Australian-born actress/singer Clare Bowen is best known for her sudden rise to stardom as Scarlett O’Connor on television’s Nashville with Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere. Now, in Dead Man’s Burden, Ms. Bowen plays a different sort of young woman: one with a long-range hunting rifle. Bowen’s lead character, Martha Kirkland, is a badass in a smokin’ new western. Rotten Tomatoes got the opportunity to chat with Clare, and we wanted to hear more about Martha (Dead Man’s Burden) and Scarlett (Nashville), and what it’s like to film in the desert. Here’s what Clare had to say:
RT: You’re making quite a name for yourself now, and it’s exciting you have an indie movie coming out, called Dead Man’s Burden. I saw it, and it’s amazing to me how different your role is from one to the other, because in Nashville, it’s such a sweet, sweet role, but in Dead Man’s Burden, you’re a badass. What was it like preparing for that kind of role? How was it different?
Clare Bowen: Nashville’s like the biggest thing I’ve ever done. It’s all about empathy, I think, having empathy for your character and what they’re going through. I don’t know how you’re supposed to understand, when you haven’t lost your entire family, to try and put yourself in the shoes of somebody who has, somebody who’s trying to survive. So I just equate it to a wild creature trying to survive, and everything that she was doing was for survival, whether it was right or wrong or horrible or sweet.
Going out into the desert with everyone, that was really special, because the environment is a kind of character, and so it absolutely is. It’s a beautiful, beautiful place, but it can turn harsh very, very quickly and it can just kill you in an instant. I think that was something that really helped. I don’t really know much about my own process; it just kind of happens. I just go do it. Which probably sounds really unintelligent, but I’m actually a very simple creature. [laughs]
Some people work in a way of writing everything down and I do that a lot now, you know, working through a really set method that somebody else has created, but I think I’ve taken lines from a lot of places. It appears to be… it’s just the way I work, and I’ve tried different stuff for a long time. But for me, it’s just whatever comes out of me.
RT: Yeah, a lot of the greats say things like, “I don’t know. I go on set and I say the lines,” and it comes out amazing.
CB: It’s just about listening to the other person, which means talking to them, communicating. If you don’t have anybody there, be with yourself and be with that character and try to own it. How would you feel if everybody around you was dying? You need to try and get there, and different people have different ways of doing it.
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