Florence Pugh realized she’d taken method acting a little too far when she left the set of Ari Aster’s 2019 film Midsommar and began struggling with feelings of “immense guilt.”
The actress opened up about the experience this week on Ed Gamble and James Acaster’s Off Menu podcast
Florence Pugh looks back on Midsommar
“I’d never played someone that was in that much pain before, and I would put myself in really shitty situations that maybe other actors don’t need to do but I would just be imagining the worst things,” Pugh says on the Off Menu podcast
“Each day the content would be getting more weird and harder to do. I was putting things in my head that were getting worse and more bleak. I think by the end I probably, most definitely abused my own self in order to get that performance.”
Midsommar follows Pugh as Dani, a woman who has just experienced a horrible family tragedy, and who accepts an invitation to visit a small village in Sweden with her boyfriend and his friends. Soon after arriving, they realize that there’s something strange happening in the village — and that they might never leave.
Pugh ended up leaving the set of Midsommar three days before shooting wrapped because she had to hurry over to Boston to start filming Little Women. She described looking down at the field where Midsommar took place from the window of the plane and feeling that part of her was being left behind with her character, Dani.
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“I remember looking down and feeling immense guilt. I felt so guilty because I felt like I’d left here in that field in that state,” she says. “It’s so weird. I’ve never had that before… obviously, that’s probably a psychological thing where I felt immense guilt of what I’d put myself through, but I definitely felt like I’d left her there in that field to be abused, to be — she can’t fend for herself, almost like I’d created this person and then I just left her there to go and do another movie.”
Pugh does have an idea of what she thinks happened to Dani after the events of the movie, however, and it’s quite reassuring.
“I always thought that she survived,” Pugh says. “I don’t think she’s probably ever going to come back, because to come back from a psychotic break, you have to have deep treatment and work that obviously those people [The Hårga] don’t have… I do think she’s — in that weird, twisted horrible way — she’s in like a place that people actually want her to be there. And I do think she will be getting respect and love, in a weird way.”
She also trusts that Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren), the Hårga man who convinces her, Christian, Josh (William Jackson Harper) and Mark (Will Poulter) to come to the village in the first place, will take care of Dani.
“I do think Pelle would look after her. I don’t think he’s going to abuse her. I don’t I do think that community appreciates her being there.”
Main Image: Florence Pugh in Midsommar. Photo credit: A24