Brie Larson, who is known for her comedic roles, caught everyone’s attention with her dramatic performance in 2012’s Short Term 12. Some would say she was robbed of an Oscar nomination, other’s would say she was definitely robbed of an Oscar nomination. It’ll be hard to overlook Brie this year after her performance in A24 Film’s newest masterpiece, Room – based on the 2010 novel by Emma Donoghue. I spoke with Brie about her role as Ma in Room, how she prepared, and if all the awards talk is making her nervous.
I was excited to talk to you since you’re in some of my favorite movies.
Brie Larson: Really?
I love Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Short Term 12, 21 Jump Street, and The Spectacular Now.
BL: That’s awesome.
And now you’re in the new movie Room. Were you familiar with the book before you started filming?
BL: Yes, I read the book a year before it became a screenplay.
Were you nervous trying to figure out how to play the role of Ma?
BL: I had to audition so I knew that would be the real test. If I auditioned and got the job, and it felt right, I knew that I was the right person to play the role.
Is that how you approach most of the roles you take?
BL: In some ways. There are always projects that are offered to you and they don’t feel right. If it’s a role I’m pursing, there’s something behind it. There is a question I’m trying to answer or an inspiration, and that’s enough.
One of the things I loved about your performance is there’s so much about Ma that’s not seen, but you’re able to project what’s she’s been through.
BL: It takes a lot of time to build a person and Ma is an interesting one. There is a ton of back story that you need to feel. I had about seven months to create her and create where she came from and what her life was like before she was in room. I also had to delve into the affects of living in room for seven years – the lack of vitamin c, the lack of nutrition, the sexual abuse, having to grow up really fast and becoming a mom. I had to slowly take the time to learn about each of those pieces to create the whole of her.
During the second half of the film you learn that Ma, in some ways, is still a child.
BL: And that was one of the important aspects I wanted to see. Although we’ve become accustomed to her being Ma, she was a person before that. You see glimmers of that seventeen your old person she was before she got to room. It’s very similar to the feeling of coming back home to your parent’s house for the holidays. It feels claustrophobic. That dynamic reverts back to where you were when you lived at home with them.
There are a ton of great scenes in Room, do you have a favorite?
BL: I really enjoyed all the shooting in room. I really loved that location. They spent so much time building it and filing it. So much love in care went into that space.
My favorite scene is Ma using Alice in Wonderland to explain to Jack what happened. Jack is played by a young actor named Jacob Tremblay.
BL: He’s the best. I loved working with him and spending every second of my day with him.
Does all the awards talk surrounding your performance make you nervous?
BL: No. It’s just a byproduct. The part that makes me nervous is the making of the movie and telling the story correctly. The fact that people are connecting with it so deeply is the real win. If any trophies happen afterwards, that’s just the cherry on top. I still have a whole ice cream sundae.
Room opens in Seattle on October 30th.