The Kitchen first look: Elisabeth Moss, Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish feel the heat on set of 1970s Mob drama
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The Kitchen first look: Elisabeth Moss, Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish feel the heat on set of 1970s Mob drama

EW – On a muggy July day on Long Island, Elisabeth Moss is staring into a kitchen sink, but there’s nothing dull in the dishwater; in fact, there’s a lot of blood. Over her shoulder, Tiffany Haddish and Melissa McCarthy swig booze and tensely discuss the incident responsible. Abruptly, Moss turns from the clothing she’s trying to scrub clean of bodily fluids and snaps, “I’m not sorry Little Jackie is dead. Are you?

If you thought The Kitchen was a culinary comedy, since it stars two of Hollywood’s funniest actresses, you’d be grossly mistaken. Rather, the fall 2019 crime drama, set in Hell’s Kitchen and based on the Vertigo comic-book series, follows three 1970s housewives who — in the event of their mobster husbands’ incarceration — take Irish Mafia matters into their own hands, dealing with the competition more viciously and voraciously than anyone expected.

I was excited by the idea of placing women in a position and world in which we don’t normally see them,” first-time director Andrea Berloff told EW during filming, which features set pieces like a dated subway-car interior, an FBI surveillance van (sparse in gadgets by today’s standards), and a wood-paneled apartment adorned with Virgin Mary figurines and crucifixes.

The lure of exploring unfamiliar alleyways attracted the cast, too. “It’s about these individuals instead of the Mafia as an entity,” says McCarthy, who plays Kathy, a devoted mother of two whose initial reluctance to enter the criminal domain is eventually diminished by her deft abilities. “It was more about three people who are put down and held back finally breaking out. There was much more humanity to it, which also made it scarier.

Moss, whose character Claire starts out timid but grows to relish her new role as an outlet for her anger (evidenced by a scene in which she takes rapt interest learning how to dismember a bathtub-bound body alongside Domhnall Gleeson’s character Gabriel), agrees. “They’re nobody special necessarily,” explains the Handmaid’s Tale star, “but they’re people that have a story to tell.”

Their characters might not be out of the ordinary, but Berloff knew immediately that she’d brought together an exemplary group of actresses. “I wanted that excitement of women in a Mob movie to permeate through the casting, so I cast people you wouldn’t expect across the board,” she says. “If we’re defying stereotypes, let’s defy them all over. Who says women can’t run the Mafia? Who says comedians can’t do drama?

Indeed, upon first meeting Haddish, “it was clear she had incredible range,” Berloff says. For Moss, one Girls Trip scene in particular sold her on her costar’s versatility. “I’ve never even told Tiffany this, but you know that scene where you get into a big fight with everybody in the lobby?Moss says, leaning into Haddish affectionately. “I remember rewinding and watching it three times in a row — not because it was so funny, but because it was so real. I was like, ‘That is a f—ing great performance.’ I knew she was going to kill this.” Haddish shrugs and smiles, “There’s a lot of layers to me.

The Night School actress plays Ruby, an outsider in an Irish community who seeks self-sufficiency once her husband isn’t around to protect her. “Ruby starts off quiet and observant, and then gets a little bossy and gangster,” says Haddish. “She has a plan; she’s just figuring out how to execute it. Who do I team up with? How do I get to the money, power, and success that you need in life?

The racketeer lifestyle doesn’t mean there aren’t moments of levity in the film (much appreciated after witnessing a scene in which a femur is snapped with a sickening pop), but the set atmosphere between takes is decidedly more playful. The girls tease Moss about her banana chip addiction, and at one point the trio dream up their own sitcom. “It’s a 16-camera dramedy,” says McCarthy. “It takes place underwater, is primarily with animals and babies, and shoots somewhere in New Zealand.” Adds Haddish, “We’ll be taking calls.

Maybe it’s not so outlandish an idea. The Kitchen argues that female collaboration is not to be underestimated. Berloff hopes that message will be among the movie’s main takeaways. “It’s about empowerment — but not just female,” she says. “Anyone can do anything. Everyone has a beast within them. We shouldn’t be hemmed in by society’s definitions of us.” Perhaps a woman’s place is in The Kitchen after all.

The Kitchen hits theaters Sept. 20, 2019.

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Elisabeth Moss attends ‘Her Smell’ Premiere at New York Film Festvial
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Elisabeth Moss attends ‘Her Smell’ Premiere at New York Film Festvial

Elisabeth Moss attended the premiere of Her Smell on September 29, at the Alice Tull Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.

