Pin It

Mary Elizabeth Winstead on Needing to Feel “Challenged” and How ‘Smashed’ Changed Her Confidence as an Actor

mary-elizabeth-winstead-smashedAfter landing plum roles in Death Proof and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Mary Elizabeth Winstead became complacent.  The 27-year-old actress assumed that more exciting projects would automatically come her way.

“I just had a bit of a wakeup call that I needed to do [something],” Winstead told NBC New York.  “It’s something that I had been wanting for years and just hadn’t really gotten off my ass and just made it happen, because I was sort of waiting around for somebody to make it happen for me.  I realized that it was just never going to come unless I got a little more proactive.  That’s when I kind of just went out and started actively seeking scripts—independent scripts, independent productions and filmmakers, anyone I could meet and get to know that were doing something different than what everybody else was doing.”

The inspiration to go searching for the perfect project came “when I was on a set of a film—a film that I was happy to do; I certainly wasn’t doing it begrudgingly,” Winstead said.  “I’m happy to have any kind of work, but I wasn’t feeling challenged.  I was feeling a little bit bored, and that’s kind of when I was like, ‘I’m in this industry which is so exciting and so full of creativity, and I’m bored at work?  This isn’t why I wanted to be an actor.  I might as well be in an office or something, if I’m bored.’  Also for a long time I felt like I was really growing and progressing and with each role was sort of learning more, and a few films had gone by where I really hadn’t felt that same progress.”

Winstead has since made Smashed, an indie drama costarring Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad).  “For me I did what I needed to do—for me,” she said.  “It’s just changed my confidence in myself a lot as an actor, because it’s one of those things where for years and years, like a lot of actors do, you sort of sit around and kind of grumble about how everybody else is getting the parts that you want and why can’t you get one of those great parts.  But you sabotage yourself along the way, too, because you have such a fear of failing at those great parts.  So when you get it, that fear of screwing it up is huge.”

“For me the fact that I did it and I got through it and I did what I wanted to do with it is huge.  I haven’t felt a shift in career yet, really, other than the fact that I’ve been more confident and holding off on doing something that I’m not totally passionate about and just kind of reading scripts and saying, ‘Not right now.  That’s not the right thing.’  But we’ll see.”

Smashed is in theaters now.

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

The Cast of ‘Mad Men’ on the Final Season and More
Though the AMC television series Mad Men might not carry the same cultural weight that it did a few years ago (splitting your final season over two years might do that to you), the second half of the show’s final season is expected to be full of powerful performances from its ensemble cast. With the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-ron-perlman-on-his-fathers.jpg
Watch: Ron Perlman on His Father’s Influence on His Early Career
Ron Perlman is a prolific actor, and he has also lent his distinctive voice to a number of projects in film and television — including the new animated film The Book of Life. One of the reasons that Perlman works so hard is not only because he loves being an actor, but because of what […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/cate-blanchett-asks-graduating-s.jpg
Cate Blanchett Asks Graduating Students a Heavy Question: “What the hell can you do with an arts degree?”
“What the hell can you do with an arts degree?” Many actors ask themselves that when they find themselves struggling to make it in Hollywood while saddled with student loans. It was Cate Blanchett who posed that question recently to graduating students at Macquarie University in Sydney where she received an honorary doctorate degree. The […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/matthew-mcconaughey-rallies-his.jpg
Matthew McConaughey Rallies his Alma Mater Football Team to Victory with the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Chant
Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey delivered a different kind of speech two weeks ago when he spoke with the Texas Longhorns football team after their close 20-17 loss to UCLA. The moment was a bit odd, but hilarious at the same time. Coach Charlie Strong was the one who invited the Dallas Buyers Club star to inspire the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-anna-gunn-reveals-her-awkw.jpg
Watch: Anna Gunn Reveals Her Awkward ‘Breaking Bad’ Audition Details
Though Breaking Bad was obviously a career highpoint for every actor involved, they all must move on to their next projects (except for the few who are involved in the Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul). This includes Anna Gunn, who portrayed Walter White’s wife Skyler on the award-winning series series. Gunn’s new series, the […]