Anna Kendrick has become better known for her comedy roles in recent years, but let’s not forget she’s an Oscar nominee with a serious dramatic repertoire. But she typically isn’t connecting her work to personal experience: “Usually, it’s just I read a good script and I like the people involved, and I make the movie,” she tells People in a new interview.
But with her upcoming film Alice, Darling—premiering at TIFF—she “resonated” with the material unlike ever before. “I was coming out of a personal experience with emotional abuse and psychological abuse,” she reveals to the outlet. “I think my rep sent [the script] to me, because he knew what I’d been dealing with and sent it along. Because he was like, ‘This sort of speaks to everything that you’ve been talking to me about.’”
Of the relationship with an unnamed partner, Kendrick recalls, “I was in a situation where I loved and trusted this person more than I trusted myself. So when that person is telling you that you have a distorted sense of reality and that you are impossible and that all the stuff that you think is going on is not going on, your life gets really confusing really quickly.” She continues, “And I was in a situation where, at the end, I had the unique experience of finding out that everything I thought was going on was in fact going on. So I had this kind of springboard for feeling and recovery that a lot of people don’t get.”
Kendrick admits most movies about toxic or abusive relationships “didn’t really look like what was happening to me,” which in fact “helped me normalize and minimize” the abuse she was experiencing. But with Alice, Darling, the script hewed so closely to her reality that she told director Mary Nighy that “‘if the movie was shooting in a month, I probably shouldn’t do it.’” Luckily, she had time to prepare, “So I wasn’t in danger of re-traumatizing myself.”
Still, “My body still believes that it was my fault,” Kendrick explains, noting that “recovery has been so challenging.” The actor reflects, “But like so many things in life. I think the piece that was most therapeutic was actually building relationships with these collaborators and sharing our personal histories with each other, and then creating this thing together.”