Welcome to miss-winstead.com, your ultimate resource for actress/singer Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Known for her roles in Final Destination 3, Live Free or Die Hard, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, and 2012's indie 'Smashed'. She is also the lead singer of Got A Girl, a band she formed with Dan the Automator. Please enjoy your visit about this wonderfully talented actress.
Collider sat down with Mary during her Sundance Film Festival press day junket and during the interview, Mary talked about all her upcoming films including Smashed, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and her small role in A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan.
She also said that she’s looking to find more projects like Smashed that’ll allow her to grow as an actor. Check out the full interview below:
James Ponsoldt’s look at alcoholism featured an absolutely fantastic performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a school teacher whose fun-loving alcohol-fueled life style with her husband (Aaron Paul from “Breaking Bad”) leads to her guiltily joining AA. There’s lots of drama but it’s also a movie with lots of humor especially in some of the things Winstead gets into while drunk, and Ponsoldt’s ability to mix humor and drama is rounded out by great supporting roles by Megan Mullaly, Octavia Spencer and especially Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson from “Parks and Recreation”) who is fantastic in a role that mixes the two. We’re shocked this hasn’t been picked up for distribution yet because it has a cool indie tone that could appeal to a wider audience similar to last year’s 50/50.
And here’s FirstShowing‘s top 5 favorite, the first one for Smashed coming in at #2 from Alex Billington and the second from another writer on the same site:
#2 – Smashed – The top performance of the Sundance 2012 in my opinion – Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Smashed. She is absolutely amazing in this, one of her greatest performances ever, I truly mean it. This film balances comedy/drama perfectly and addresses alcoholism in an intelligent, brave, even entertaining, way. I love this film for everything it stands for, on top of the performances and the filmmaking, and I’m excited for it to get released. Everyone involved should be very proud of what they’ve made.
Ethan’s Top 5 Favorite Films: #5 – Smashed – Many films chronicle the ugliness of alcoholism and the triumph of sobriety, but rarely does one focus on the consequences of both in such a practical way. It’s Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s performance, a great supporting cast and a real and honest script from a former alcoholic that made this one of my favorite films of the festival.
Last night at the Sundance Awards Ceremony, Smashedtook home the award for U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Independent Film Producing–Andrea Sperling and Jonathan Schwartz for Smashed and Nobody Walks
And of course, Mary tweeted how happy she was for the win:
Yes!!!! RT @EliseSalomon: Special Jury Prize!!!! US Dramatic Competition!!!! SMASHED WON!!!!!
Congrats to Smashed. This is no doubt just the first of many awards!
Also, I’ve added some new pics of Mary attending the Bevy Dinner from about a week ago which you can check out in the gallery:
And here’s a super short video of Mary at Sundance signing autographs:
Way to blow everyone out of the water with your acting talent, Mary! It doesn’t come as a surprise that Mary’s always been a talented actress, but it’s taken the indie film Smashed to show critics what’s up. The latest review for Smashed comes from FirstShowing, where they call call Mary’s performance “astounding”:
Keeping the film from venturing into cheesy drama is a finely tuned script from Ponsoldt and screenwriter Susan Burke, who actually struggled with alcoholism on her own. While most films that deal with alcoholic characters only deal with the monstrous, ugliness of the disease, Smashed dabbles with the struggles, benefits and sometimes difficult consequences of becoming sober as well. Simply doing away with alcohol isn’t a path to sunshine, rainbows and a care-free life. In fact, it only makes your problems more apparent and hard to deal with, and Burke and Ponsoldt have accurately brought those elements to light with this story. The film isn’t always dark and dramatic as there’s some great laughs to be had from certain drunken behavior, but it never celebrates it.
However, the words on the page wouldn’t be so agonizing in their portrayal if it wasn’t for a phenomenal breakthrough performance by Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kate Hannah. This is easily the most challenging role in her career up to this point, but the actress’ dramatic chops are nothing short of astounding. Winstead is one of the most charming drunks to grace the big screen since Dudley Moore in Arthur, and it’s her bewitching, fun-loving personality that makes her fall from grace that much more afflicting. The difference between Kate while absolutely wasted and sober is honest and real, a refreshing departure from the overacting that usually comes with these kind of portrayals. On a dime Winstead turns from a jovial drinker to a sad and angry drunk, and it’s just mesmerizing and heartbreaking.
