After leaving quite the impression on audiences with her work in the horror film Jessabelle, Australian actress Sarah Snook returns to the screen with an even more gripping performance in the sci-fi thriller, Predestination.
Directed by Michael and Peter Spierig and based on Robert A. Heinlein’s short story All You Zombies, the film sees Snook playing a man who goes by the pen name of The Unmarried Mother. One night he crosses paths with The Bartender, played by Ethan Hawke, but all is not as it seems, as both The Unmarried Mother and The Bartender are not who they say they are. And so begins a cerebral, time-travel tale that is full of twists and turns which I wouldn’t dare spoil for you here.
A couple of weeks ago at the Predestination press day, I had the chance to catch up with Snook and speak with her about what she calls, a “dream role.” The actress spoke about the challenges of playing a man, how it was difficult doing scenes where she acted as more than one character, and of how she kept track of her character’s journey throughout film.
Check it out below, and enjoy!
You give an astonishing performance in this movie, and it must of been a challenge considering the directions your character goes in. The most fascinating thing is how you have scenes where you are acting opposite yourself when your character is both a man and a woman. What was it like acting opposite yourself in those scenes?
Sarah Snook: It’s very strange. In some ways you can get this kind of heady rush of power because you get to control the entire scene and how it goes. But actually the way I found easiest to do that thing was seeing the stand ins and doubles, who are actually quite good actors themselves, and I was able to use whatever they were doing and to be inspired by their performances and just react off of them. So in the end they were kind of crafting it themselves for me.
When it came to playing a man in this movie, what was most important to you in your portrayal?
Sarah Snook: I guess the authenticity of the more masculine qualities that a person may have who was not chosen to be that. I spoke to people and did a lot of research on gender translation and gender reassignment, and the most stark difference between my character and people who have changed from male to female (or vice versa) was that more often than not they are choosing to do that, and this character, The Unmarried Mother, never chose to become John to leave Jane behind. She didn’t know that she had male sex organs inside her, and had she never known she would never have changed. Even had she known she probably wouldn’t have changed. I guess that was the most important thing to me, to find what is it that this person has to do to identify them self but not gender specific in the end.
You spent a number of hours in the morning getting makeup done.
Sarah Snook: Yeah, usually three hours in the morning. We did have to get it down to an hour and a half on a couple of days when I was playing male and female characters the same day, and that was interesting (laughs). That’s two people working on you double time.