Patricia Clarkson speaks to Clarence, Joey, and Megan about her incredible performance on HBO’s Sharp Objects.
In Gillian Flynn’s twisted thriller, Sharp Objects, Adora Crellin is watchful danger. When HBO announced they were adapting Flynn’s debut novel into a limited series, chatter exploded about who would play the three meticulously drawn lead women. Director Jean-Marc Vallée found the perfect casting in Patricia Clarkson as Adora. It’s one of the best roles of her long, celebrated career. Awards giving bodies wildly approve: Clarkson received Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and Screen Actors Guild awards for her work in Sharp Objects in the past week.
Adora emerges from the shadows when Camille, her eldest daughter (played by the equally incredible Amy Adams), makes an unannounced return to her childhood home. She looks at Camille with exhausted surprise, an amaretto sour clutched in her hand. Her delicacy is evident from the first time we see her, but we aren’t prepared for what a fierce woman Adora is. There is a toughness that Clarkson threads through her entire performance, but she keeps it as a guarded weapon. Adora’s daughters don’t know that they might be on the receiving end of her poisonous maternal drive.
“It is three women that are not wonder women. Three women–and we have our flaws. It’s valuable to tell the stories about imperfect women as it is to tell those of heroic women. They all have value. I was thrilled to be part of a miniseries that was written by a woman, produced by women, starring women. I’m overwhelmed.”
She’s not a mustache twirling villain, though. Adora is always watching whomever is around her, and you always feel Clarkson’s gaze even when the camera isn’t on her. Her stillness feels threatening. Whenever Calhoun Day is mounted on the Crellin property, you wonder if she is lurking in the background of every shot. Your eyes wander because you’re afraid that the characters on screen might say something that could disrupt her festive celebrating.
Clarkson was thankful and eager to play Adora, and you can hear in her voice how much she loves her. She keeps Adora’s secrets to herself, but she always reminds us how important a character like this is. The darkness isn’t lost on her in the slightest (despite how absolutely lovely she is to listen to). Listening to her speak, you will thank your lucky stars that Adora Crellin was in the hands of an absolute professional. A lesser actress wouldn’t have done her justice. It’s a beautifully wicked performance that sneaks up on you.