It was difficult, but not unfamiliar for Anna Kendrick to connect to her character in “Alice, Darling”.
Kendrick (“Pitch Perfect”, “A Simple Favor”) stars as the titular character in Mary Nighy’s directorial debut. The thriller tells the story of a young woman trapped in an abusive relationship who becomes the unwitting participant in an intervention staged by her two closest friends.
“I was coming out of a personal experience with emotional abuse and psychological abuse,” Kendrick told People. “I think my rep sent it to me because he knew what I’d been dealing with and sent it along. Because he was like, ‘This sort of speaks to everything that you’ve been talking to me about.’”
“It felt really distinct in that I had, frankly, seen a lot of movies about abusive or toxic relationships, and it didn’t really look like what was happening to me. It kind of helped me normalize and minimize what was happening to me, because I thought, Well, if I was in an abusive relationship, it would look like that.“
Kendrick pinpointed the fundamental challenge of the relationship as one of trust.
“I was in a situation where I loved and trusted this person more than I trusted myself,” Kendrick said. “So when that person is telling you that you have a distorted sense of reality and that you are impossible and that all the stuff that you think is going on is not going on, your life gets really confusing really quickly.
“And I was in a situation where, at the end, I had the unique experience of finding out that everything I thought was going on was in fact going on. So I had this kind of springboard for feeling and recovery that a lot of people don’t get.”
Kendrick carried the weight of that trauma into the production. Fortunately, the experience was therapeutic.
“My body still believes that it was my fault,” Kendrick said. “So even with this concrete jumping-off point for me, to walk out of that relationship knowing that I wasn’t crazy, it’s incredible the way that recovery has been so challenging.
“But like so many things in life, I think the piece that was most therapeutic was actually building relationships with these collaborators and sharing our personal histories with each other, and then creating this thing together.”
“Alice, Darling” premieres at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Sept. 11.