The Hollywood Reporter recently interviewed Alexander Skarsgard discussing his role on Big Little Lies. Spoilers ahead in the interview excerpt below:
All was revealed in the Big Little Lies finale.
The HBO drama from writer David E. Kelley and director Jean-Marc Vallee came to a finish Sunday and finally explained who died and how.
After it was first revealed that one of Celeste’s twin boys had actually hit Renata’s (Laura Dern) daughter Amabella, Celeste (Nicole Kidman) finally appeared ready to leave her abusive husband Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) for good. Unfortunately, right before the big school fundraiser, Perry was stunned when he accidentally found out about her other apartment.
The show explores the real-life issue and severity of domestic abuse, violence and rape. Your character, Perry, is the abuser in these cases. Going into the role, what was your thought process on how to tackle these stories and portray this character?
I thought it was such a rich script and the tone felt very unique. It felt like such an emotional roller coaster that I thought was brilliantly written. In terms of the character, I saw it as an opportunity to play an abusive husband who wasn’t this stereotypical abusive husband. It was such a well fleshed out relationship, and the dynamic between Perry and Celeste was fascinating to me. I saw it as an opportunity to find a character where you see him struggle with his demons as opposed to being the traditional wife-beater.
What makes him not the stereotypical abusive husband?
She fell in love with this innocent kid that he’s got within him. In a way, he is like his sons. He’s a very social, outgoing guy and loves to have fun. In those moments, those demons are hidden far within him and then they come out. You do see that he’s struggling with it. He can’t control it. They just take over and consume him. What I thought was interesting about their relationship is it ties in with their sexuality as well, and that makes it more difficult to leave him. She blames herself and says, “I’m an accomplice. I’m part of this.” When we have sex, it is very violent and I love that, but then she [thinks] “Maybe I push him too far.” Which she doesn’t, but she blames herself for it and feels that, deep down, he’s a good guy and a great dad and loves her and [she] can fix him and that he just has to deal with those demons. But he can’t. That’s what’s killing him inside. He can’t control it.
The abuse scenes are very violent. How difficult were those for you to shoot?
They were really tough to shoot. Jean-Marc works in a way where it’s more like shooting a play than shooting a movie. It’s not traditional filmmaking in the sense where you have the master and two-shot and then you move in for coverage. There are no tape marks on the floor. It’s all existing lights and a handheld camera that roams around which is a great opportunity as an actor to explore this space and play around and find new things. One take can be very different from the previous. That really helped those scenes.
Nicole and I got to know each other really well before we started the project and spent time together and worked on our relationship. We just got to know each other. We both felt it was very important that when we step into that room and shoot those scenes, you have to get to a place of 100 percent trust. The scenes were emotionally and physically so draining. They’re incredibly hard to shoot. It was more about getting to know each other and spending time together and working on that trust. And talking about their relationship and figuring out the nice part about these characters and how they connect and why they fell in love, what’s holding them together. We wanted to find that. We played the whole scene from beginning to end. We weren’t restricted by any tape marks on the floor or any technical issues. It was very primal in a way and some of the toughest scenes I’ve ever had to shoot. It was completely emotionally draining.
For the full interview please visit The Hollywood Reporter link here: