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 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 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 attends ‘Her Smell’ TIFF Premiere
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Elisabeth Moss attends ‘Her Smell’ TIFF Premiere

Elisabeth Moss attended the premiere of Her Smell during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday (September 9) in Toronto, Canada.

The Emmy-winning actress was joined at the event by co-stars Amber HeardAgyness DeynGayle Rankin, and Dylan Gelula, as well as writer-director Alex Ross Perry.

Moss was wearing a vintage Alaia dress, Christian Louboutin heels and Jennifer Meyer jewelry at the premiere.

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Appearances & Public Events > 2018 > Sep. 09 │2018 Toronto International Film Festival – “Her Smell” Premiere

  

Elisabeth attends the screening of “Her Smell” at TIFF
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Elisabeth attends the screening of “Her Smell” at TIFF

On September 09, Elisabeth Moss attended the screening of her upcoming movie “Her Smell” at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival.

She also visited the Variety Studio presented by AT&T and made an appearance at the DIRECTV House with her co-stars.

Moss was wearing a black blouse with a red skirt by DiorNicholas Kirkwood shoes, and Jennifer Meyer jewelry.

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Candids > 2018 > 9 September │ Arriving to a screening of “her smell” at the 2018 toronto film festival

Appearances & Public Events > 2018 > Sep. 09 │Variety studio presented by at&t

Appearances & Public Events > 2018 > Sep. 09 │ Directv house presented by at&t

  

Elisabeth Moss attends the GQ Men Of The Year Awards
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Elisabeth Moss attends the GQ Men Of The Year Awards

On September 05, Elisabeth Moss attended the 21st annual  GQ Men of the Year Awards in association with luxury lifestyle group HUGO BOSS at the Tate Modern.

Elisabeth, 36, was presented with her coveted television actor of the year gong by Gwendoline Christie, and proudly acknowledged her ‘wifey’ during her acceptance speech.

The annual awards ceremony honours the men and women who have shaped the world’s cultural landscape over style, politics, entertainment and sport this year, with 22 gongs up for grabs.

Moss was wearing a floral dress by Vivienne Westwood and clutch Jimmy Choo.

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Appearances & Public Events > 2018 > Sep. 05 │ gbr: gq men of the year awards 2018

  

First teaser trailer for “Her Smell”
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First teaser trailer for “Her Smell”

The first teaser for “Her Smell” was released on Friday, September 7th. The film is directed by Alex Ross Perry (Queen of Earth), and is produced and starring Elisabeth Moss, in the film the actress plays the character Becky Something, a star of destructive punk rock.

The film is scheduled to premiere today (September 9) at the TIFF.

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Elisabeth Moss on a Decade of Critical Acclaim & Becoming a Top Halloween Costume
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Elisabeth Moss on a Decade of Critical Acclaim & Becoming a Top Halloween Costume

L.A. Confidential 

Amid Emmys season madness, Elisabeth Moss surveys her glittering domain as the Queen of Peak TV.

This time of year is always pleasantly surreal for Elisabeth Moss. Hardly a September passes without her navigating the red-carpeted run-up to the Emmy Awards (she finally won in 2017 after nearly a decade of nominations); and then, in October, come the Halloween costumes.

For a while, it was all about Peggy in a tight ’60s dress carrying a martini glass,Moss says with a smile. Peggy Olson was the determined copywriter she played on Mad Men for seven seasons. This was after she spent seven seasons as Martin Sheen’s daughter on The West Wing. Now the trick-or-treat pick is Offred, the dystopian protagonist Moss portrays on the Hulu drama The Handmaid’s Tale, which earned her dual Emmys last year for acting and producing. “Honestly, I didn’t see it coming, this fascination with the long red robe and the white bonnet,” she says.

It is not lost on Moss that these tributes—high, low and fashionable—add up to validation both about her exemplary decision-making and her ability to totally rock a period frock. “When people all over are dressing up like you, it’s definitely flattering and also kinda bizarre,” she says. “You realize how much of this work is beyond your control.

