Maggie Gyllenhaal shares her thoughts on the making of The Kindergarten Teacher and working with a child actor. See some of our favourite moments below!
Taking a new approach to the craft
I'm now toying with [...] opening my mind and my heart to ideas in the piece and seeing what ends up bubbling up.
Gyllenhaal discusses in detail the evolution of her process upon settling on a new role. While she used to focus more on putting in the hard work to break down the role in an almost academic manner, she says she's adding a new element to her routine. Instead of focusing only on motivation and obstacles, she's trying to be more vulnerable as well.
Getting to the meat of the issue
An important question for Gyllenhaal when preparing for this film was, "What's the cost?" When considering the place that her character was coming from, she stumbled upon important themes The Kindergarten Teacher manages to explore:
There's a cost and a consequence to having twisted myself into pretzels and bent over backwards to fit myself into the cultures that we live in as a woman.
Working with children
I don't personally believe that a five-year-old is an actor.
The unique challenge of working with a child was not lost on Gyllenhaal or the crew for The Kindergarten Teacher, a large proportion of which were mothers themselves. As a result, Gyllenhaal says that they disguised the work that Parker Sevak ('Jimmy') undertook as play, telling him to run to a mark, look at an X on the wall, and sing his lines back at them.
Getting too close
The main character in The Kindergarten Teacher crosses a line when dealing with the young poet. However, Gyllenhaal says it would be too easy to make her entirely despicable. By playing her as relatable and warm, she made watching the action unfold a distinctly uncomfortable experience.
[At Sundance], they were laughing at her because they were allied with her, and then she disturbed them.