Amy Adams is the kind of actress your mum describes as "adorable" and "sweet." Over the past decade, she's starred in hits like Enchanted, Sunshine Cleaning, Julie & Julia, Man of Steel and Justice League, all in which she portrayed docile, yet determined and strong, characters. In fact, many of her roles could be described as "palatable" and "uncontroversial," save for, perhaps, her portrayal of a con artist in American Hustle.
But Adams is tossing out her good girl persona for her latest role in Sharp Objects, an eight-episode limited HBO series based off of Gillian Flynn's debut novel by the same name. In the series, Adams plays Camille Preaker, a reporter with a history of self-mutilation and addiction who is sent back to her hometown to cover the brutal murder of a local teenager following a short stay at a psychiatric hospital. While there, she'll have to face her demons and her estranged family to uncover the dark truth.
"There's something freeing about playing somebody who's a mess," Adams told Marie Claire magazine. "But the depth of pain that she's constantly in is tricky. I felt like I had to not back away from it because so many people have a personal experience with this book."
Director Jean-Marc Vallée told Marie Claire that, despite the complex nature of the character, Adams treated her with respect.
"Camille has so much pain and shame, pouring liquor all the time over her demons; she carries all these scars," he said, referencing the character's history of cutting. "Amy didn't judge her. She approached her with humility, humanity."
But diving into the depths of someone else's personal pain and darkness wasn't an easy feat for Adams, who said it was initially hard for her to become someone so antagonistic and layered. After all, Preaker goes against what we've come to expect of a strong female lead; someone who has her life together and faces adversity with poise and grace.
"There's just so much truth in the darkness and the sadness, and I'm willing to explore it now in a different way," she said. "Before, I thought people wouldn't like me or they would think I was crazy. Now, I know I can navigate my own personal darkness and it won't consume me."
Hey, Hollywood. We'd like more of that kind of emotional realness and authenticity, please.
Watch the trailer for Sharp Objects below and tune in for the premiere in the UK on Sky Atlantic on 8th July.