What drew you into Nadine in the first place?
The fact that this character is so complex. The first thing is if I can master what this character feels — the 720 emotions in four minutes — I will feel like I’ve accomplished something. And the thought of playing a character in a story that is so honest and so real to what being a teenager really feels like today is also of complete interest to me.
It’s not just her dealing with adolescence, either. She’s dealing with grief. How did you interpret the grief she was going through and use it for your performance?
Well, when you think of how you first see Nadine, she’s not smiling. She doesn’t smile often until the end of the film when she finds what she’s been missing this whole time. That’s what she lost at the beginning of the film. Having shot that pretty early on . . . knowing something like that happened in someone’s life, feeling like there is always going to be something missing; the reminder of that — acting in some of these scenes, feeling again like it was the end of the world, and then again on top of that remembering that form of loss that happened a couple years ago in this person’s life — it just took you that much further.
And you don’t really hear that much about her grief, not for a bulk of the film.
Right, but it’s there, and you can feel it.
This must have been a fresh role for you, right? It wasn’t that long ago that you were in the same place. Can you paint a picture of yourself in this space that Nadine was in?
I’m trying to think of where I was physically, actually. I don’t even remember. I was trying not to be awkward. That’s for sure. I don’t know, I think I was just masking everything I was feeling. This character feels a lot better than I was. Playing this character actually gave me the opportunity to be a teenager, to figure stuff out, and freak out.
How did you navigate through the teenage misbehavior in this? There was plenty of drinking and sex and other adult themes.
One thing that is cool about this movie is there is no real, shy approach to anything: The language. What you do when your parents aren’t home. When you send a text to a guy that puts you in an awkward position. All that stuff is real and it happens. And again, like you said, it’s important to depict these things. To not beat around the bush. It’s real, and there is no way around it in reality. It was one of things I loved about being a part of this movie — on all fronts, being a part of a real story.