I recently got the chance to talk to Sean Bridgers about his role in ‘The Woman’. Here, Sean talks about how he got involved in the project, and about what it was like working with the cast and crew…
Still Of ‘The Woman’ – Sean Bridgers (R) pictured with Angela Bettis (L).
Hey Sean. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Of course we‘re here to talk to you about your new film ‘The Woman‘.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
I play Chris Cleek, a husband and father of three, who is a lawyer and respected man in his small community. Chris goes hunting one day and sees a feral woman living in the woods. He decides he needs to capture and domesticate her. ‘The Woman’ is just like ‘Nell’ – except COMPLETELY different.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
Angela Bettis, who played the title role in Lucky McKee’s ‘May’ is a friend and she suggested that Lucky consider me for the role. I read the script and liked it and Lucky and I chatted a few times on the phone about the character and we both felt comfortable that we were on the same page – and that was it.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
My character Chris Cleek, is a card-carrying sociopath. Unfortunately sociopaths don’t carry cards but they are amongst us. Chris Cleek has no conscience. He’s not capable of empathy. He operates in the world without ever feeling anything for anyone else. Everything is about him. But like all sociopaths he understands that he is different, and has to hide his true self – sociopaths are students of human nature – they know ‘how’ to act, they are very concerned with their presentation to the outside world. But inside they don’t give a fuck about anyone or anything but themselves. They are very destructive and dangerous people and depending on their intellectual talents, can become very powerful. A stupid sociopath may be that guy who crashes on your couch for months and never pays any bills and eats your last fig newtons, drinks your last beer – he doesn’t care. A highly intelligent and powerful sociopath can bankrupt a nation and change the course of history. My character in ‘The Woman’ is a middle class, above average IQ sociopath. So the damage he causes, although severe, is relegated to a few individuals.
How would you say this film is different from other horror movies?
It’s better than almost every horror movie I have ever seen. I think it’s a masterpiece of the genre. I don’t like most horror movies because they are often cheap. I’m not talking about budget (our budget was modest) but rather how horror films are cheap in the way they manipulate the audience. Anyone can manipulate the camera, have something scary and gross pop out in front of the audience and make them nearly crap themselves. What Lucky does is different. Lucky scares the audience on a different level. He’ll give you the thrills and chills but at the end of the day ‘The Woman’ and the rest of Lucky’s work is asking questions about what it means to be a human being. ‘The Woman’ doesn’t just scare the audience, it haunts them. That’s what a scary tale is meant to do.
The film stars Pollyanna McIntosh, Angela Bettis, Carlee Baker, Marcia Bennett and your good self – with Lucky McKee onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
The cast and crew were fantastic. A great group of fun and talented people. It was a difficult shoot in many ways but no one bitched much because we enjoyed the story we were telling and the company we were keeping. We also shot in some great locations in Massachusetts. Western Mass is a great place to be in August. I made a lot of friends on ‘The Woman’. And The Woman, in ‘The Woman’, played by Pollyanna McIntosh is brilliant. If she wasn’t we’d have no movie and you wouldn’t be asking me for this interview. Polly’s as sweet-natured as she looks but will scare the shit of you in this movie.
Let’s talk a bit about you Sean. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I am unqualified for anything else. I stumbled into acting. It’s a long story – I did plays in high school and college, as a way to meet girls and then I discovered that I was pretty good at it. I was not very good at much else – so I kept at it and am still keeping at it.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting a career in the industry?
You better love what you do – it better mean something to you beyond being rich and famous or any of that crap, because you will take a beating in this industry. I’m grateful for every rejection I have ever had because it has only made me more determined. Storytelling is important. The stories we tell each other define who we are. If you want to be in this industry it should be because you want to share stories with others, stories that you think matter. If you just want to be on Access Hollywood – well – go fuck yourself.
If you could invite three historical guests to a dinner – who are either living or dead – who would you choose and why?
That’s a tough one – let’s see – off the top of my head, I’m gonna say Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Edward de Vere (the 7th earl of Oxford) and Geraldine Paige. Edward de Vere is /was the true author of Shakespeare’s works – so you know he’s gotta be a great conversationalist, though it would take about 5 minutes to be able to understand what the hell he was saying – Mark Twain is my favorite writer of all time and curiously enough never believed that William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon was the true author – so I would introduce Mark Twain to Edward de Vere at the dinner. I’d invite Geraldine Paige because – well it’s nice to have a woman around, and she was a freaking genius actor. Her performance in ‘Trip To Bountiful’ is perhaps the finest performance I’ve ever seen. When I first saw it, as a teenager, I thought they had picked some woman off the street and gave her the role. She was so believable. There was no “acting” in her performance. Brilliant. I can only hope to someday be that honest and brave in my work.
What does a Sean Bridgers day usually consist of?
Cocaine and prostitutes. that is after I get up at 6:30am and make the kids breakfast (my wife and I have 3). Then I walk the dog, feed the cat, and all that stuff. I’m a husband and father when I’m home and my duties revolve around that. I make time to write every day and exercise and to play a little Playstation 3. The cocaine and prostitutes only happen in ‘Grand Theft Auto’. My life is pretty awesome because it’s kinda boring. I have a lot of love in my life.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
That Sarah Palin had a fling with Glen Rice when he played basketball for the University of Michigan and the Wolverines were playing a tournament in Anchorage, where Sarah was working as a sports reporter. I don’t know if it constitutes “interesting” but it’s hilarious.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
‘The Woman’ gets unleashed theatrically in October. I’ll be on ‘Raising Hope’ on FOX next Tuesday the 27th of September. That was fun. I’m working on a show called ‘Hart Of Dixie’ for CW this week and well – after that I’m out looking for another job.
Thanks for the interview!