Eileen Stars Thomasin McKenzie & Anne Hathaway On The Movie’s Unusual Filming Method [Exclusive Interview]

EXCLUSIVES

So you mentioned that this movie was a little bit of a challenge, and I think part of the reason is because you guys had such a short filming schedule. I was wondering, because there’s so much intimacy between your two characters, you probably didn’t have a lot of time to overthink things because you were moving so quickly, but how did you approach those scenes where Rebecca and Eileen are growing closer and their relationship is building? Did you have a certain way to approach those scenes that was different from approaching any other scenes in the movie?

Hathaway: I think everybody wants to hear that we did, like, trust exercises. Like, “I fell backwards off of a chair, Thomasin caught me.” But really, Thomasin’s just a wonderful human being and it was a joy to be with her, even as we were doing whatever, all that we were doing that day. And my character is not necessarily someone you can or should trust, but she is someone that’s a lot of fun to be around, and so I had a lot of fun being around her for a time. But in terms of just being together, my biggest thing was I just … Thomasin had such a huge job. She had such a big weight on her shoulders. She’s in every scene of this film, there’s no time to rest, where she’s exposed in the cold, all of those things. So I just wanted to make sure that she was eating enough. [laughs]

McKenzie: Yeah, that is definitely a favorite question. And it’s like, “Should we have been doing these connection exercises? Did we really mess this up?”

Hathaway: [to McKenzie] You said something in one interview that was really insightful, which was one of the first scenes we filmed together was the dance, and it felt like that became … something.

McKenzie: Yeah.

Hathaway: With Eileen’s nervousness and Rebecca’s assuredness and the dynamic between the two of them. And I think not having the pressure of dialogue, but just being physically open with each other, maybe helped.

McKenzie: Yeah, because we filmed all the Eileen and the Eileen’s dad, Jim and filming at the liquor store, we filmed all of that before — we filmed over Christmas, and we had a two-week hiatus in between. We filmed all the Eileen and Jim stuff before Christmas and established the world, and that world was not a happy world. And then we filmed all of the Eileen and Rebecca stuff after that two-week hiatus, and it just felt different. It felt like there was some kind of magic in the air, like the world felt like it had been refreshed. So like Anne said before, the scheduling of the shoot really lended itself to, at least for me, to the performance, because it felt very natural.

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