Melanie Lynskey spoke with Solzy at the Movies about the new buddy/ghost comedy that she’s starring in, Lady of the Manor.
What was it about the script that attracted you to the role in Lady of the Manor?
Melanie Lynskey: There was something so unapologetic about it. She was really a mess and they weren’t trying to make her not being a mess. You know what I mean? There was this one moment where she gets all of sort of courage up and she’s like, I’m going to solve all the problems, I’m going to make sure everything’s right. And then a hard cut to her at the bar and she’s just drunk again. I think that was the moment that really sold me because I was like, that is really funny. She’s just who she is. Things are hard and she’s a little bit lazy. I really loved that aspect of her.
What did you make of the fart joke when you read the script?
Melanie Lynskey: I’m not a big fart joke person. Not really. That’s not really for me but everyone around thought it was so funny when we were doing it. It was like, Okay, I trust you. I don’t know. I think it works.
How was it work opposite Judy Greer?
Melanie Lynskey: It was amazing. She’s so funny. She’s very warm. She’s very sweet. I’ve been wanting to work with her for a long time so it was a real dream come true for me.
What do you typically look for in a character while reading a screenplay?
Melanie Lynskey: Honestly, it’s something that happens internally. It’s not really anything that I can point to in the writing, the plot or anything like that. It’s just a thing—when I’m reading and I just know, kind of in my bones, if it’s right for me, if I want to do it. Sometimes, I’ll start reading it out loud—the first time I’m reading the script—and then I always know, okay, this is working.
How was Justin Long for being a first-time feature director behind the camera?
Melanie Lynskey: He was great and it was really sweet to see him working with this brother. They have such a great strong relationship and bond. It was really moving to me to see them. They worked so hard on the script and they worked really well together. I’ve been a friend of Justin’s for about five years now and it was great to just see him realizing his dream. I think he did a really good job.
What were you doing for fun when you weren’t on set?
Melanie Lynskey: I have a little daughter so I was spending a lot of time with her if I could. I worked every single day. I was in almost every scene so it was a lot of time when we’re doing six-day weeks. It was a lot of time at work so I was just really hanging out with my little one when I wasn’t working.
I know the production shot in early 2020. Did you all run into any pandemic problems?
Melanie Lynskey: No, it was before. The virus had just gotten to America. I was very naïve about the toll it was going to take and how long it was going to be around. I was just very unprepared. Nobody on set—nobody in Florida had it at that point.
Is it hard to imagine there used to be a time when cast and crew didn’t need to live in a bubble?
Melanie Lynskey: Yeah. Isn’t that funny? It’s almost impossible now to remember. That was the last job that I did without testing, without quarantining. I’ve been working in Canada and I had to quarantine for two weeks when I got here. It’s just a different world.
I was looking online and I know you just did Adam McKay’s new film, Don’t Look Up, which I’m really looking forward to seeing.
Melanie Lynskey: Yeah, the script was so beautiful. It’s really moving. Really funny. I’m super excited for that one.
How did it work with all the quarantining, testing, and everything?
Melanie Lynskey: On Adam’s movie?
Melanie Lynskey: I think it was an eight-day quarantine. I was dealing with my daughter and our nanny. We were just in the hotel room and they would come and test us pretty much every single day. When we got to work, every day that I worked, there was a test in the morning. I think there were no COVID cases on the whole production and they filmed over Thanksgiving, Xmas, New Year’s—a lot of times where people could have gotten together with family and been exposed. People were really safe. It’s pretty amazing.
I’d be remiss if I did not mention that I loved Up in the Air.
Melanie Lynskey: Oh, thanks! It’s a special one for me so thanks for saying that.