Anecdote of the day

With Frances McDormand




In front of a packed house at the UGC Confluence Sunday evening, actress Frances McDormand confided in the audience about her collaboration with filmmaker Martin McDonagh on "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," a performance that earned her (another) Oscar for Best Actress in 2018.


Actuzen Mcdormand Copyright Institut Lumière / Olivier Lebrat


“Martin McDonagh started out as a playwright; he's a genius, as are the Coen brothers. When his play "The Pillowman" came out on Broadway, I went to see him to tell him that I’d loved it. He told me ‘You should star in one of my plays!’ I told him ‘I'm doing movies, you should write a role for me!’ It was utterly impolite on my part, but I couldn’t help it! Eleven years later, I get a script from Martin, it was ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.’ I told him that I was turning down the role because I was too old to play Mildred Hayes. It must be said that I come from a small town, a working-class environment and I certainly had preconceived notions about this character; I thought that this 57-year-old woman couldn’t have an 18-year-old daughter. I'm not ashamed of my age, I feel good about myself, but I thought it made more sense that I play Mildred as a grandmother and not as a mother. Martin told me that it wouldn’t be effective because he thought the character as a mother of this murdered girl would fight more. And then ‘mon mari’ (oui, in French), Joel Coen, said to me, ‘Shut up and accept the role.’ I don’t always listen to him, but because he is very good at his job, and because we started working together when we were very young, I trust him when it comes to dramaturgy. So, I accepted the role. And from the beginning, I trusted Martin as well. I can say that I sometimes annoyed him, but he was up to it! "


Laura Lépine

Categories: Lecture Zen