The 36-year-old actress went glam in a sparkling silver dress as she premiered her new movie at the 2018 New York Film Festival.

Also stepping out the premiere included director Alex Ross Perry and fellow cast mates Gayle Rankin and Eric Stoltz.

In the movie, Elisabeth plays Becky Something, a “maniacally destructive punk rock star who pushes her relationships with bandmates, family, and followers to the limit as she wages a years-long war against sobriety while attempting to re-engage the creativity that had once led her band to massive crossover success.

Her Smell doesn’t have an official release date yet.

Elisabeth was wearing a Dior dress, Giuseppe Zanotti shoes, and Jacob & Co. jewelry while carrying an Edie Parker clutch.

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Appearances & Public Events > 2018 > Sep. 29│ 56th New York Film Festival – ‘Her Smell’ – A&Q

Appearances & Public Events > 2018 > Sep. 29│ 56th New York Film Festival – ‘Her Smell’

  

Elisabeth Moss to star as ‘Typhoid Mary’ in new BBC series
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Elisabeth Moss to star as ‘Typhoid Mary’ in new BBC series

Variety

Elisabeth Moss has signed on to star in and executive produce a new BBC America limited series about the infamous “Typhoid Mary,” Variety has learned.

BBC America will partner with Moss and Annapurna Television on developing the period drama titled “Fever,” based on Mary Beth Keane’s novel of the same name. It tells the true story of Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant and cook who was the first known healthy carrier of typhoid fever. She became known as “Typhoid Mary” as she unknowingly spread the disease among several wealthy families in early twentieth century New York.

Moss acquired the original rights to Keane’s book and first sent the material Phil Morrison, who signed on as director and executive producer. Robin Veith is currently set to write the adaptation and will also serve as an executive producer alongside Moss, Morrison, and Annapurna’s Sue Naegle and Megan Ellison.

I’m so honored to be working with the incredible team of collaborators we have pulled together with Phil, Robin, BBC America and Annapurna,Moss said. “I look forward to telling this story about one of the most infamous women in America, ‘Typhoid Mary,’ a woman whose true tale has never been told. She was an immigrant in turn of the century New York, a time of huge change and progress in America. She was incredibly unique, stubborn, ambitious and in fierce denial of any wrongdoing until her death where she lived out her days imprisoned on an island just off of the Bronx in NY. She is incredibly complicated, something I seem to enjoy playing.

Moss is represented by WME and Ribisi Entertainment Group. Veith is also with WME while Morrison is repped by UTA and Management 360.

Elisabeth Moss On Being a Boss Lady and ‘Hot Mess’
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Elisabeth Moss On Being a Boss Lady and ‘Hot Mess’

WWD

“The Handmaid’s Tale” star, who produced two films and starred in three more over the last year, joked, “Sometimes I feel like a hot mess.”

Since winning her first Emmy last year, for lead actress in “The Handmaid’s Tale,Elisabeth Moss has certainly kept herself busy until today, where’s she nominated again for her performance in the Hulu drama’s second season.

I’ve done another season of the show and four — no, five — movies,” she says. Moss, who is a producer on “Handmaid’s,” also produced and starred in “Her Smell,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this month, and “Shirley,” about the horror writer Shirley Jackson.

She also appears in “The Old Man & The Gun” with Robert Redford, just wrapped “The Kitchen” with Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish, and is still in production on Jordan Peele’s latest film.

I’m actually super lazy and like to sleep a lot and don’t like to do much at all, but I do like acting, so when opportunities present themselves it’s difficult to say no — and there’s just some really good scripts lately,” she explains.

Moss was the guest of honor at Sunday’s Los Angeles Confidential pre-Emmys fete, and she took a moment to reflect on her work behind the camera.

You approach the project in such a different way when you are producing it because you are involved from the start like buying a property, like a book, and developing it from there. I pretty much always ask to be a producer, especially if you are the lead role, because you know, it’s your face that’s out there, and the more ownership you can have, why not?

She continues, “For me, I never wanted it to be a vanity title, and I think there’s definitely a little bit of that sometimes. But there are women producers who are not actresses who have really inspired me and there’s a couple actresses who were the first, like Drew Barrymore, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock, who produce really good s–t.

She says Witherspoon in particular “has an incredible eye.” “In one year, she did ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Wild.’ She bought two of the hottest book properties before they were even out, I think. That’s not because you’re famous and you’re an actress; she actually has a knack for it creatively and those are the kinds of people I admire.

