In Sunday’s episode of Sharp Objects, Jackie O’Neill, played to wry, boozy perfection by Elizabeth Perkins, finally tells Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) that she knows the truth about Adora Crellin (Patricia Clarkson) and what happened to Camille’s late sister, Marian (Lulu Wilson). It’s a confrontation scene that the show has been building toward all along, but, in true Sharp Objects fashion, it still keeps certain details shrouded in mystery.
Perkins took some time to talk to Vulture about shooting that scene with Adams, why she thinks Jackie kept Adora’s secret for so long, and what it was like to work with director Jean-Marc Vallée, who’s known for his unique creative approach. “there is no blocking, there is no rehearsals, there are no lights,” she explained. “There’s no beginning, middle, end to a scene.”
Had you read the book before you did the show?
No, I had not. I had read Gone Girl even before the movie of Gone Girl came out, so I was a big Gillian Flynn fan and, of course, loved what they did with the adaptation of Gone Girl. It was an amazing movie. But no, as soon as I got the role, I went right out and read Sharp Objects, and I thought, “Oh, my God, how are they going to expand this into eight episodes?” I’m pretty impressed with what Jean-Marc did, to be honest, because the role of Jackie in the book is described so differently. When they meet Jackie in the book, she’s just had a facelift, and she still has bandages on and she’s described as, like, her bandages were oozing. I thought, “Wow! That is so fantastic.” But I don’t think they wanted to do that with her. We just had to give the impression that she was one of those people, you know.
How much did the book stick with you as you tried to bring this character to life?
Well, you have to put everything out of your head when you work with Jean-Marc Vallée, because nothing he ever does is literal.
I read the book, but the minute we started shooting, Jean-Marc was like, “This is going to be almost a dream state that we’re in all the time.” So I know who did it, and I know how the story ends, but that’s not the way we’re really telling the story. It’s not like point A, point B, point C. It’s sort of like start at A, go to F, go to E, go to C. Continue reading