A not-so-young-adult moving from the city to suburbia in 2018 might not face Betty Draper levels of drudgery and repression, but according to HBO, Showtime, Netflix, Hulu and FX, she’ll face a bunch of other modern indignities. Despotic wellness, interminable kid-shuttling, open relationships that are more work than fun. One small consolation is that she might live next to an Elizabeth Perkins character.
Perkins, 57, has perfected the art of upper-middle-class, dark-comedic relief. Audiences might remember her as the mom/friend from ‘90s movies like Miracle on 34th Street, The Flintstones, and Must Love Dogs. Her long-running performance as Celia Hodes, Nancy Botwin’s drunk, sick and unfiltered BFF, earned her multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. On Sharp Objects as Jackie O’Neill, Camille Preaker’s (Amy Adams) godmother-figure, Perkins leverages her hard-earned lightness to draw audiences into the dark psychology of small-town BFF-dom.
“I always thought of Jackie as a ghost on Scooby Doo,” Perkins told ELLE.com. “She just weaves in and out in giant muumuus going, ‘Woooooo.’”
The ghosts on Scooby Doo are always fakes—janitors in sheets who spare the gang from the true horror of the paranormal. Jackie serves a similar role on Sharp Objects. Just as Wind Gap becomes too dark to handle, Jackie swoops in offering gossip and spiked sweet tea. If Perkins were your neighbor in this hellscape, you think, you might actually be able to cope.
ELLE.com talked to Perkins about the freedom of playing drunk and Jackie’s hidden pain.
Jackie begins Sharp Objects as the lovable town lush, but this week we get to see her dark side.
You come to realize that she’s hiding a lot. I think she’s always medicating some really deep pain. She’s in so much pain because of what she knows. With Camille back in town, she’s not able to hold it in because she loves Camille. She’s probably the only person in town who really loves Camille.
I made the decision that Jackie’s always medicated, always on an opiate or a benzo or a mixture. Alcohol and benzo is probably her game. And I love playing drunk and inebriated. Continue reading