Florence Pugh stars in two of this year’s biggest films in Oppenheimer and Dune: Part Two, but she’ll first appear in raw indie drama A Good Person, which hits theaters next week.
In the Sky Original film, written and directed by Zach Braff, Pugh plays Allison whose life falls apart when she is involved in a car accident that kills her future sister-in-law, causing Allison to develop an opioid addiction.
During her recovery, Allison forms an unlikely friendship with her would-be father-in-law, Daniel (Morgan Freeman), that could ultimately allow the two to put their lives back together.
A Good Person saw Pugh work as a producer for the first time and also led to her writing and performing two original songs for the film, adding even more strings to her already impressive arc.
Before the theatrical release of A Good Person Digital Spy caught up with Florence Pugh to discuss working with Zach Braff on the film’s development, dealing with emotionally dark roles, and finding the ideal balance in her career.
Zach talked about how he wrote this for you. Has that changed your approach to reading the script?
Florence Pugh: When he wrote it we lived in LA and COVID had just happened and the whole world had changed and he stopped procrastinating and tried to do something every day so there was meaning when everyone was just figuring things out.
I wasn’t allowed to read it, and when I finally read it, I didn’t change my mind. I mean obviously he wrote for me so my voice was on every single page and even if there were places where it needed to be filled in – like any script, you know, it needs an actor to step into the role – it just meant this whole corner had been cut.
Even when I couldn’t read the script, he would come back and tell me about this thing that he had just discovered and this scene that he had just figured out, so I felt like it actually meant my approach to the script that I could be free and honest much sooner than I might have done.
Part of that was that you were a producer on the film for the first time. Is this an experience you’d like to do more often in the future because it will get you more involved in those early days of production?
Aside from being more involved, you can also just be part of the making. For me, that’s the most exciting thing. You can shape it from the start.
It’s not about having more control, it’s more about having ideas and I love sharing ideas and I love seeing them help or bear fruit. You’re part of the creative process from the start, which is so exciting.
In the film itself you also perform two songs in it…
It was so important to us because I wrote these songs when I read the script. I wrote a song while reading the script just to process how that person might feel, how you would feel, what you would think about yourself.
Why is it so difficult for her to admit guilt? And all because she has a deep hatred of herself and a deep longing not to want to be there. I think it was just so important that these songs were a discovery for her. They were something she finally got to own up to while she was in rehab, so everything about them was so sweet and tender.
I was able to record her off character and not playing on a squeaky piano in a rehab center and without Alison, which was great too. So I feel like I could write them for her and then perform them as her and then perform them as me, which is rare.
It’s a challenging role, but you’re used to dark roles in your career. Is it hard to leave them behind after filming?
I’ve never had much trouble moving on from them, partly because I think most of the characters I play, despite being obscure, unique and in bizarre situations, never worried me about them.
I know this Katherine Lester [from Lady Macbeth] is good. She is fine. I know that obviously Saraya [from Fighting with My Family] is ok because she is a real person [laughs].
I found it very difficult to leave Dani from Midsommar, I felt very guilty which is very strange because I’ve never had that before. But it’s the same with Allison, I think they’ll be fine. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m not worried about her.
We can’t believe anyone can stop thinking about Dani from Midsommar…
After all, in an ideal world, do you mix these smaller indie films with your blockbuster work like Dune 2 in your career?
Yes, definitely. I think when I signed on for Marvel I was really sad that the indie film world was like, “Great, now she’s gone, she’s never coming back”. I was always a little pissed about it because I never saw myself as a one trick pony. I don’t want to do the same thing over and over again.
The reason I got into this industry was small indie films and I appreciated the craft and learned the craft from them and then I work with huge crews and huge directors and huge films that have been around for months.
They both have completely different crafts that do the same thing and try to affect at least one person. I love the difference between the two, so I always try to take my time and accommodate the little weirdos because they’re important.
A Good Person hits theaters on March 24th and can be seen on Sky Cinema from April 28th.
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