Does something scare Andrea Riseborough? “It terrifies me to be part of the shit”
Is there something Andrea Riseborough can not do? All it takes is a quick glance at his filmography to confirm that Riseborough is constantly engaging in daring projects that maximize his significant lineup. Possessor, Nancythe black mirror episode “Crocodile” – the list can go on and on, and now Riseborough is adding yet another jaw-dropping performance with their 2022 SXSW movie, To Leslie.
The film is inspired by the true story of the screenwriter ryan blancois the mother. Riseborough makes headlines as the title character, a woman living in West Texas who wins the lottery and has the chance to create a better life for herself and her son, James (Owen Teague). Struggling with alcoholism, Leslie quickly burns through her earnings and finds herself homeless. She’s hit rock bottom and needs help, but she’s cut so many bridges that it’s becoming impossible to find anyone to turn to. However, hope comes from an unexpected source, Marc MaronIt’s Sweeney, a local motel worker who’s willing to give Leslie a chance.
With To Leslie celebrating its world premiere at SXSW 2022, Riseborough and Teague took the time to chat about their experience making the film. But before going into the details of To Leslie, we had to highlight the exceptional work of Riseborough. With such a huge list of daring and challenging projects to her name, I asked Riseborough if there had ever been a role that scared her to the point of thinking, “I don’t know if I can do this. Teague laughed and said, “I wondered that too.”
While I expected Riseborough to say something along the lines of tackling a character in an extremely dark headspace, she went for a broader response that makes complete sense in the world. She said, “It terrifies me to be part of shit.” Riseborough continued:
“I’m definitely terrified of shit. [Laughs] And I don’t think I’m the only one in this case! [Turns to Teague.] I think you would agree, wouldn’t you? It’s very difficult because when you’re presented with something a bit crappy, to put it in a more British way – if you want something to sound British, just say “a bit” before – so something is kinda shitty and it’s presented to you, so you’re not just one role. You are not doing your only job. You suddenly find yourself a co-writer. You take a lot more… But when you’re part of something and you want to have an agency because from the inside you just love the bones and you also want to produce it and you want to celebrate it and create it and do part of sharing with the world, it’s a different feeling than taking on these roles when you haven’t really signed up for them.
When it comes to To LeslieRiseborough and Teague confirmed that this was definitely a project they wanted to give their all to for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest was the director. Michael Morris. Morris has produced and directed a significant number of shows, including Line, You better call Saul, 13 reasons why and much more, but To Leslie actually marks his directorial debut. What was it like working with a director with so much series experience when entering the realm of feature films for the first time? Riseborough began: “I think it was like seeing someone whose wings were finally unclipped.” Teague also added, “His communication and his clarity and that kind of understanding he has of what he’s doing, it makes my job a lot easier and a lot more enjoyable.”
Clear communication is essential from a director, but Morris’ positive influence on the To Leslie together went far beyond. Here’s how Riseborough put it:
“I think one of the markers of knowing that you’re working with a wonderful director is really someone who’s going to do something thoughtful, funny, beautiful and full of life is that everyone means well to him. Every person on set wants to do their best for everyone. And everybody wanted to do their best for Michael and that’s always a really good sign to go in some kind of good direction. You never know exactly where you’re going with the movie, but that’s definitely a good sign.
Looking for more from Riseborough and Teague on their reunion experience post Line and replay mother and son in To Leslie? You can follow our entire conversation in the video interview at the top of this article!
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