With the recent opening of I Smile Back at one Toronto theater, Canada TV (CBC) posted this interview December 6, done when Sarah was at TIFF in September.
Most people know Sarah Silverman either as a potty-mouthed comedian, a Saturday Night Live alumnus or, if you’ve read her memoir The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee, an entertaining and thoughtful writer.
In the new film I Smile Back, Silverman makes the audience forget those titles, showing people a new side that she says shouldn’t be so surprising.
“Comedy and drama are adjacent at least,” Silverman told CBC. “They share a wall. I think comedians in general tend to have a dark side. I know I do.”
Silverman plays Laney, an upper middle-class mother with a loving family, but is struggling with mental illness and addiction.
It’s a first for the actress known for comedic roles. But Silverman, who has been vocal in the past about her personal battle with depression, said she drew inspiration from her own life.
“I’ve been very lucky to have very good therapy in my life and understanding that if you live in the past, it’s depression and if you live in the future of ‘what if’ ‘what if’ ‘what if’, it’s anxiety,” said Silverman. “That’s why, in a perfect world, you want to strive to live in the moment.”
Silverman said her character doesn’t have those realizations and instead spirals further into despair.
While her performance is being lauded by many as raw and vulnerable, she says the subject matter created an emotional heaviness on set she wasn’t prepared for.
“I had told myself that it could be still fun,” Silverman said about filming. “But it isn’t really that way because you’re carrying around stuff that you’ve brought to the surface.”
“You don’t have any place to put all this [emotional] stuff when you’re not shooting. I used to scoff and roll my eyes when actors would talk about that stuff, but it’s true I guess.”