As for her work on “Handmaid’s,” Moss will begin shooting Season 3 next month.

The thing people don’t realize is how much we departed from the book in Season 1 and how much we changed and added with Margaret [Atwood]’s blessing so we weren’t as afraid of that concept as other people may have thought in Season 2. Of course, there are things we’re going to have to develop because the book is a first-person narrative. The thing that was most important to us was keeping the darkly humorous tone of the book. In Season 3, we are still mining the book,” she says.

For those who are already stressed out about not getting to binge enough of the show, Moss warns, “We are not interested in going on for 20 years; we have a story to tell and when it’s done it’s done. It’s always good to leave a party a little early. All my favorite shows, they’ve ended and you wanted more.

It will leave her more time to make passion projects like “Her Smell,” in which she plays a self-destructive punk rocker named Becky.

It’s a really intense character. She’s really out there, very abrasive and not always fun to be around or fun to watch, so it was a little scary watching it with a big group of people [in Toronto]. “Just when you feel like you’ve maybe had enough and you can’t watch this person self-destruct any longer, the film changes and gives you a wonderful relief.”

She’s also very relaxed on Emmy day. “The hardest part is making sure you get in the car on time,” she says.

Those watching the red carpet will notice her new, edgy blonde look.

In the last year [stylist] Karla Welch and I have been doing a lot of soft, classy, pretty-girl looks so we decided to change it up and do something a bit more rock ‘n’ roll-inspired by my playing a punk rocker. I’m not a fashion person or a model, so for me, the only fun thing about photo shoots is playing a character. We wanted to show another, probably more accurate side to me. And I’m a hot mess right now,” she laughs.

Elisabeth Moss Says She Would Do a ‘West Wing’ Revival ‘in a Heartbeat’
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Elisabeth Moss Says She Would Do a ‘West Wing’ Revival ‘in a Heartbeat’

US Magazine

Paging Aaron Sorkin! Elisabeth Moss would be thrilled to reprise her role in The West Wing if the Emmy-winning NBC drama ever returned to television.

Oh, my God, in a heartbeat,” she exclusively told Us Weekly at the premiere of New York Film Festival premiere of her new film, Her Smell. “Of course! Obviously.”

Moss recurred as Zoe Bartlet, youngest daughter of President Jed Bartlet, in 26 episodes of the political drama, all the way until the show’s series finale — which aired the year before she became a household name as Peggy Olson in Mad Men.

Talking to Us at the premiere on Saturday, September 29, Moss said it would be “too soon” for a Mad Men revival, but the time is right for a West Wing continuation since the show’s 2006 series finale was “so long ago” at this point.

Yeah, why not?” she added.

In the meantime, Moss is earning rave reviews and prestigious awards for her role as Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale. At the event on Saturday, the Emmy winner reflected on the Hulu drama’s relevance to the #MeToo movement and the ongoing fight for women’s equality.

It’s bizarre,” she told Us. “It’s very bizarre, honestly. I’ve never done anything where there have been so many correlations … I don’t know. It’s bizarre. It’s also rewarding to feel like you’re telling a story that’s important, and telling a story that’s relevant and that people should listen to. And that’s the problem — because we’re not listening and watching these stories. It feels rewarding to be a part of it.

And now fans will see a different side of Moss in Her Smell, as she plays a punk rocker struggling with sobriety. “It was really fun,” she revealed to Us. “There were no limits, there was nothing too far, nothing too crazy that you could do, and that’s incredibly freeing. Especially after something like Handmaid’s, where often I’m quite subtle and suppressed, it was really cool to just be able to throw that all away and just go totally mad.

The West Wing is currently streaming on Netflix, and The Handmaid’s Tale is available on Hulu. A release date for Her Smell has not been announced.

With reporting by Nicki Gostin

Elisabeth Moss attends the Emmys 2018!
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Elisabeth Moss attends the Emmys 2018!

On September 17, Elisabeth Moss attended the 70th Emmy Awards held at the Microsoft Theater on Monday in Los Angeles.

She was nominated for the Lead Actress in a Drama award. Claire Foy was the winner.

Moss was wearing a black dress by Vera Wang with Christian Louboutin shoes and Harry Winston jewels.

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Appearances & Public Events > 2018 > Sep. 17 │ 70th Emmy Awards

Appearances & Public Events > 2018 > Sep. 17 │ 70th Emmy Awards – Show

  

Elisabeth Moss on ‘Her Smell’ and Why She Won’t Do a ‘Mad Men’ Reboot
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Elisabeth Moss on ‘Her Smell’ and Why She Won’t Do a ‘Mad Men’ Reboot

Vanity FairElisabeth Moss puts it all out there as the strung-out rock star at the center of “Her Smell.

