Hi everybody! Here’s an amazing and heartbreaking interview to the great Ann Dowd (Patti Levin in the show), released for Awardsdaily.com
Hope you enjoy it 🙂
ADTV: Let’s talk about The Leftovers then. The second season was more of a success because I think not many saw the first season, which was also very good. Then at the Critics Choice Awards, you and Regina King were nominated and Carrie Coon won. That was great for the show.
AD: Yeah, that was a thrill. My family watches, and they love it. My brother John can’t make heads or tails of it. He was looking for something more linear. You go here then you go there, a natural progression of story. That is not what we have here, to our great delight. The first season was fascinating to do because putting it together and not knowing what the Guilty Remnant was and their beliefs. Then in the second season Patti is in a different place. People asked me what it was like to not speak. Quite daunting, as I rely on words. We all do. I had to learn what she wants and just get it and not use words. It was a very powerful experience, an extraordinary position to take. Damon [Lindelof] and Tom Perrotta know her so well. The whole group was so phenomenal.
ADTV: Yeah, a really great cast. The stuff with you and Justin [Theroux] was so good.
AD: He described it later as a kind of love story with just those two in the scenes. They were drawn to one another. They achieved something, which was intimacy. Justin understands the shape of a scene when you are playing the scene he is right there – it is a very safe place. As the material is daunting. Everyone had to be on their game, the writer, directors, actors, costumes, make up, hair.
ADTV: Do you empathize or support the Guilty Remnant’s plight? Did you get on board with it? Why they were like that?
AD: It is a terrific question. When I first read the material I remember thinking, “Well what is this now? What is going on here?” This show has taught me so much. I am a kind of kitchen sink actress with everything in front of me, but, hello, that is not what we are doing here. I found her very intriguing, and by episode three I am all in. Then I find out as I am fully attached to the show that my character is going to die. Damon gracefully wrote me an email, and I was heartbroken that I was now going away. When I started to realize what they were preaching – to let go the attachment – I didn’t know I could ever do that. What it did teach me to do was just let go. Do the work, enjoy the work as it is happening, but let go. A miraculous experience that whole thing. I remember asking Damon what does it matter that he kills her? What does that mean? He is always clear when you ask him. He said it is a new religion and are putting it together for the first time.
I had such empathy for the Guilty Remnant and that whole experience. You can come home to your family, have dinner together, go to work, pay your rent. Life offers its own kind of suffering – your children grow up and stop nursing. We wave goodbye. That is a privileged sadness. The Leftovers throws in from the start a catastrophe. And watching people trying to put their lives back, to get to get some semblance of grief, it made me think of my own life, and if such a thing were to happen, how it would change you. So I connected to their way of seeing the world.
ADTV: It must have been nice to get that email to say your character is going to die, but now you get some lines.
AD: [Laughs] Oh yes, you have something to say. They wrote it like a play.
ADTV: Season two was great, and you were fantastic. Patti’s haunting of Kevin was extraordinary – you were outstanding by the way. Chilling, funny, and then sympathetic. At the end it was a little bit like hero and villain falling in love. The well scene is very sad.
AD: Yes. We were talking about this, watching that little girl, and the things they made her say. When you realize you have the privilege of spending time with a character, and having time with her and then realizing it is time for her to go. She was in his life and did not know why, then able to say out loud how she failed in her life. I could not get over the writing, that well scene, that is a long day ahead sitting in a well. [Laughs] That was the day I realized Patti is going to die. Anyway, it was emotional. And thank god for Justin.
ADTV: He has worked with David Lynch so he is used to weird.
AD: [Laughs] Right, yes.
ADTV: Well, good luck with everything, the Emmys, the show’s reception, and just keep doing what you are doing. It is a pleasure.
AD: Thank you. And good luck to you with your children.