Amy Adams is moving up the Hollywood power ladder — she is listed as executive producer on her upcoming HBO show Sharp Objects. But she's still struggling with asserting herself as an authority figure. On the set of Sharp Objects, Adams had to be both an actress and a producer, and it was difficult to make her position clear.
"It’s just an intense experience," she told the Times' Manohla Dargis in an interview for T Magazine's upcoming "Greats" issue. "And especially when you’re working every day of production, all day every day, in a dark character, and then trying to manage the other stuff — for me it was challenging."
She illustrated the issue with an anecdote: One day, she was filming a particularly rough scene in which she had to fake vomit. As she was vomiting, a man crew member repeatedly reminded her where a prop was. Overwhelmed, Adams snapped, "I've got it!" Dargis writes that this wasn't just an exasperated woman lashing out at a co-worker — Adams used this story to illustrate how she learned to stand for herself on set. She knew where the prop was; by giving constant reminders, the crew member demonstrated a lack of trust in Adams as an actress and producer.
"I feel partially responsible for the tone that’s on set," she told Dargis about the incident. "I’m sorry for how he felt, but I knew why I was doing that."
And thus, fake vomit taught Amy Adams how to find her voice.
An undisputed force behind the camera, Adams has always been a reticent celebrity. When it comes to issues like equal pay and representation, she's been rather quiet. And she has good reason for this: She told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016 that actresses shouldn't have to field questions about pay. After all, it's not really their decision.
"Who you should be asking is the Producer Roundtable: 'Do you think minorities are underrepresented? Do you think women are underpaid?'" she pointed out. "We are always put on the chopping block to put our opinion out there... I'm like, 'Why don't you ask them and then have their statements be the headlines in the press?' I don't want to be a headline anymore about pay equality."
So, don't ask Amy Adams about the pay gap, and don't remind her incessantly about a nearby prop, especially when there's fake vomit involved.
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