Kate Bosworth interview on "The Immaculate Room" | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, October 4th, 2023  

Kate Bosworth on Her Emotionally Taxing Role in “The Immaculate Room”

A Tightrope Act

Aug 19, 2022 Web Exclusive
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Even the timeliness of it all is a little unsettling.

The Immaculate Room is an unnerving new film starring Emile Hirsch and Kate Bosworth as a couple open to the challenge of staying in a single large white room—the titular space—for 50 days in exchange for $5 million. The social experiment feels eerily familiar to our own sheltered-in-place experiences so close in the rearview mirror—at least for those who’ve emerged during/after a global COVID-19 pandemic, but of course, The Immaculate Room is much more than that. It’s an intriguing psychological thriller, a taxing emotional acting exercise, and a serious directorial challenge for Mukunda Michael Dewil.

Despite the technical and emotional hurdles to making a 90-min film about two people unravelling in a small, enclosed space, The Immaculate Room was awarded Best Picture at both the London Independent Film Festival and the Mammoth Film Festival, at which it premiered. For Bosworth, the ability to watch it with an audience was a thrill she’d not had in quite some time, and the chance to celebrate such a daunting film was a big part of the “tightrope” act of it all.

We recently sat down with Bosworth to ask her all about her latest film, her chemistry with Hirsch, and the constraints of a lone empty room for a set.

Under the Radar (Matt Conner): I’d love to start with how you became attached to The Immaculate Room in the first place.

Kate Bosworth: I feel the script has been around for a little while and during the pandemic was a sweet spot for these smaller, contained movies to be made, I mean, just because of safety protocols, you couldn’t have 30 actors on a set. So to have 2-3 actors was ideal. I really felt like it was an interesting time to make this movie because, while it’s an extreme version of what many people went through in the pandemic, it’s still a couple being shut in one space. So it was an interesting life imitating art but in a cool psychological thriller way to it.

I knew Emile was doing it and I’d worked with him before. I love working with him and just knew he’d give such a brilliant performance in this. Selfishly I just wanted a front row seat to that as well.

This movie is a real make-or-break with who is involved. Mukunda is the perfect director for this movie. He has such a sensitive, artistic approach to his actors and his articulation overall. He’s very specific but he’s open to collaboration, so you hit a real sweet spot when you’re working with someone like that.

There were so many challenges here for all of you given the constraints of a single white room.

Mukunda had his cameras on wheels, so he could really use the space and get his cameras around with a lot of fluidity. So technically I think he really nailed it. I remember asking him early on, ‘How are you going to film a white room interestingly for 90 minutes?’ [Laughs] I was very fascinated by it. It’s almost like the thing that can surprise you and be the most challenging part but he’d really thought it through and had some Kubrick comparisons.

It was the type of thing that he and his DP had really thought out. I think it shows in the movie, because when you watch it, you’re not bored with the room, which is an incredible feat unto itself. I’ll tell you this, every day Emile and I walked into that room and said, “Ah, this fucking room again!’ [Laughs] It got old really quickly.

The chemistry with Emile and us being as comfortable as we are with each other. He’s like a brother to me. I know how to tease him or how to push his buttons. I’m not afraid to overstep boundaries. I have free reign, and for a movie like this, it was important to have that exist between the two characters.

Glad you brought up Emile, because I was curious about that chemistry having worked with him recently on Force of Nature. Would you have wanted to take on this role with an unknown lead opposite you?

I think I would have been a bit more nervous, maybe. You always have first-day jitters on every single project, no matter how long you’ve been doing this. It’s every single project. But just knowing Emile, he’s such an honest actor. I always tell him that he’s incapable of a false beat. So few truly live by that statement or who are that way, but he’s one of the very rare few.

I knew there would be something really interesting that came from this dynamic. If you overplayed these people too much or forced it or if it leaned too hard into the psychological element… I just knew that Emile and I would be very naturalistic with it. It’s the honesty between these two people. While this is an extreme circumstance and it’s mind-bending and very intense, what would really happen here? I think when you have that trust with someone, there’s a looseness that happens in the performance that makes it very pleasurable.

One of the things that surprised me, because it’s not on the page, is how funny Emile is in the movie. He really went for it. I know him as a person, so I know he’s so funny and unique. Everyone knows him as an incredible dramatic actor, but I like that this role afforded him the opportunity to really showcase these wonderfully weird sides of his capabilities.

That really balances out your character here.

Yeah, it’s a realistic additive to their dynamic, because she’s not comfortable to be weird and loose and kind of wild. One of the challenges for me was that I wanted to play. I’m pretty weird and playful myself, so I immediately wanted to frolic around and be crazy, but Mukunda was like, ‘No, Kate, what are you doing? You have to be rigid.’ I was like, ‘Aw, that’s a buzzkill,’ but he was right. I really had to maintain that level of structure that was needed for the dynamic and to show why so many of their problems arose from their differences as people.

You seem very cognizant of the specific challenges that this movie presented going in. So was there anything involved that caught you off guard?

The end. It was so brutal. I don’t want to give it away, but the emotional taxation. It all felt so raw. I just remember being so exhausted. I would say to Mukunda, ‘Oh my god, I don’t know how much more I have in me to do this, so we need to figure something out.’ I was just spent really quickly. To Mukunda’s credit, he knew exactly how he wanted to shoot it, so he walked me through it. It’s just really hard to keep that space there for that long.

Mukunda was really concerned. I’ve heard this from a few directors that they were concerned I wouldn’t be willing to really break down—not even so much emotionally but the way they look. But I was like, ‘No, I’m gonna be fucked up.’ Maybe they’ve had experiences with people who were super concerned about their looks, but I was like, ‘No, she’s gotta be unhinged.’

So I think there were elements of trust all around. You carry in your baggage from other experiences and you come in praying, ‘Please let this be a safe and exciting place to create.’ It should be as simple as that, but unfortunately some things aren’t as pleasurable so you figure out how to have armor. But for this, you couldn’t have any armor, so it’s just figuring out what kind of elements you’re going to work with on a movie. Part of the reason we could get such great results in the end was because all those elements were so solidly in place.

When the work demands this much of you, does that make you more proud of it?

It’s such a pleasurable experience to watch a movie you really love. It’s a pretty critical experience when you watch yourself. It’s so difficult to watch yourself without any kind of attachment. But this movie was truly pleasurable to watch.

Emile and Ashley [Greene Khoury] and Mukunda and myself all went to the Mammoth Film Festival to screen it. It was so wonderful to watch it with an audience. I hadn’t seen a movie with an audience in a while, since the pandemic, but it was such an incredible response. They were fully on the ride—holding their breath in the right places, gasping at the right moments, laughing really hard. So I think I felt really proud of the whole thing. It was an overall tightrope that we’re all pretty proud of.


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