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Q&A: Kate Bosworth talks “AMNESIAC”

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While the slasher boom of the ‘80s and late ‘90s painted the horror genre as not a particularly great playing ground for actresses, there’s little denying that the genre has also offered some women the chance to truly wow audiences. Whether it’s Janet Leigh in PSYCHO, Mia Farrow in ROSEMARY’S BABY, Kathy Bates in MISERY or Essie Davis in THE BABADOOK, the right genre project can present actresses a chance to break expectations and deliver a performance that is truly memorable. The same can definitely be said about Michael Polish’s new thriller AMNESIAC, which affords longtime leading lady Kate Bosworth the chance to go into much darker yet ultimately more fascinating territory. FANGORIA recently spoke to Bosworth about playing a twisted take on a “Hitchcock Blonde”…

FANGORIA: What specifically appealed to you about this character in AMNESIAC?

KATE BOSWORTH: Well, I was interested in exploring something different than I had done before, and the project was submitted to Michael and I as a team. He read the script first and said, “This is great but it’s really specific so you’ll either really want to do it or not. Let me know what your thoughts are.” So I read it and I was intrigued by the idea of a Hitchcock Blonde who isn’t a victim but rather is the psycho as well as embodying a classic femme fatale.

Then, Michael came up with the idea that my character lived in a world that she created in sort of this timeless era; that originally wasn’t in the screenplay. That was one of the benefits of working as a team: understanding how, cinematically speaking, Michael was going to take the material from script to screen. I knew the imagery that he wanted to conjure and I found that to be really interesting to be a part of.

FANGORIA: You’re playing a character with shades of villainy; what was the process like finding an emotional connection to this character?

BOSWORTH: That was the trick, really and was the biggest challenge for me. I was excited to play in this psychotic headspace where she’s really gone back and created this language barrier, but I also really wanted her voice to sound like morphine in order to create this relaxing state. I wanted her to be sympathetic so I remember looking at Michael for his guidance so that we could work on her being someone you can feel for even when she’s doing these horrendous things.

So we talked about what she wanted and needed and having it all be this idea of her wanting to be loved and her needing a family so badly. In her mind, doing those things was the only way she was ever going to achieve that. Once I understood that sense of necessity, even though it’s quite extreme, then I knew how I wanted to play her.

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FANGORIA: In terms of getting into that timeless headspace, did you do any research into the vernacular and behavior of a certain era?

BOSWORTH: Yeah, and with this character, I put together a very specific team for my hair and make-up. We wanted to create a stylized world and when you’re working on a film thats shot in 14 to 15 days, there’s not a lot of time. So I brought on my hair and make-up team who had previously done a lot of fashion work for me, and in that sense, I knew they would create something that felt stylized and high-end. They were referencing the old Prada campaigns, so it reflected a very high-end world and had to be matched with these old costumes from the costume houses.

So as soon as I got this tightly curled ‘40s hairstyle, the make-up and the very specific costumes, I knew what kind of world Michael wanted this character to live in. All of those aspects contribute to how you walk, how you handle certain objects, or even the way you move your hands. Even my voice was very specific, almost hypnotic in a way where it’s like, “Honey! How are you?” It needed to feel, at first, very comforting, but then later, uneasy.

FANGORIA: Since this project is very much in the vein of Polanski’s ‘70s thrillers, what was the experience like working on AMNESIAC, especially considering your director is your husband?

BOSWORTH: Actually, it was one of the funniest sets I’d ever been on. [laughs] The heavy lifting for the role had already been worked out before we were on set, and by the time we were on set, we only had to deal with the pretty absurd things that were happening on the set. Everything my character was doing was so psychotic that you can’t help but laugh, and it was truly one of the most humorous sets either of us had ever been on.

Everything was so well prepared beforehand, even for Michael, who had to shoot the movie in 15 days which is a pretty tall order. He knew every shot way before we were on set, so Michael always made his days. Everything was so relaxed, even though time was tight and that gave myself and Wes the freedom to perform without pressure.

AMNESIAC is now in select theaters and on VOD.

About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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