“Gerald’s Game” is now streaming on Netflix. We spoke with the film’s star Carla Gugino at the 2017 IFP Gotham Awards this week. She has received a lot of acclaim for her performance.
Speak about what intrigued you about the Gerald’s Game when you were first pitched it.
Carla Gugino: I was intrigued that it was a Stephen King adaptation. When I read the script, Bruce Greenwood was attached already and I was a big fan of his as an actor. Then I read Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of the book and I was really taken with how ambitious it was, frankly. It had all the elements of great horror that Stephen King does so well but it was also exploring sexual abuse. A woman who was abused as a child and was never able to speak about it and was put in this circumstance where she has to deal with it. I felt like, ‘wow that’s going to be really hard to pull off. I have to try.’ So, I think I was scared and therefore had to jump in. I thought that the defining moment was going to be speaking to Mike Flanagan and when I spoke to him he had such a clear vision of what he wanted to do. He said to me — which very few film makers ever do — ‘I want you to take ownership of the script, this movie is as much yours as it is mine.’ He really kept his word. So, it was an incredibly collaborative process and one of the best roles I have ever gotten to play. So, it’s been so nice that it’s been really embraced.
How is it affecting your sleep?
Carla Gugino: I think it has exorcised some demons actually. Yeah! I think I’m actually better after it. I think it did some work on me.
The story seems like it’s very timely.
Carla Gugino: It is, it is. I guess unfortunately this has been something that happened for a very, very long time but it’s timely that people are speaking out against things they’ve been silent about and I think silence is never good. But yeah it’s a universal issue and I think it’s that thing of the shadow has more power if we don’t acknowledge it and I think a lot of us have had really traumatic instances in our lives. It’s really hard to look at them and generally when we do look at them with the proper support, we are better off for it, but I really did love the journey of this woman to do that. It’s cool, it’s a really interesting film.
What are you learning about yourself?
Carla Gugino: I think that one of the things that I was compelled by in this movie because my character’s personality splits and she has the version that really is going to give up and doesn’t think she is ever going to make it and then the one who is a bit more tough love and believes she will get through it. I think we do have these voices in our heads and we are our own worst enemies and our own best advocates. It all happens in here and that’s where all the work has to be done. So, I think for me, playing this character was about delving into some of those things.
Any upcoming projects you want to share?
Carla Gugino: You know right now I’m filming The Haunting of Hill House.
Another horror film?
Carla Gugino: I know it’s so funny, with Mike Flanagan, too! This is also very psychological in nature but it’s based on Shirley Jackson. It’s so funny, I haven’t done many things in the genre and now I’m doing two back to back. They’re very different characters but yes the same filmmaker. It was a novel written by Shirley Jackson in 1959 that’s been made into a couple of films and then this is actually through the eyes of a dysfunctional family and those dynamics. They gave me the day off so I can be here.
The 2017 IFP Gotham Awards was presented by Fiji Water, The New York Times, Landmark Vineyards and Lindt Chocolate at Cipriani Wall Street on Monday evening.