The title might be a mouthful, but make no mistake - I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore is an unheralded success story. The Netflix production took out the Grand Jury Prize for the U.S. Dramatic competition at this year's edition of the Sundance Film Festival. With critics and streamers alike praising the originality of the script, the performances and social commentary on gender stereotypes.
It's New Zealand-born star Melanie Lynskey that stole the show of the dark comedy/crime thriller however, coming on from her small television cameos to fulfill the lead in the motion picture. Scoring her big break in the comedy Two and a Half Men in the role of Rose for 63 episodes, it would be working alongside first-time filmmaker Macon Blair that offered the 39-year old an opportunity she couldn't turn down.
Still Trampled On, But In A Unique Way For Lynskey
Speaking with The Playlist for an exclusive interview, Lynskey outlined how the screenplay jumped out at her from the beginning. While also admitting that the part was still something of a stereotype.
"Oh man, it was a wild ride," she starts. "My agent just told me about the script. She told me she thought it was amazing and I read it and I was actually obsessed with it. I ended up reading it out loud. It felt so seamless in its tonal shifts, the suspense kept growing and the character really spoke to me. It’s just such an original movie that felt very honest with itself. Macon (Blair) had a vision and story he wanted to create that felt truly unique. The characters are so different. It really was unlike anything I had read before and it’s actually great, for a change, to play somebody that continuously gets trampled on (laughs)."
Addressing a societal tone that is more aggressive and in-your-face, Lynskey agreed that the movie drew parallels with the 2016 US election.
"I was actually sorely disappointed by the outcome of that election," she remarked. "I was, like, yay we’re going to have our first female president. What an exciting time and, of course, that didn’t happen. What I’m more concerned about is negativity, especially if you say something political or whatever. You can’t take a stance these days or you’re going to be attacked. It’s happened to me before. People get so upset and defensive about these things. What happened to intelligent discourse? Some of them are not even assholes anymore, they’re psychopaths. It leaves actually sort of wondering: 'Wow, are people evil?' It’s astonishing to me how people behave with strangers. It happens a lot and this movie nails the rude, aggressive behavior that people think they could get away with no consequence."
Elijah Link Made Back In NZ
With Lynskey being born and raised in New Zealand, her co-star Elijah Wood formed a bond with the country during his shoots of Lord of the Rings. As the actress recalled.
"We met through Peter Jackson (director) actually, around a decade or so ago. Funny story, we met at a King Kong ride, right before it opened. Peter invited us to come with friends and ride it. Heavenly Creatures was, gosh, released more than 20 years ago. Elijah of course did Lord of the Rings. So the stars just aligned and we happened to meet before we ever stepped foot on set for this. We ended up developing this very unique chemistry on-set."
Having gone down the independent route where female actors have greater opportunity for roles that don't fit the mainstream billing, does Lynskey see that as a positive, or does the industry need to change their culture?
"It is kind of difficult for me to answer because I don’t really work within the studio system," she admitted. "It is difficult, there are a lot of great actresses that are not getting the work they deserve to be getting. But for me doing independent movies, I’m very excited by the scripts I read. I feel really fortunate that the last couple of years I haven’t taken a break (laughs). I keep reading stuff that I love, so it’s an amazing position to be in."
I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore is now available to stream for Netflix subscribers.