The evening of September 16, I Smile Back had its first showing at the Toronto International Film Festival. Introduced before the showing and present for Q&A from the audience after the showing were the people pictured below. (See separate red carpet postings for a better view of Sarah’s glamorous gown.)
The following are EXCERPTS of some responses.
Click on the top picture to view video of the entire Q&A.
Q: What were your first thoughts after reading the script?
SS: This is not very funny. [then joking:] This needs to be punched up…
I felt very connected [to the role] in many ways, and in other ways not…
Q: What were the hardest scenes to film?
S: Some of the really dark scenes were too exciting to be too hard. They were hard, but they were exhilarating to shoot. They were just so dark. And I get excited by darkness. And I had a lot of help. A lot of comics and a lot of actors have a bag of tricks that they sometimes even subconsciously delve into, and I had a lot of help from Amy and Paige and from Adam restraining me from that, reminding me if they saw any signs of that…
There’s this DVD extra on The Shining**, and it’s a featurette that Kubrick’s daughter made while they were shooting it, and in it young Jack Nicholson, he’s very sassy, says– I’m not good at impressions– ‘You know, if I have a take on a scene and the director has a different take, I always go with his idea because then I don’t become predictable…and I made that choice to always kind of go with Adam’s take on things and just always say yes to his ideas. Because a lot of times I think I know best, and that’s not always the right choice. Sometimes you have to make the choice that’s just different than your instinct.
Q: The woman is clearly aware of her problems and difficulties, and yet she persists. Can you speak to that.
AK: …She tries as hard as possible to overcome her fears, but it’s almost like she has to have her fears, they take over, and she just has to do everything she’s tried her whole life not to do. She can’t help herself; that’s the nature of her illness.
SS: It’s like the scorpion and the frog. Or it’s– Wouldn’t you say, her destruction is the only thing she can control in her life.
Q: What was it like on the set of a very serious movie, with someone like Sarah there.
PD: It was an intense 20 day shoot.
MH: Sarah’s in every moment of the film. And it’s a very emotional film. And Sarah had to go to a very dark place every day to get that character, Laney. And Sarah put in the hours and the hard work, and she brought us some levity along the way– she is funny.
SS: What he’s saying is I lost my shit on him probably about eleven times. –But always apologized. [Then Sarah tells the story she’s told before of her getting the news that the movie is being made and collapsing in panic on her bathroom floor, then arising recognizing that is Laney and she can do it. But adds this new piece:]
And also, yeah, between action and cut, it will be very heavy, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have a great time in between. And I’m so glad I didn’t know that that would not be the case, or I would have pussied out of it.
(**Go here to see a closeup video of Sarah doing her Nicholson in that answer.)