That’s certainly the case lately for Moss. With television hit after hit after hit after hit (the 2013 miniseries Top of the Lake landed her a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice Award and an Emmy nod), she’s been dubbed “The Queen of Peak TV.” But now with two seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale streaming to universal acclaim, and a third on its way in 2019, Moss, 36, is an unwitting icon in a culture waking up to #MeToo, the treatment of immigrants and the battle over women’s bodies. The drama, based on Margaret Atwood’s dark classic, is set in an authoritarian alternate present that many say mirrors the far-right extremism of current-day politics. Radical Muslims are blamed for government problems, and women are stripped of basic rights and sexually violated. Much of what draws people to the series is Moss’ unflinching portrayal of Offred, a woman who submits to ritualized rape on a regular basis as part of her duty to male masters. It makes sense that the character’s gown-and-hood look is a staple alongside pink hats at women’s rights rallies.

We never intended to copy what’s happening in the world, but like most other people, I feel that things on the show are way too close to home,Moss says. “It’s this sense of, ‘Hey, if we don’t pay attention, if we stop listening, if we fail to take action against injustice, we’re getting pretty close to the dystopia we see on-screen.’”

Lizzie Moss didn’t set out to become a feminist meme. Growing up in Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles, the older of two kids to musicians Ron and Linda Moss, she was on track for a career in dance, having studied ballet as a teen at The School of American Ballet in New York City and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., while pursuing an acting career. But when her side passion of acting began paying off, Moss made the decision at 15 to commit to show business full time. “I could imagine not dancing, but I couldn’t imagine not acting for the rest of my life,” she says. At 17, she won the recurring part of first daughter Zoey Bartlet on The West Wing and has worked steadily and to great acclaim ever since. “I’ve been doing this long enough to see how fortunate I’ve been, and I never take it for granted,” she says. “It’s unusual as an actor to feel that sense of security, so I sometimes just kinda pinch myself.

Moss, who can be slightly imposing despite being only 5 feet, 3 inches tall, lives in Manhattan now and stays mostly quiet about her personal life. A few details are well-known: She and actor Fred Armisen were married in 2009 and separated the following year. Also, she was born and raised a Scientologist. Moss has said the church helps “[make you] a better you, not necessarily changing who you are,” and with “empowerment and respecting yourself as an individual.” On this particular day, with meetings and fittings, cats to be fed and laundry to be done, along with filming Her Smell, out next year, Moss laughs and says, “My spiritual life consists mostly of trying to watch a little TV and get enough sleep.” Pressed further about her religion and the increasing focus on it, she says, “It’s an odd feeling. I put myself emotionally into my work. Beyond that, I have to keep something for myself.

It’s hard to find an actor more emotionally all-in. The second season of The Handmaid’s Tale opens with Moss stripped bare in an intense sex romp with costar Max Minghella. Another scene has her lopping off her hair along with a chunk of her GPS-tagged left ear to avoid being tracked by the menaces from Red Center. The brutality has been a sticking point for some viewers. Does showing women being mistreated on-screen ever cross a line for Moss?

The guiding principle is honesty,” she says. “Whatever you see in terms of violence or sex is an accurate representation of the world we’re in, which is why it never feels false or gratuitous. I think that’s a common thread in all my work. The question is always: ‘Does this feel real? Are we being true? Because it’s only by being accurate to reality that audiences can escape from it for a little while.

Moss escapes whenever she can. She’s an avid traveler and especially loves Italy and New Zealand. In the infinitesimal spaces between jobs, she’s learning to play piano and guitar for her upcoming role as lead singer of a punk rock band in Her Smell and spends quality time with her cats, Lucy and Ethel, who were found on the street in Brooklyn when she was making Listen Up Philip. “They’re quite famous,” Moss says, arching an eyebrow. “Lucy’s kind of private but Ethel is kind of a big deal, at least on social media.” (A recent Instagram post on @elisabethmossofficial that showed the feline lounging luxuriously in Moss’ Upper West Side apartment—it was slugged “Current mood. #ethel”—got more than 15,000 likes.)

Chalk it up as one more fascinating side effect of being Elisabeth Moss. In a way, having a celebrity pet is no more unreal than Oprah walking over to say she loves The Handmaid’s Tale (“Totally crazy!Moss says) or Hillary Clinton praising the “amazing” series in front of 10,000 middle and high school girls, as she did at Los Angeles Convention Center last year (“I was like, ‘Holy shit!’”). And who knows what will happen this year on Halloween? “I was shooting last year, so I missed it,” she says, “but if I need a costume, I know where I can get one.

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