Smashed is not just another sappy tale of alcoholism and a broken family. The film is a story about redemption, but without the cut and dry contrast of the drunk life versus the sober life. Winstead has an almost monologue about her life, the affect sobering up can have on a person’s life without only positive outcomes, and the image of Alcoholics Anonymous that encapsulates what makes this film one of the best presentations of alcoholism captured on film. Ponsoldt and Winstead should both get pretty busy once this film gets a bigger audience because both talents have achieved something special with Smashed.
Read the full review at the link provided above. So happy for you, Mary!
MTV caught up with Mary Elizabeth Winstead at Sundance and asked her about Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. She says,
“I’m kind of on the sidelines, but I’m very suspicious of my husband’s [actions] and what’s going on in his life,” she said. “I know that he’s hiding something from me. You sort of see me piecing things together.”
Also, here’s an excerpt of a new interview Mary did with Connect2Utah about Smashed. Be sure to read the full interview by clicking on the link provided:
Your character, Kate Hannah, is a little different from the sort of roles that you’ve had in the past. For one thing, there aren’t any monsters or CGI in this movie. Was that something that attracted you to the project?
Winstead: Yes, definitely. I was really burnt out on studio films. I just didn’t see how I was going to continue to be a better actor doing the kind of stuff I was doing. I was so grateful to have the jobs and to be there and be a part of it, but I wasn’t feeling challenged anymore. I got to a place where I was kind of stalled.
Winstead explains that over the years she has wanted to do something smaller and independent of the major studios but has been told time and again that she wasn’t a “big enough name” to get an independent film financed. Undaunted she simply continued making studio films until she could become a “name” or whatever it was she had to do.
Winstead: I woke up one day and thought, “I might never be a name.” Was I going to allow that to force me to never do what I really want to do? It didn’t make any sense to me.
Having established yourself as a “genre film actress” are you worried about what your fan base might think of the change of direction?
Winstead: I think Smashed has a lot of appeal. I think it is entertaining and funny, but it’s also sad. It really feels like something that a lot of people can relate to. It’s not just some exclusive art film. I hope that they will get into it, but at the same time the reason I did the film was to try and make myself a better actor. So anything that comes from it beyond that is icing.
Vanity Fair caught up with Mary & Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul where the two talked about the film Smashed.
Also, Vogue called Mary one of the women on the verge after her performance in Smashed:
Mary Elizabeth Winstead shines as an alcoholic grade-school teacher who’s locked in a life of excessive drinking with her slacker husband, played by Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul. Realizing she’s totally out of control, she decides to stop drinking, but the problem is that stopping drinking doesn’t end all her other problems. In fact, it actually causes some, as her sobriety annoys her hard-drinking mom (Mary Kay Place) and starts eating away at her marriage to a man who doesn’t want to stop drinking. All of this is rather familiar, but director James Ponsoldt (who cowrote the movie with Susan Burke) has a nice, sensible touch. The movie is bracingly funny, and Winstead, who’s had smaller roles in movies like Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, takes this chance to play the lead and runs with it. She nails both her character’s run-amok irresponsibility and the ruefulness that comes with it. I won’t be surprised to see her win an acting prize here and look forward to seeing her again.
So glad that with each Sundance screening, it’s been undeniable that Mary’s performance in Smashed is amazing and critics seem to agree. I’ve been posting numerous reviews from people who’ve seen the film, and they all seem to enjoy the film. Here’s the latest review, first one coming from Cinema Blend:
It wouldn’t be Sundance without a harrowing drama about addiction, and as far as those kinds of movies go, Smashed has the goods. The primary appeal is the lead performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the beauty known for intriguing roles in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and The Thing, who plays a woman spiraling into alcoholism who finally realizes she needs help. She and her husband (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul) have spent years drinking way too much and having plenty of fun together, but one particularly brutal hangover at work one morning puts the gears in motion for Winstead’s Kate to finally make a change.
