A version of this story about Sienna Miller and “Wander Darkly” first appeared in the Race Begins issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine.
In a film that flits back and forth through time and space in a way that could get melodramatic, Sienna Miller creates a character in “Wander Darkly” so haunted and sharp that director Tara Miele’s head trip turns deeply emotional.
“It made me ask the existential questions that I’m interested in,” Miller told TheWrap. “The idea of analyzing the relationship with your partner from its conception, noticing the moments where you pivoted and went wrong, and how corrosive those small moments of miscommunication are. The idea of going back and reflecting was a really interesting thing for me.”
Early in the film, Miller’s character is involved in an auto accident with her husband (Diego Luna), which puts her in a state in which she can travel through time and examine her life and relationship.
From the moment Miller got the script, she was emotionally invested — but Miller also had to step out of her comfort zone for the film.
“I cried every time I read the script, without really considering how complex it was and how technical, which is not something I excel at,” said Miller, who was particularly uncomfortable with one aspect of the character. “I love being really natural in a scene, but the idea of breaking the fourth wall and commenting on yourself in a past moment from the present was really, really difficult to execute and feel good about. I didn’t love doing that.”
While parts of the film are a puzzle, it is based on a sense of deep loss. “The hardest part was probably the real pitch of grief,” she said. “I think the moment where I realize the truth of what’s happened–I don’t know that I’m capable of much more vulnerability in a scene than I showed in that. It really rattled me and it took a long time to shake that feeling. The trauma that she’s in is something I haven’t really done. I’ve definitely explored grief, and that’s something I’m interested in. That being said, I think I’ve explored every aspect of grief that I want to explore for the time being. Now I really just want some levity.”
“Wander Darkly” first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year, and was released on Dec. 11 by Lionsgate.