New Taylor Schilling interview with Decider
Take Me is funny and weird and will keep you guessing at every single movement the leads make. Healy is creepy and brilliant as Ray, and as Anna, well, Schilling has never been better. We all know she’s fantastic in Orange Is The New Black, and I’m quite the self-proclaimed fan of The Lucky One, but her work here is just on another level. When I sat down with the duo to discuss the film, which is executive produced by the Duplass Brothers, Schilling explained why this is such a good role for a female right now.
“I love this woman. It kind of strips masculinity and femininity away from gender roles, which it is already, but it takes that idea and says ‘She’s the one with a goal and is going at it and can play the game really, really well.’ I had so much fun making this movie, it was sick. It was just absurd. I just was like, high as a kite. I was a crazy person.”
So how did Schilling go about researching this intelligent, powerful woman who may or may not have requested her own kidnapping? “For me what was interesting was S&M. People go have these needs filled sexually, but she sort of needs it emotionally. But it’s this same concept of needing to be dominate or be dominated, and what that satisfies internally. So that kind of was a template for me, but it was even more interesting because it wasn’t about harnesses and pleather. It was a little more subtle and heartbreaking to me because I imagined her as an addict. Somebody who’s not able to connect with other humans or anybody, anything. It’s not like she can connect with a dog either, who can’t really connect and feels incredibly alone and then these spurts of heightened experience, these experiences fill her in this way where she gets a hit and then she can go on for a couple more weeks until she gets her next hit. It was really someone who’s very damaged and she only could feel herself, her own inner life, her own self, when those specific boxes were checked. When she was being dominated and then when she was being dominant. It was so weird to me. It was just very exciting and complicated. I think it was more the soul and spirit that I can relate to and most other people can relate to, of feeling other and alone and lonely. We live in an incredibly addicted world so, this is her addiction. It so wild to be loving playing afraid. She’s a good actress. I also think that research came [for me] just by being an actress. She’s playing a part.”
That’s not to say Schilling didn’t get a taste of some S&M themes while shooting this movie. Her character spends quite a long time tied to a chair in a basement, and yes, it made her a bit claustrophobic — but she liked it. “It helped me. I had my feet bound the whole time, even when you weren’t seeing my feet. It did help. Even the physicality is a part of what she was getting off on. It’s interesting, the whole thing.”
Also interesting about the whole thing is how you really never know which character is telling the truth, which one is playing a role, or which one just might be a bit confused about what’s going on. It turns out Schilling was confused and a bit skeptical about the script. “When I was reading it for the first time, I was like, ‘What kind of misogynistic crap is this? Who needs to see a movie about a woman getting kidnapped and thrown into a basement? A powerful woman, no less. What are we doing? Punishing CEOs?’ But then I thought it was so cool.” As for how they were sure to keep viewers wondering, Healy explains, “I think that the balance, how it came together, happened more in post. It wasn’t just about, ‘Is it this or is it that?’ It just had to be a constant, ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen next.’ I will give Taylor a lot of credit for that, because what she does is pivots constantly and gives you so much to work with. There this scene in the bathtub where she’s sitting there. And it’s only one take that I used where she’s so sad and you feel so much for her and then she does something hilarious and then she’s yelling, genuinely scary. Because of what she does, you’re sort of like my character. You don’t know where you’re being lead and I think that’s the main reason why it worked so well.”
There’s a lot to be said for the on-screen chemistry these two actors share though, which works out well for the film considering the majority of it is dedicated to their interactions. “I was very focused on this character and I think that it kind of hung out with me the whole time,” Schilling said. “I don’t know if a part of that was also that [Healy] was directing, but more so than many things I’ve done, it almost felt like doing a piece of theater to me. I’ve never worked with somebody who was acting and directing. It’s a wild thing. It’s a lot of work.”
Don’t forget at the beginning of this road stood two of the industries smartest players, Mark and Jay Duplass. Schilling previously starred in another movie they produced, The Overnight, realizing, “I’ve made two very weird movies with them. I loved making that movie also.” But just as so many of us will watch a movie with their stamp of approval on it, actors will read a script when it comes from their hands, as Schilling did before signing on to this film. “In the shooting of it, my experience was that [the Duplass brothers] were very uninvolved in the best way. They allowed for a lot of freedom. They let their filmmakers play, just play like kids. Like good parents. Here’s a sandbox and go at it, go to town. I love that. For me, when Mark calls me and says that he has something, I really trust his aesthetic. I appreciate the singularity of his story telling. I know what I’m getting myself into, it’s so clear. I mean, he has such a clear aesthetic that when he calls and says, ‘I like somebody’ I know what that means and I’m usually willing to go on that ride because it doesn’t feel as scary as just hopping in with a new director.”
And finally, what everyone will be wondering after viewing this movie that will have you in equal parts laughing, worried, and puzzled: who would they want to kidnap — of course with the “victim” being fully willing?
There was admirably less hesitation on Schilling’s part, as she offered, “I’d like to kidnap several people. One of the people I’d like to kidnap would be William Blake. I know, very highbrow of me. But I do feel like with all of his vision and mystical understandings of things, he could help me out. He might be able to give me some pointers. Same vein, different track: I’d like to kidnap Oprah. I feel like she’d be helpful. I would like to kidnap Barack Obama. For sure. But it could be a two for one deal; both him and Michelle.” And finally she asked, “Do you know who Amanda Palmer is, the musician? She would be really fun. Maybe if you publish it, she’ll actually become friends with me.” Girl, after she watches Take Me, she’ll be texting you right away.
Read the fulll interview at Decider