Thankfully Smashed doesn’t wallow too long in the “rock bottom” part of the story, allowing us to watch Kate indulging in some truly bad behaviors– smoking crack and spending a night on the street being the worst– but focusing the story around her efforts to recover, particularly AA meetings and new friendships with other recovering alcoholics played by Nick Offerman and Octavia Spencer. The biggest heartbreak of the film comes from the way her staying sober begins to break apart her marriage; Paul and Winstead make it obvious why these two love each other, but also why a sober wife and a drunk husband can’t find common ground.
Smashed, which doesn’t yet have distribution but surely will soon, will be sold based on Winstead’s performance, and though it verges into some histrionics from time to time, Winstead commits full-throttle, and shines even in the smaller moments, especially when put together with Paul. Though the film’s story could have been a little cleaner and more authentic, the details are all correct, and it’s always good to see talented actors stretch a little, especially given Nick Offerman’s recent fame as the utterly different Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation. With a little more humor than your average addiction drama, and a willingness to have hope for its characters, Smashed has real emotional weight without putting you through the wringer– not a small bonus at this point in a long, long film festival.
Joblo also reviews the film, but since it’s pretty lengthy, I’ll only post a bit of it but click on the link to read it in full:
Lots of new interviews being released today. First up, here’s a quick one from day 3 of Sundance at the red carpet premiere for Smashed. Head to the 2:35 mark to see Mary talking a little bit about the film:
Secondly, The Wrap also caught up with Mary and her Smashed co-star Aaron Paul, where the two talked about what it was like working on the film together:
And finally, The Playlist caught up with Mary to talk about Smashed and her small role in A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan. Be sure to read the full interview by clicking on the Playlist link above. Below are some highlights:
How did you get your head space to align with the character?
Well, I collaborated with James [Ponsoldt, the director] a lot. He was fantastic, and really wanted to help me figure it out. I’m used to figuring out things on my own, so it was nice. We had a couple of weeks leading up to the shoot, got together every day and we just talked about the character and about my life. We found through hours and hours of talking all of the ways that my life and Kate’s life match up, even though on the surface they seem nothing alike. Bringing as much of myself to her as I could, and the fact that James really wanted, that was really exciting for me. He really wanted for me to bring my problems and my faults and all of the things that were good about me and everything to it.
One of the big things I find fascinating about the role is the dynamic with your character and your AA sponsor and your fellow teacher, Nick Offerman’s character. How did you research that kind of thing? How did you get into the AA circle?
I was really lucky that the film was co-written by someone who is a recovering alcoholic and is in AA, also one of our producers is as well. So I was really welcomed into that world. I went to AA meetings with them, and saw lots of different kinds of meetings, and heard lots of different kinds of stories. It’s something that if I hadn’t gone with them, I don’t know if I would have gone, because I would have felt like a fraud coming in and listening in on these people’s really personal stories. They assured me that it was fine, and I was welcome there. There’s a lot of young women in the meetings that I went to, and some that I totally related to and were talking about things that were totally similar to things in my life, and you kind of realize how an alcoholic is not so far different then yourself. That’s what we wanted to do in the film, make it relatable.
You’re working with Roman Coppola on his new film?
I did, yes, a few months ago.
He’s only made one feature [2001’s “CQ”] and it’s a knockout, but what’s the movie like? How would you describe it?
I spent a few days on it, it’s such a tiny part, but it’s such a great group of people that I would have done anything on this film. He’s really close to Jason Schwartzman, who’s a friend of mine, and Aubrey Plaza, and we all kind of just did it because we’re friends and we wanted to work together. So I can’t say that I know a lot about how the film’s going to turn out, because I didn’t see a lot of it, but it’s a crazy imaginative script. It kind of felt like being on a movie set in the ’70s, it had that vibe. He kind of keeps things really fun and exciting. People dressed up in different costumes on the beach, and things that felt really surreal and fun, and I’m excited to see how it turns out.
Did you work with Charlie Sheen in that movie?
A little. My part is very small. I have a small exchange with Charlie. But most of my stuff was with Kathryn Winnick. He was great, though, totally what I would imagine him to be like throughout his career. Just like a really cool, suave, confident guy. And he was really fun to work with and really professional.