Actors like Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Philip Seymour Hoffman (RIP) seem to transform before my eyes. I get so incredibly sucked into the story because they make me believe that what I am experiencing is real.
I cry, I scream, and I smile when they smile. I viscerally feel everything they feel.
When I watched Brie Larson in the film Room, I immediately realized this actress is one to join the ranks of the legends mentioned above. Her performance was so natural, believable, and flawless. I believed in every feeling she had and every word she said.
She almost made it seem easy. But I know its not. As an aspiring actress, I know how much hard work, discipline, and dedication it takes to put upon a performance as strong and impactful as Larson's.
Thanks to the AARP and Variety’s Movies for Grownups Screening Series film festival, I was able to listen to a Q&A after the film, in which Larson divulged about her experience preparing for such a heavy role.
Larson first began the physical transformation three months before shooting. To really understand the limited diet the character Ma would experience as a woman in captivity, she only ate the same foods over and over again. Not only did she want to look like a woman lacking serious nutrition, she wanted to know how it would affect her mentally to have such a restricted diet with very little variety. She also remained purposely distant from friends and family to aid in creating a sense of isolation.
While filming on location in Canada, Larson brought some decorations, including stuffed animals, from her actual home to help her feel safe and bring comfort after filming incredibly emotionally and physically draining scenes.
Larson also regularly journaled her thoughts and feelings while doing research in woman's help centers and often consulted with director Lenny Abrahamson for direction.
The most eye-opening point she discussed was an analogy that truly resonated with me. She described her preparation into playing the character Ma as being much like scuba diving. One must learn the technicalities before diving headfirst into the ocean and immediately start diving. One must know how deep they are able to go with the amount of oxygen in their tank.
I cannot wait to see Larson's future work, as I know she will put her heart and energy into any role she is cast in. She is the type of actress I really aspire to be, as her adaption of Ma was truly electrifying and poignant.
Room will be released in theaters this Friday, November 6th. Just make sure you bring an entire box of tissues with you.