The Alex Ross Perry drama earned raves for the Emmy winner when it screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, with many critics noting that the drug-addled, hard-partying singer is a change of pace role for Moss who tends to portray more outwardly composed characters in shows such as “Mad Men.” Moss learned to play the guitar and does her own singing in the film, a stretch that she found alternately terrifying and exhilarating.

Her Smell” is Moss’s third collaboration with Perry — the two previously worked together on “Listen Up Philip” and “Queen of Earth.” On the eve of the film’s Toronto debut, Moss spoke with Variety about drawing on Axl Rose for inspiration, the feminist side of punk rock, and why she thinks her Hulu hit “The Handmaid’s Tale” has resonated with audiences.

What’s behind your frequent collaborations with Alex?

It’s simple. He writes really good scripts, and ‘Her Smell’ had an incredible female lead that most people wouldn’t have thought of me for. We also have a good yin and yang. He’s good at things I’m not good at and vice versa. I’d make six more movies with him if I could.

Why did you want to play Becky Something in ‘Her Smell’?

She’s larger than life. She’s volatile, emotional, sensitive, and she has this terrible toxic combination of extreme confidence and very high self-esteem. When she’s at her best, she’s so fun and you want to be around her, and when she’s bad, she’s the worst demon to deal with.

What kind of research did you do to play the role?

I read a lot about that era of punk music. In the ’80s and ’90s, there were actually a bunch of incredible female punk artists and bands as part of this riot girl movement. I didn’t try to emulate any one person, but Alex says there’s a lot of Axl Rose in her and that he’s an inspiration.

She’s an addict, so I spoke to a few people who will remain anonymous about what it’s like to be addicted to drugs. You can look on YouTube to see how you behave if you take a particular drug, but the most interesting thing that someone told me was this idea that the drugs stop working at some point. You’re always chasing a high, and you can’t take enough to get to the same place, so you just take more and more.

Did you sing and play the guitar for the film or did you lip synch and play along to pre-recorded tracks?

It’s me. I started learning the guitar in the middle of Season 2 [of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’]. I remember telling my instructor, I’m not here to have a career change. I just need to learn these songs. Alex told me that I didn’t have to learn to play, I could fake it. But in order to fake playing the guitar believably, you have to learn to play it. There’s no in-between.

Will you keep performing music?

It was just for the role, but it was such a rush to pretend to be a rock star. It’s one of those crazy, cool things you get to do when you’re an actor. It’s so validating to get up in front of all these people and sing and play. They’re are all these extras that are hired to cheer and scream and make you feel like you’re amazing.

Why do you think fans have embraced ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’?

The material is incredibly relevant. It’s tapping into a feeling of anxiety and frustration that’s really out there right now in this political moment.

Would you do another season of ‘Top of the Lake’?

In a heartbeat. [Creator] Jane Campion could make me fly to New Zealand and read the telephone book. It’s not up to me, but I love that character. She’s so challenging and exciting to play, but we have to have the right idea. The last season wrapped things up well, so we have to have a good reason to come back.

From “Murphy Brown” to “Will & Grace,” there are lots of television revivals right now. Would you want to revive “Mad Men”?

I’d love to do anything that [creator] Matt Weiner writes, but it would be a different show. That series was about this group of people living in a very specific era. I guess never say never, but I think the show ended pretty well. Sometimes it’s best to leave the party before everybody wants to kick you out.

Elisabeth Moss celebrates her cover at ‘Los Angeles Confidential’ pre-emmys party!
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Elisabeth Moss celebrates her cover at ‘Los Angeles Confidential’ pre-emmys party!

On September 16, Elisabeth Moss was joined by castmates Ann Dowd and Kelly Jenrette to celebrate their 2018 Emmy Awards nominations, as well as her “Fashion + Emmys Issue” cover of Los Angeles Confidential, at Kimpton La Peer Hotel on Sunday night in Los Angeles.

Elisabeth was looking stunning in a sparkling blue mini dress by Tommy Hilfiger.

