Anyone who's been paying attention to movies over the past decade knows that Michelle Williams has transitioned from "Dawson's Creek" star into a top actress.
The three-time Oscar nominee gives another top-notch performance in the new movie "Take This Waltz," in which she plays Margot, a writer who develops intense feelings for her mysterious neighbor Daniel (Luke Kirby), despite being comfortably married to Lou (Seth Rogen).
amNY spoke with Williams about writer-director (and actress) Sarah Polley's film, which opens Friday.
Are you just sent interesting, complex scripts, or are you unusually gifted at finding them? I think I see a real mix. I see options of ways that I could go in my work, but it's always very clear. I really find that making decisions about work is actually the easiest part of the job, because it's not actually work, it's instinct. I've learned that I can make pretty decent decisions when I follow that instinct.
What was your reaction to this one? Once I finished the script, I knew I would extend myself to make the movie. Not everything that I want at this point is given to me. This movie definitely was not. Sarah had a really long process of considering different people and I was just one of them. I really made myself available to wanting something again, to auditioning, to … putting a lot of thought into something I didn't know I was going to get.
Margot is at a particular precipice in life that's not usually explored on film. What did that mean to you? You see a lot of films about a coming of age when a girl enters her adolescence, but I hadn't seen a lot of movies about when a girl leaves her girlhood and enters womanhood. It was kind of what I was experiencing. My story. I'm a different person than Margot, but I was at that precipice myself, being in your late 20s, and looking at 30, and realizing that you're about to leave behind so many things that you might not have fully appreciated when you had them.
Can she ever find happiness? I think the contentment is with yourself. For me, the question was, this feeling of being alive, this kind of restlessness that borders on melancholy - She's capable of great joy, euphoria and lots of happiness - but his kind of baseline, is that what it feels like to be alive? Or, is that because you're doing the wrong thing, working the wrong job, have the wrong relationship? It's talked about a little bit in the movie. I think the mistake is to try and fix it with people, things or places.
Would you like to write and direct like Sarah? I'm not as smart as Sarah. And I don't say that to be mean to myself. It's just a cold, hard fact. I think of it like, 'I like my little tinker shop.' I just make this tiny little piece, and I hammer away at it. ... Sometimes I have an idea about how my piece might fit in better with the other pieces, but I like being a kind of specialist and not being a boss.