From playing supermodel Gia Carangi’s (Angelina Jolie) lover in Gia to her role as Juliet Burke in TV’s “Lost,” Elizabeth Mitchell has shown her talent and range as a dramatic actress. For Mitchell, the drives and desires of characters have always held a strong pull and served as the driving forces behind her preferred cinematic landscape. It was this passion that drew her to the complexities of her newest film, Answers to Nothing, directed and co-written by Matthew Leutwyler. The film, set against the backdrop of a child abduction case in Los Angeles, uses intertwining characters arcs to explore the best and worst of its diverse range of characters. In it, Mitchell plays Kate, whose single-minded determination to conceive keeps her from addressing the infidelity of her husband—played by Dane Cook, who has left his comedic chops for the moment to tackle a more tragic role.
Mitchell took the time to chat with MovieMaker about her past roles, what sort of character she’s dying to play in the future and how Cook got her involved in Answers to Nothing—in a somewhat unexpected way…
Laurel Dammann (MM): How did you get involved in Answers to Nothing? Was there something specific about the story or the character of Kate that drew you to the film?
Elizabeth Mitchell (EM): Dane Cook drew me to the film, as I had an odd dream the week before that we would do a movie together. Never happened before. Then I fell in love with Kate’s single-minded obsession.
MM: You’ve played a wide range of characters throughout your film career, from drama to comedy. How do you find your place within each role?
EM: I usually try to figure out what the character wants more than anything and go from there. It’s truly fun for me.
MM: Answers to Nothing deals with some pretty dark themes, and your character in particular has to deal with the emotional trauma of her difficulty in getting pregnant and her husband’s infidelity. Do you find it hard to detach yourself emotionally from a character after you’re done shooting?
EM: The good guys are easier to live with than the evil ones, but they all slightly stick around. Sanity and family help.
MM: Of the characters you’ve played, which did you identify with the least? How did you confront these differences as an actress?
EM: Played a serial killer child molester [in Running Scared]. That was the worst. Hated it, made me sick. I had to just think of her as an addict and not let my mind wander from there.
MM: Is there film genre you haven’t worked in yet that you might like to tackle in the future? Or maybe a type of character you’d like to play?
EM: Comedy! I got to do a little in Nurse Betty, but I’d love to do more.
MM: Is there anything you’d like to add?
EM: I really liked making Answers To Nothing. It’s the kind of movie I love to watch. I’m hoping people go to see it, because if it succeeds, my hope is that more character-driven movies will get made, which would thrill me.
Answers to Nothing hits theaters tomorrow, December 2nd. For more information, visit www.answerstonothingfilm.com.