Jesse Plemons Felt ‘Sick to His Stomach’ Reading ‘Kinds of Kindness’ Script

Starting his career at age 10, then rising to prominence at 18 in the NBC television drama “Friday Night Lights,” Jesse Plemons has had the acting bug for as long as he can remember. His roles in “Breaking Bad” and, most recently, Martin Scorsese’s epic western “Killers of the Flower Moon” are defined by an undercurrent of calm that draws viewers in, giving them a sense of confidence but also unease. It seems to be a throughline with all his characters, though, in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Plemons said this wasn’t intentional.

“It’s just a survival technique,” he said of not branding himself in any way. “I’ve been doing it for so long that it almost doesn’t benefit to look too far ahead. And that’s kind of worked for me so far … I’m constantly just looking at this next thing and following my gut [about] what is interesting and exciting to me.”

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Following his gut was a big part of his latest project, Yorgos Lanthimos’ darkly comedic triptych “Kinds of Kindness,” for which he recently earned the Best Actor prize at Cannes. Speaking on Lanthimos’ process, he said, “You’re mainly playing these games, doing these theater exercises that he’s picked up, developed, made up over the years, and my takeaway that first or second day was, ‘Is the whole point of this just to make me feel completely lost? Is that why we’re doing this? Because it’s working.’”

Even though he may not have understood what Lanthimos was trying to achieve, he trusted the writer/director to take him where he needed to go and that the end product would have an effect, no matter what.

“What I think is so amazing about [Lanthimos’] work is it has the ability to really evoke very intense feelings and emotions that are hard to even sort through and articulate in your head,” Plemons said to the LA Times. “That was kind of the way I felt after reading the script, this sick to my stomach feeling. Not that I wasn’t incredibly excited, but that one there was something really kind of insidious about that effect.”

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