A Good Person's Florence Pugh never wants to be seen as a "one-trick pony"
Florence Pugh is starring in two of this year's biggest movies in Oppenheimer and Dune: Part Two, but she'll first be seen in raw indie drama A Good Person which is released in cinemas next week.
Written and directed by Zach Braff, the Sky Original movie sees Pugh play Allison, whose life falls apart when she's involved in a car accident that kills her future sister-in-law, leading to Allison developing an opioid addiction.
During her recovery, Allison forms an unlikely friendship with her would-be father-in-law Daniel (Morgan Freeman), which could end up being the thing that allows the pair of them to start putting their lives back together.
A Good Person saw Pugh work as a producer for the first time, and also led to her writing and performing two original songs for the movie, adding even more strings to her already-impressive bow.
Ahead of A Good Person's cinema release, Digital Spy sat down with Florence Pugh to talk about working with Zach Braff to develop the movie, dealing with emotionally dark roles and the ideal balance in her career.
Zach has spoken about how he wrote this for you, so did that change your approach when it came to reading the script?
Florence Pugh: When he was writing it, we were living in LA and COVID had just happened and the whole world had changed, and he stopped procrastinating and tried to do something every day so that there was purpose when everybody was kind of just figuring things out.
I wasn't allowed to read it and so when I finally did read it, I didn't approach it in any different way. I mean, obviously he wrote for me, so my voice was on every single page and even if there were places where it needed filling out – like every script does, you know, it needs their actor to step into the role – it just meant that that whole corner had been cut.
Even if I hadn't been able to read the script, he was coming back and telling me about this thing he just discovered and this scene that he had just figured out, so I felt like actually the approach that I had to the script meant that I was able to be free and honest a lot sooner than maybe I would have done.
Part of that also was that you were a producer for the first time on the movie. Is that an experience you want to do more of in the future because it gets you more involved in those early days of production?
On top of being more involved, you also just get to be part of the making of it. To me, that's the most exciting bit. You get to sculpt it from the beginning.
It's not about having more control for me, it's more about I have ideas and I love sharing ideas and I love seeing them help or come to fruition. You get to be a part of the creative process from the beginning, which is so exciting.
In the movie itself, you also perform two songs in it...
That was so important to us because I wrote those songs when I read the script. I wrote one song when I read the script, just to process how this person could feel this, how you'd feel, what you would think about yourself.
Why is it so hard for her to admit guilt? And it's all because she has a deep hate for herself and a deep longing to not want to be there. I think it was just so important that those songs were a discovery for her. They were something that she could finally admit to herself when she was in rehab, so everything about that was just so sweet and tender.
I was able to record them away from the character and not on a squeaky piano in a rehab centre and not playing Alison, which was also great. So I feel like I've been able to write them for her and then perform them as her, and then perform them as me, which is rare.
It's a challenging role, but you're used to dark roles in your career. Is it hard to leave them behind once you've finished filming?
I've never had major problems with leaving them behind, partly because I think most of the characters that I play, even though they're obscure and unique and find themselves in bizarre situations, I've never worried about them.
Like, I know that Katherine Lester [from Lady Macbeth] is fine. She's fine. I know that obviously Saraya [from Fighting with My Family] is fine because she's a real person [laughs].
I found leaving Dani from Midsommar behind really hard, I felt very guilty, which is very strange because I've never had that before. But with Allison, the same thing, I do believe that they're going to be fine. I don't know what's gonna happen but I don't worry about her.
We don't think anyone can stop thinking about Dani from Midsommar…
Finally, in an ideal world, in your career are you mixing these smaller indie movies with your blockbuster work like Dune 2?
Yeah, definitely. I think when I signed on to do Marvel, I was really kind of saddened by the fact that the indie movie world were like, 'Great, now she's gone, she's never going to come back'. I was always a bit miffed about that because I've never seen myself as a one-trick pony. I don't want to do the same thing over and over again.
The reason why I came into this industry was by small indie films and I appreciated the craft and I learnt the craft from them, and then I get to work with massive crews and massive directors and massive films that gone for months.
They both have completely different crafts that do, and try to do, the same thing which is just to affect at least one person. I love the difference between the two, so I'm always trying to make time and squeeze in the little weird ones as well because they're important.
A Good Person is released in cinemas on March 24 and is available to watch on Sky Cinema from April 28.
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