With roles in Man of Steel, Julia and Julia and Enchanted, Amy Adams is one of the most sought after actresses today. But not contented on roles for the big screen, the actress has also set her sights on the small screen by starring and co-producing the new HBO series, Sharp Objects.
Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects sees Adams starring as reporter Camille Preaker, who returns to her small hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. Trying to put together a psychological puzzle from her past, she finds herself identifying with the young victims a bit too closely.
In this interview with Adams, the actress reveals more about the character of Camille and what drew her back to the realm of television.
What attracted you to this project?
Television and I are like long-lost friends – it’s like an old relationship that ended when it shouldn’t have, so I kind of thought I was going to leave it there, but TV has just gone in such a different direction since. And the people attached were so incredible. I’ve been attracted to Gillian’s work for years, because she creates these incredibly flawed females. For a brief moment, I was talking about doing Dark Places, but then I got pregnant and I was like, ‘I don’t think I can go to dark places. Not the time.’
You’re known to do a lot of research, so where do you start with someone as complex and damaged as Camille?
I started in the book, first up. There’s so much there. Because Camille’s the narrator of the book, there’s so much internal dialogue to pull from what she’s thinking. Every day I had a ritual where I would read the segment of the book that we were shooting, and I would look at what she was saying to herself during those segments. It helped remind me of this very rich internal life that Camille has that you can’t tell all in words.
Was it difficult to decide how you would phase out the horror, the drinking, the self-harm, so audiences aren’t aware of absolutely every one of her struggles from the start?
Those are the things that are interesting, because you want the drinking and the mental health to be what it’s about. So I’m always careful about that. The sad thing about Camille too, when people ask what was it like playing a drunk? I have to say that if she gets drunk, it’s because she’s really been doing it all day. A lot of the times it’s just to maintain. And she’s always maintaining. So, she’s regularly drunk. But when you drink that much you get quite sick and you don’t feel right if you’re not drinking.
How different an experience was it being an executive producer as well as acting in this?
What was interesting was trying to do both things while playing Camille, because there were times when I had to just not engage as a producer, and there were times where I really had to. This was my first foray into being in something I produced, so I think that’s something I’m going to learn more and more, but I loved it. One of the things that’s really important to me is the work experience and feeling you can have an effect on that.
Saying, ‘Hey, can we take a 15-minute break so that the extras can cool down and have some ice cream?’ is a little thing, but it makes a difference. Being an actress, I pay mind to character and story, and those are my responsibilities. But being able to look at the bigger picture, as a producer, and see it in a different way, whether it be from the casting conversations or script conversations, you’re listened to in a different way and that’s nice.
Sometimes I had good ideas and sometimes I didn’t. What was great is the team was so respectful and communicative and trusted that when my ideas were not in the best interest of what everybody wanted, that they were able to communicate that as well and trust that I was a reasonable enough human being to say, ‘Okay, great. Let’s look at it a different way.’ So it was a really great experience.
Catch Amy Adams on Sharp Objects. The series made its debut the same time as the U.S. on Monday, July 9 at 9am on HBO (Astro Ch 411/475 HD). New episodes of this 8-episode limited series premiere every Monday at 9am and encores on the same day at 10pm on HBO. Catch up on past episodes anytime on ASTRO On Demand.