The Cast and Creators of SHARP OBJECTS on Darkness, Anger, Strength, and Redemption

— July 6, 2018

The charms and secrets of small towns are explored in HBO’s SHARP OBJECTS, premiering this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Canada. Directed by award-winning Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée and starring Amy Adams, the eight-episode limited series is based on the bestselling novel by Gillian Flynn. SHARP OBJECTS tells the story of Camille Preaker (Adams), an urban newspaper reporter whose troubled past clashes with shocking new realities when she’s sent to her hometown to cover a string of unsolved child murders. Ahead of the premiere, series stars Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson, and Executive Producer Marti Noxon, author and co-creator Gillian Flynn, and director Jean-Marc Vallée sat down to discuss the series’ themes of darkness, anger, strength, and redemption. Here’s what they had to say. The darkness of the story and characters: Amy Adams (AA): “I had to train myself how to not bring a character home as much as possible. But there were definitely times, whether from exhaustion or just living in the space of Camille, where there was a lot of insomnia.” Patricia Clarkson (PC): “…There was no relief in sight playing this character, especially for the last three episodes. And I stayed here for five months doing it. I had downtime you know, I’m not in every scene. But I couldn’t leave; I couldn’t go back to New York as Adora.” Jean-Marc Vallée (JMV): “…She writes these stories, Gone Girl and this one, and you go, wait!...I’d like to believe it’s imagination, because this is too weird and dark to be real. But she’s able to explore that darkness and to go in to that darkness.” Marti Noxon (MN): “…Obviously Gillian’s lived with the story the longest, but for me, in these dark stories, there is such redemption for some characters that I think, ‘Okay, get past that brutal part.” Gillian Flynn (GF): “…It has that little dash of gothic in it, and I feel like, in the wrong hands, it could end up campy…if the wrong elements of the wrong things were dialed up, and the right things were dialed down, you would lose the character elements, you would lose Camille” On female anger and strength: JMV: “…Here’s another project with strong women, and women that are not afraid to assume their difference even though they’re in a history of abuse…funny thing about this one, though - the violence is not made by men. It’s woman against woman.” AA: “Working with a group of women like that, who all have this idea of bringing this story to life - not only Camille’s story, but that history of familial violence and abuse, it just was really interesting, the way they were exploring it.” MN: “…the real source of Camille’s pain has to do with the violence women can inflict with their words, with their oppression of each other. It feels to me like the men were a little bit neutered in this story, and that feels radical to me. Because women are human beings, and we’re capable of all these impulses and we have our own angry thoughts and our own violence and competition. And it was refreshing to tell a story where the focus of the piece was really not on men.” On the main character Camille: AA: “She’s flawed. But she’s trying, though…I always had that in the back of my mind- this constant internal dialogue, which is both funny and heart-breaking and self-effacing and vulnerable and always trying and just always sort of failing. But trying, always trying.” JMV: “…Her internal voice was the number one quality of the book for me. The way she talks about herself, this honesty, this courage…the way she talks about her Mom. Her family. Her drinking. And so that became to me the beauty of the whole darkness.” MN: “Women who love the book just always gravitate toward her. There’s something about Camille, and you’ll see, as the episodes unfold, she becomes a heroine for us. A heroine for those of us who identify as coming from something dark.” GF: “I am now a mother, and a wife, and you would have thought that the way I thought now would be very different from Camille’s attitude, and it was interesting how little of my attitude was not, how getting back in Camille’s brain was very not hard. I went back almost immediately into the same rhythms.” On the role of the location in the story: GF: “It could not have been anywhere else, as far as I’m concerned…it’s the most conflicted state in the world and it’s still the only place where you can drive three hours from my house, where I grew up, and be in the Deep South and see the Confederate flags…It does something to you, a small town like that. You can’t get away from it.” AA: “For some reason I’m so attracted to Southern characters, Southern-Midwest characters. I think it’s because this idea of proprietary masked with fierce, fierce female strength.” MN: “There’s a civility and an appearance of decorum that is so important in this area - it’s hard to tell what is true and what’s repressed. It feels like the repression that is so specific to this part of the world really does mask certain kinds of cruelty, so you can’t tell where the source of evil is. Everybody is hiding so much anger.” JMV: “It’s in between the Midwest and the south, but it’s closer to south and it is very warm and the culture is southern. This place is so unique and this is so Gillian. She’s from there too, so she talked about something she knew and that’s why it feels so real and authentic.” SHARP OBJECTS premieres Sunday, July 8 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Canada
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