[SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on if you haven’t seen “Get Out” or don’t want to know about the big twist ending.]
While Allison Williams is “thrilled” that her new movie, “Get Out,” opened at No. 1 last weekend with an impressive $33.4 million, she said that playing the twentysomething girlfriend of a young African-American man (Daniel Kaluuya) wasn’t all that pretty.
In fact, the “Girls” actress went to extreme measures — even changing her eye color — to distance herself from the character in Jordan Peele’s directorial debut.
That’s because — last chance before spoilers are dropped! — Williams actually played dual roles as the sweet Rose and her evil counterpart, “RoRo,” the daughter of seemingly kindhearted parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener) who turn out to have a far darker, undeniably racist side.
And playing that side of her character proved a challenge for Williams.
“It became clear very early on that we had to develop the person we came to know for clarity purposes as RoRo before I could develop Rose,” she said. “It was all about getting into her psyche of somebody who for most of her life has been going into character as a retriever in the most evil of circumstances.”
Williams’ transformation even included changing her eye color: The actress kept her natural blue eye color for Rose, and wore hazel/brown lenses for RoRo.
“It was the idea having blue eyes [for Rose] because she knew that would be more trustworthy,” she said. “It was also so when I looked in the mirror at myself as RoRo — I did that for about half an hour before the scene started while listening to really dark music — I wouldn’t be seeing myself. That distance was really important for me.”
Overall, the shoot wound up taking its toll on the actress, who recently wrapped the sixth and last season of HBO’s “Girls.”
“The process of playing RoRo was totally unpleasant and awful,” Williams said. “I had to feel more hate than I have ever felt in my life. I had to look at Daniel as like an animal that got moved to a barnyard,” she said. “He’s one of my close friends, and I love him so much and Rose just looked at him as a job.”
Working with a coach with whom she had previously collaborated while preparing for NBC’s “Peter Pan Live!,” Williams said she realized that she would need to distinguish between her two roles to keep her sanity through the shoot.
She added that they came up with a backstory for RoRo as an excellent actress when she was little, which helped mold her into a character her parents in the movie wanted her to be: “Then we had this idea of a stunted, childish — in a creepy way — girl who still has her teddy bear on the side table and eats fruit loops like an insane person and to wear clothes that are kind of androgynous. There’s not a wrinkle, not a line out of place, her shirt is tucked in, perfectly rolled turtleneck.”
“Get Out” has been praised as a horror film that offers pointed social commentary, and Williams believes that the movie speaks to the world we live in today. The actress alluded to the “not-so-subtle allegory to Trayvon” Martin, whose shooting happened five years ago this week.
“The idea that most horrible movies open with a vulnerable young female white teenager who is about to be victimized by some scary whatever is now a black guy walking alone in suburban neighborhood,” she said. “That in and of itself is very topical and it would always make sense to a certain audience but I hope it makes sense to an even bigger audience.”
“Get Out” held a Rotten Tomatoes score of 100 percent with 147 fresh reviews, until one critic posted a negative review which brought the score down to 99 percent.