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Appearances & Public Events > 2018 > Sep. 16 │ Los Angeles Confidential Emmys Celebration hosted by cover star Elisabeth Moss

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Elisabeth Moss and Alex Ross Perry challenge themselves and the audience with ‘Her Smell’
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Elisabeth Moss and Alex Ross Perry challenge themselves and the audience with ‘Her Smell’

LA Times

This year’s Toronto International Film Festival has an unexpected onslaught of movies centered around female singers. There’s the splashy “A Star Is Born,” starring Lady Gaga, the headier “Vox Lux” with Natalie Portman, the rootsy “Wild Rose” featuring a breakout turn by Jessie Buckley and the yearning “Teen Spirit,” with Elle Fanning.

And then there is “Her Smell,” a wild, churning character study like no other starring Elisabeth Moss as Becky Something, the leader of a fictional ’90s rock group called Something She.

Just like its lead character, the film is aggressive and purposefully obnoxious. It more or less dares an audience to live through its forceful, unrelenting energy — and the self-destructive, pushy pitch of Moss’ performance — for most of the two-hour-plus running time to ultimately get to a place of serenity, self-knowledge and grace.

The movie is the third collaboration between Moss and writer-director Alex Ross Perry, following the literary romantic roundelays of “Listen Up Philip” and the female-centric psychodrama of “Queen of Earth.” The award-winning star of “Mad Men” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” may seem an unlikely fit with a low-budget filmmaker specializing in caustic examinations of discontent, but they have forged one of the most energizing partnerships on the current indie scene.

It just kind of works for some reason,Moss said. “Obviously there’s a really basic thing which is like we both want to make not only good films but films that haven’t been done before — films that we haven’t done before. We both really wanted to challenge ourselves, particularly with this movie.”

Her Smell” had its world premiere Sunday night as part of the Toronto festival’s Platform section. Perry’s film brings an outsized ensemble into Becky’s vortex of bad vibes, including Becky’s bandmates played by Agyness Deyn and Gayle Rankin, a younger band played by Cara Delevingne, Ashley Benson and Dylan Gelula, a pop-star rival by Amber Heard, a record executive by Eric Stoltz, an ex by Dan Stevens and Becky’s mother by Virginia Madsen.

And though the inspiration for Becky Something in “Her Smell” would presumably be the world of ’90s rock figures such Courtney Love of Hole, Kim and Kelley Deal of the Breeders or riot grrrl-era bands such as Bikini Kill, L7 or Sleater-Kinney, according to Perry, the film instead found its main impetus in the recent Guns N’ Roses reunion tour — and in the structure of Shakespeare.

If you can make it so I’m a little bit struggling, just on the edge of being like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ that’s what I want.

In summer 2016, Perry saw a Guns N’ Roses reunion concert, a production of “The Merchant of Venice” featuring his “Listen Up Philip” actor Jonathan Pryce, and Kenneth Branagh’s four-hour screen adaptation of “Hamlet.” Something clicked watching the rise and fall of Shakespeare’s characters.

 “I can see how it would seem unusual,” admitted Perry, who also co-wrote this summer’s Disney hit “Christopher Robin,” in an interview alongside Moss here this week.

I’d been kind of promising Lizzie this script for a while just saying I have this character and I know her name and then a year passed and then this month happened. At the end of it I said, I know this movie now,” said Perry. “And then six months later I had a script.

Moss ended up with only a week between the end of shooting the second season of “Handmaid’s Tale” — for which she has subsequently been nominated for two Emmys ahead of next week’s ceremony — and the start of production for “Her Smell.”

Becky speaks in a wild, nonstop patois all her own, a raging torrent of words, which combined with an abrasive demeanor made the character uniquely difficult even for a performer as experienced as Moss

It was hard. It was one of the only things I’ve done that wasn’t always fun,Moss said.

Because I do a lot of really dark, challenging material, if you can challenge me at this point, you get such a really big gold star from me,” she said before pausing. “I’m trying to word it without sounding egotistical, but if you can make it so I’m a little bit struggling, just on the edge of being like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ that’s what I want. I want you to put me in a place where I’m not sure if I can do it. That’s interesting to me.

In preparing for the role, Moss tried to borrow from a range of inspirations, so that the character couldn’t be too closely tied to any one person. She watched documentaries on Marilyn Monroe, and studied people across the spectrum of fame for how they grappled with addiction.

And just as there are multiple female pop-star movies at TIFF this year, there are also numerous films dealing with addiction, including “Ben Is Back,” starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges, and “Beautiful Boy,” with Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet. Yet despite Becky’s appetites for any substance she can get her hands on, Perry says his film is not a story of addiction.

