Juliette Lewis embraces improvisation in I know this much is true

Improvisation may be the element that best describes Juliette Lewis’ work in the new HBO series I know this much is true. In the production, where she shares credits with Mark Ruffalo, the actress says she has had a new film experience working with director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), with whom she explored her character, Nedra Frank, through emotions and performances not marked in the script.

“Especially when an argument happens between Nedra and Dominick – one of Mark Ruffalo’s characters – that gets out of hand. Derek would come in and say, ‘yeah, push it’ or ‘make it more volatile.’ We did this for her to argue and yell all the way back to your car.

Some were proposals that the director made to encourage the actors to get to know their characters as much as possible. But there were other experiences that were more of a fluke, he says: “Like a magical mistake. She thinks she’s locked in the bathroom and yells ‘you locked me out!’ But that was an accident. I couldn’t get out because the door got stuck. So there are all kinds of magical beats like that in the story.”

Improvising is not something new in Juliette Lewis’s career, because during her work on Natural Killers, where she shared credits with Woody Harrelson and was directed by Oliver Stone, the actress had a very similar experience.

“The industry moves, it changes a lot and I really grew up in this field with authors: Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese, Lasse Hallström, Kathryn Bigelow. All of these people have such a lively and exciting creative process that allows for discovery,” he says. .

With three decades of experience and almost a hundred projects on television and film, Juliette Lewis acknowledges that Derek Cianfrance’s direction led her to rethink her acting work.

“Derek is unique, funny. I told him, ‘Oh my God, you’re taking my conditioning away!’ I’m going back to my roots.’ Working with him and Mark was so radical that I left this experience rejuvenated and energized by the work I do.”

I know this much is true is based on the homonymous book written by Wally Lamb in 1998. The family drama set in the middle of the last century revolves around Dominick Birdsey, who narrates the complicated relationship with his twin Thomas – both played by Mark Ruffalo–, who suffers from schizophrenia and is sent to a sanatorium after a crisis caused by the death of his mother, so Dominik will try to get him out of there at any cost.

In the story, Lewis plays Nedra Frank, a student who is hired by Dominik to translate from Italian to Spanish a book that his grandfather wrote long ago and in which the family’s past is explained. “She’s like a little cyclone that comes into Dominick’s orbit and the way she serves the story is really interesting because we learn about the twins’ grandfather through her and this manuscript, but we also learn through what it doesn’t say about the grandfather,” he explains.

To lend credibility to her role, the Oscar nominee teamed up with the director to integrate all of the professional elements of the character into the story.

“We shot on the grounds of an actual campus, we fed the energy and the space of the story.”

Juliette Lewis sees bringing a character to life as a metaphysical thing, “It’s about finding the heart and soul of this person. Nedra is very closed off. On the surface, she tries to present herself as this very important professional woman, and internally she’s blowing up.” with their neuroses,” he concludes.

“The industry moves, changes a lot and I was trained in this field with the authors”

The series is broadcast on Sundays at 10:00 p.m. on HBO and on the HBO GO platform you can find the six complete chapters.

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Juliette Lewis embraces improvisation in I know this much is true

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