In particular with this one, it means quite a great deal because these are the people who came before me. These are the ones who told the stories before I had the ability to. They’re the ones who taught the way and paved the ground for people like me to come in and kind of muck it up. So I feel so honored to be included in general, just to be nominated is such a wonderful experience.
I was home-schooled, and I felt extremely alone. I always felt like reality was a bizarre place. Everybody was really good and being normal, and I didn’t know how to do it.
It seemed like everyone was happy, and I wasn’t. And I was so afraid I was unlovable. And through film, I realized that was a safe place for me to be unsafe. It was a safe place to express myself and explore these things I was afraid to explore in my real life.
Through doing it, every time I did, I’d find that I would connect with people. When you share your vulnerabilities, someone else comes back and says, “Oh, I know that. I hold that too.” So, for me, it’s been a way to try to connect with the world and bring the world together. And “Room” has done that beyond anything I can expect.
When making “Room,” what did you learn about yourself that you didn’t know before you made the movie?
I learned so much, but I think strength became the biggest one. There are many ways that I learned about the strength I had inside. One was gaining 15 pounds of muscle.
And I was able to lift things that I never thought in my life I’d be able to do. And that became such a huge part of the routine of making this movie. Every day, I’d work with this incredible trainer named Freya. And she had me lift extreme weights over my head.
Just having that, being able to dead lift before I went to work every morning, just gave me this mental change I had never had before. It was an emotional marathon to make this. And there are moments when you think, “I just don’t have any more to give.”
And you realize there’s more, and that life keeps going, and that it is hard, but it’s OK. And the movie continued to reflect what the movie is itself. The process became the movie. Now, the movie means something completely different to me. It means this experience.
What did your role in “Room” teach you about womanhood?
That’s a great question. I found that my capacity to love, once I was working with Jacob [Tremblay], once there was this child that was so innocent and so pure, this natural instinct of wanting to protect that came so easily, that it kind of scared me. I felt something that my mother would tell me so many times when she would get worried about me. I was, “Why do you worry so much?”
And she’d say, “Because I love you so much. You have no idea what this feels like.” And I kept getting these intense tastes of it, and it scared me! It’s the most wonderful, incredible feeling in the world, and it’s also the most terrifying thing to experience.
We women are such strong, powerful leaders. And a lot of the time, we play it cool, we play it silent. And I’m really enjoying this period of time right now where women are speaking about their story. They’re speaking about their struggle. They’re speaking about the love.
They’re speaking about how they wish they could be wild. They’re speaking about how they are wild. I’m so inspired by so many women right now, and I feel so grateful to be part of that.
For more info: Screen Actors Guild Awards website
RELATED LINKS ON byteclay.com:
Screen Actors Guild Award interviews