“Film is a medium where you are asking people to relate to it personally, so there’s an amount of projection that’s necessary in the audience-performer relationship. But I didn’t want it to be just that. I wanted to risk how much an audience member could love the person I was making. I wanted to risk their love and earn their respect.”
-Michelle Williams, episode 325 of Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso
Today, we sit with brilliant actor Michelle Williams! At the top, we walk through the making of Showing Up (6:05), Williams’ fifteen-year partnership with director Kelly Reichardt (8:10), and her upbringing in Montana and San Diego (10:42). Then, she describes coming of age on the set of Dawson’s Creek (14:50), her pivotal turn in Tracy Letts’ Killer Joe (20:00), and her path to Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (26:10).
On the back-half, we discuss a healing passage from Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost (29:37), Williams’ memorable performances in Blue Valentine (32:12) and My Week with Marilyn (37:47), and her final day shooting The Fabelmans (40:50). To close, she shares how she remains present as a mother (45:40), a formative Walt Whitman quote (47:22), and how—at age 42—she’s begun to create from “a place of peace.” (50:36).
- Purchase tickets to see Michelle Williams in Showing Up.
- See her previous collaborations with director Kelly Reichardt: Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, and Certain Women.
- Watch more of Michelle’s work in Dawson’s Creek, Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, My Week with Marilyn, Fosse/Verdon, and The Fabelmans.
- Read Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost.
- For more conversations, hear our talks with Cate Blanchett, Ethan Hawke, Ke Huy Quan, Laura Dern, Questlove, Steven Yeun, Claire Foy, and Eddie Redmayne.
- Order your Talk Easy mug in cream and navy or our vinyl record with Fran Lebowitz.
Original illustration by Krishna Shenoi. Reference image by Emily Soto.
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