We've Got Hollywood Covered
|

Elisabeth Moss on How She Kept Track of Her Character’s Rapidly Shifting Reality in ‘Shining Girls’ (Video)

”Sometimes I would just know where I was by my hair,“ she tells TheWrap of her work in the Apple TV+ series

Elisabeth Moss is a woman whose sense of reality is shattered following a vicious attack in the Apple TV+ drama “Shining Girls,” which premieres April 29 on the streamer.

Six years after an assault by an unknown assailant, Moss’ character Kirby, an archivist, is back at the Chicago Sun-Times in a limited capacity, but no one knows her secret: Her reality is constantly shifting from one minute to the next. One moment her desk is under a dripping pipe, the next it’s across the room. Every aspect of her life is subject to unexpected changes. Her apartment might be up one floor, her cat might be a dog or she might suddenly have a husband when she comes home, and she has to pretend not to be surprised by any of it.

It was a lot of work for the two-time Emmy winner, but she had help keeping track of Kirby’s ever-shifting reality in the series thanks to “a bunch of people,” she told TheWrap in a recent interview.

“It’s definitely something that requires a little bit of extra diligence,” she said. “You can’t just waltz into a scene and be like, ‘Oh, I know exactly what happened before this.’ You have to make sure you check the script; you have to make sure you are oriented in the scene that you’re in; you have to do a little bit of extra work there sometimes to make sure you know where you are and what you don’t know yet. You may have played a scene from Episode 7, but you’re shooting Episode 3, so you have to remember that you don’t know that thing yet. You’ll know later on, but you don’t have that information.”

Moss also relied on her wardrobe to keep her on track.

“Obviously, we always shoot everything out of order, but with us, we were dealing with many episodes at the same time. At one point, near the end of the season, we were shooting almost all eight episodes at the same time,” she said. “And so it was definitely really challenging. Sometimes, I would just know where I was by my hair. I’d be like, ‘OK, right. I’m wearing this wig,’ or ‘I have this hair, so I must be here.'”

Michelle McLaren, who directed the first two episodes, decided that viewers needed some grounding as well, and relied on editorial choices rather than CG effects for the first few times viewers realize Kirby’s world has changed around her.

“To me, the time shifts are a metaphor for the aftermath of trauma so I wanted to keep it very real and very grounded and have everybody be able to identify with it so they start out very simplistically,” she explained. “It’s it’s done editorially, there’s not a lot of CG involved, and as they grow and they get bigger and bigger, we all talked about keeping them as simplistic as possible. Of course, [we] eventually had to get CG involved in it, but it’s a very simplistic, realistic, grounded approach to to the sci-fi element.”

The first three episodes “Shining Girls” debut on Apple TV+ on Friday, April 29, with one new episode dropping on Fridays.

Please fill out this field.