Melanie Lynskey Revising Cinematic Female Archetypes

Melanie Lynskey has built a career on genuine, naturalistic portrayals of women in films like Up in the Air, Win Win, Hello, I Must Be Going, and, at age 16, in the Peter Jackson-directed Heavenly Creatures. The New Zealand-born actress’ latest role is Kelly, a former novelist turned homemaker, in Joe Swanberg’s upcoming dramedy Happy Christmas.

For the MovieMaker magazine summer 2014 cover story, Lynskey spoke about the tricky art of improvisation, her inspirations (including Lena Dunham and Under the Skin), and her passion for revising cinematic female archetypes.

MovieMaker asks Lynskey: “When you’re working on an ordinary movie set, any time someone fumbles a line, steps on someone’s line, or there’s an awkward pause, someone’s going to call ‘cut’ and then you’re going to do it over. It seems to me on a project like Happy Christmas those are exactly the moments Swanberg’s going for. How do you reorient yourself to that way of working?”

“It’s good. I initially put a lot of pressure on myself,” Lynksey says. “I was like, I need to make it very concise, I need to get all the story points out, what did I want to talk about in this scene. Then I was like, I think I have to just let go a little bit and just trust that awkward pauses are fine. He likes all that stuff – sort of fumbly stuff, doing three things at once.”

Lynskey is the voice of Beatrice in the upcoming American animated television miniseries Over the Garden Wall alongside Elijah Wood, set to premiere later this year.

Happy Christmas opens in theatres on 25 July.

Original article by Sean Hood, MovieMaker, June 25, 2014.

Photo by Dominic Bonuccelli.


Tags: Elijah Wood  Happy Christmas  Heavenly Creatures  Hello I Must Be Going  Joe Swanberg  Lena Dunham  Melanie Lynskey  MovieMaker  Over the Garden Wall  Peter Jackson  Up in the Air  Win Win  

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