Interview: Geena Davis, Accidents Happen

| 23 April , 2010 | 1 Reply

Keeva Stratton, Quip Creative

An Interview with Geena Davis on Why Her Latest Role was No Accident

When she walked into the room, the statuesque yet graceful figure of Geena Davis was a distant reminder of the broken and embittered Gloria, the character she plays in her latest film, Accidents Happen. Gloria is the mother of three boys, one of whom is severely disabled, the result of a devastating car crash that also claimed the life of her young daughter. She is a complex character, constantly at ends with the train wreck that is her life and her own emotional dysfunction and bitterness. Geena, on the other hand, is well polished, warm and friendly, greeting you with an embracing smile and a sense of ease, which can only lead you to wonder what attracted her to such a role to begin with.

What attracted you to this often heavy and deeply emotional film?

Geena: I thought the script was wonderful, it was such a unique story with interesting characters. The mother in particular would be interesting to pull off. The story itself reflected the era and childhood of the writer, Brian Carbee, and it was somewhat biographical, which was appealing.

What was it like to play Gloria?

Geena: I\’m interested in the layers of characters. Sometimes you\’re given a role that, at first, you know a lot of people won\’t immediately like, but it is your job as an actor that by the end of the film the audience has found some sympathy for the character. Gloria was like that for me. She was interesting as a mother and different to any other I had played – in fact, the last mother I played was to a rodent (smiles).

How did you cope with the tragedy of the story?

Geena: Incredibly tragic things happen, and, some funny things as well. Life seems to go on and you find a way somehow to get through. This film is about the relationships that help you get through and it balances the heaviness through humor and these relationships. That can be inspiring.

What was it like to film a quintessentially American story in Australia while working with a predominantly Australian cast?

Geena: Australians are much more cheerful and happy than most people. If I was going to move to any other city it would be Sydney. The places we shot in really did look like 1980s America and the Aussie actors did a fantastic job of portraying these characters. We used a voice coach and they all did it very convincingly. We got to rehearse together for a couple of weeks, and had really bonded by the time it came to shooting the film, this was great, especially with the younger cast members.

You\’re also involved in a great female cause – what can you tell us about the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media?

Geena: When watching television shows with my young daughter it struck me that female characters seemed to be greatly underrepresented, and when they did appear they were either wearing a lot less clothing than their male friends and only had one or two general motivations. I knew I needed to prove this before approaching the studios, so I began the institute and we did the research which confirmed nearly a 3 to 1 ratio of male to female characters in G rated programing. With this research, it has become even more important to me to raise awareness of this amongst the film community and try to make a change.

Accidents Happen is in cinemas now and if you\’d like to learn more about the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media visit www.seejane.org.

You can also see our review of Accidents Happen here.

Keeva

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