Anna Kendrick says her new movie Alice, Darling made her reflect on her past experience with emotional abuse in a romantic relationship.
The Pitch Perfect alum spoke to The Los Angeles Times this week about her upcoming film, in which she plays Alice, a woman in a destructive relationship with the psychologically abusive Simon (Charlie Carrick). The film, which is directed by Mary Nighy from a script by Alanna Francis, made Kendrick think about her own experiences with an unnamed ex. Kendrick said her partner did not harm her physically, which made her question her perspective on the relationship.
“That was a big part of my problem,” Kendrick explained. “He never hit me and I’m not really afraid that he’s going to hit me. How do I discern between normal conflict and abuse? Why is my body in so much fear all of the time? Why do I wake up feeling like he’s in bed next to me and wondering, ‘OK, do I have 30 seconds before I start performing or … ?’”
During the filmmaking process, it was important for the Up In the Air star to not show Simon being outwardly monstrous onscreen, instead allowing Alice’s experience to be the “evidence” that he was abusive. That included removing a moment in which Alice removed her clothes, revealing bruises.
“I was begging Mary, 'Can Alice be the evidence?'" Kendrick said. “Because not only do I want us to not make a movie that’s already been made, but personally, I need to trust that I’m the evidence. Part of it was like, if you can’t trust Alice, then I can’t trust myself. So it was really, really important that the movie relied so heavily on just staying with Alice.”
Kendrick has opened up before about her past relationship. In a September interview with People, she said that her representative passed along Francis’s script because it reflected the conversations they were having about Kendrick’s own relationship.
"It felt really distinct in that I had, frankly, seen a lot of movies about abusive or toxic relationships, and it didn't really look like what was happening to me," she said. "It kind of helped me normalize and minimize what was happening to me, because I thought, 'Well, if I was in an abusive relationship, it would look like that.'"
She shared that at the time, she trusted the person she was in a relationship with more than she trusted her own self.
"When that person is telling you that you have a distorted sense of reality and that you are impossible and that all the stuff that you think is going on is not going on, your life gets really confusing really quickly,” Kendrick explained. “And I was in a situation where, at the end, I had the unique experience of finding out that everything I thought was going on was in fact going on. So I had this kind of springboard for feeling and recovery that a lot of people don't get."
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