Honestly, if I’m being serious, the thing I say is the movie is about identity,” said Perry. “It’s not about nineties music. It’s not about the dynamics of a band. It’s not about celebrity and not about motherhood, it’s not about addiction, it’s about identity. Simply put, this is a movie that has nine characters, all of whom live their lives with a name that is not their name. And that, to me, is the movie.

The style of the movie is deliberately extreme — from the churning, disorienting sound design to Becky’s abhorrent behavior. A negative review in the Hollywood Reporter called the film “excruciatingly self-indulgent” as well as “ugly and off-putting.” Even a positive notice in IndieWire referred to it as “obscenely unpleasant.”

For Perry, delivering the first three acts as a full-on whirlwind is purely intentional, designed to take people well past a conventional breaking point.

I think in a punk movie about punk women, you want that adrenaline,” Perry said. “The characters give you license to make a movie that just goes and goes and goes and goes. It goes like cocaine. It goes like electricity plugged into an amp. It goes like a neon sign buzzing for three acts. And to me it’s an appropriate thing based on what the movie’s about and what the characters are.

“It’s also just a gigantic challenge that I wanted to do both on the page and then an even bigger challenge on set,” Perry said. “I, as someone who’s very low-key and fairly lazy — can I make something that has a relentlessness to it?

Moss herself had a revelation about the movie while watching it for the first time on a big screen in Toronto.

This film is not her point of view. It’s from the point of view of the other people,” said Moss. “It puts you through what Becky put those people around her through. It is in-your-face. She is annoying. It can be off-putting. It’s a lot. You just want to take a … break. You’re also kind of drawn to her and want to know where she is. You’re looking for her when she’s not there. It puts you through what the people around her go through.”

Late in the movie, Moss performs a spare, heartfelt rendition of Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” at a piano for just her young daughter in a startling, single unbroken take. After all that Becky and the movie have put audiences through, both Moss and Perry say that reaching that catharsis is the point.

I felt like that’s the movie,” Perry said. “If we can get people there — it’s literally the last thing in the world you would expect to happen in this movie after the first hour. So therefore we’ve got to do it.

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Elisabeth Moss Goes Down Rabbit Hole Of Manic Self-Destruction As ’90s Punk Rocker
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Elisabeth Moss Goes Down Rabbit Hole Of Manic Self-Destruction As ’90s Punk Rocker

Deadline

In Her SmellElisabeth Moss’ third film with writer-director Alex Ross Perry, the Emmy and Golden Globe winner trades in dystopian hopelessness for a different kind of darkness, throwing herself entirely into the anarchy of the ’90s punk rock world.

Starring alongside Cara Delevingne, Amber Heard, Ashley Benson, Dylan Gelula and more, Moss is Becky Something, the brilliant and brilliantly self-destructive front woman of ’90s rock band Something She, struggling with sobriety and alienating everyone in her path in the years of her creative decline. Clearly something of a muse for Perry, Moss is drawn to the “really great female roles” the director has written time and time again. “[He] makes movies that other people aren’t making, very unique,” the actress told Deadline, appearing with Perry, Delevingne, Heard, Benson and Gelula. “That’s the kind of stuff that I want to do.

Prepping for the film—which focuses, atypically, on the fall from rock star glory, rather than the ascent—Moss reached out to individuals from the music world who could speak to this aspect of the rock star’s experience. “To be fair, you did watch YouTube videos of girls tripping on meth in Walmarts,” Perry joked, with regard to her research process.

Setting out to write a great role for Moss that we haven’t seen from the actress before, Perry was cognizant of the fact that there wasn’t much precedent for the kind of project he had in mind. “There’s a lot of music movies in the world, but I think that the genre of this movie is something that no one really makes movies about, or takes particularly seriously,” he said. Many of the “women in rock, or girl punk movies” that do exist were made in the ’80s, when this musical culture was new, the director noted. “People haven’t started really looking back at it, and certainly not at the ‘90s, which felt like something that I just had never seen before.

Writing the film around the time of the 2016 Guns N’ Roses reunion tour, Perry wanted Becky to be “that machismo, swinging attitude, vulgar male rock star”—akin to Axl Rose or Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher. To portray the punk rock world convincingly on screen, Perry had all of his actresses in the film’s two central bands go through their own musical boot camp. “We all had different journeys with the instruments. I had four or five months, I guess, of trying to learn how to play something, and everyone just kind of jumped in really head first,Moss said. “It was really, I think, scary for a lot of us. It’s not what we do, but we were very supported by each other in our anxiety about it.

To hear more from the Her Smell stars about their preparations for Perry’s latest film—which marks something of a creative departure for the indie writer/director—take a look above.