‘Shirley’ Director Says Elisabeth Moss Was Always the ‘Top Choice’ to Play Author Shirley Jackson (Video)

Sundance 2020: Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young and Logan Lerman also star

For “Shirley” director Josephine Decker, Elisabeth Moss was always the “top choice” to play author Shirley Jackson in her drama.

“You were my top choice!” Decker told Elisabeth Moss at TheWrap’s Sundance Studio. “We were all like, let’s get Elisabeth Moss to play Shirley!”

Moss was drawn to the project due to the Sarah Gubbins screenplay, as well as the other actors attached.

“It’s funny because it is a version of Shirley Jackson, I think about Shirley as if she had many versions of herself,” Moss told TheWrap’s Steve Pond. “Michael [Stuhlbarg] has always been one of my favorite actors of all-time, so to be able to work with him finally was incredible. Then we got Odessa Young, this beautiful young actor, and then we had Logan [Lerman], who brought so much to that character. It just got better and better for me.”

Stuhlbarg only had wonderful things to say about Moss as well. When asked why he wanted to be a part of the drama, he said, “I heard this one was doing it,” pointing at Moss.

“That’s what made me do it,” he added. “I was unfamiliar with Josephine, so I saw her films and the script itself was so evocative, literate, funny, precise, and the combination of elements of this particular story and learning about Shirley Jackson and about Stanley Hyman, their relationship, the perversity of it, it got more and more interesting as time went on. It was a really wonderful journey.”

“Shirley” follows a young couple that moves in with Shirley Jackson and her husband Stanley Hyman, only to realize that they are in the midst of a psychodrama that will act as inspiration for Jackson’s next novel.

The film had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

Watch the video above.

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