Behind the Scenes / On Set Gallery My Sister Jill Stills Theatre Videos
The Age: Angourie Rice is far from Hollywood in MTC play about a family at war
Posted by Veronique on Sep 11, 2023

After 14 years in film and TV, the in-demand actor chose My Sister Jill for her main-stage theatre debut.

Melbourne is in the final throes of winter when I meet Angourie Rice on a rain-soaked footpath outside the MTC’s headquarters in Southbank. We’ve both arrived 10 minutes early, and I have already read enough about this hardworking and ambitious young veteran of film and TV to know that her punctuality is not entirely surprising.

At 22, Rice has been acting for 14 years, podcasting for four and is about to add published author to her CV. There is, it seems, no time to waste. When I ask her later why she’s so driven, she laughs and suggests that her star sign is to blame: Google the list of Capricorn traits and you’ll see where she’s coming from.

We’re here to talk about her upcoming appearance in the MTC premiere of My Sister Jill, the latest project from playwright Patricia Cornelius and director Susie Dee. There’s also a novel co-written with her mother, Kate, and The Community Library podcast to discuss, but any mention of her film and TV projects – either previous or upcoming – is off-limits in the midst of the SAG strike. Suffice to say that there’s a long roll-call of reasons why Rice made Variety’s list of actors to watch in 2021.

There’s no Hollywood-style hubris, though, as we await instructions on where our interview will take place; Rice shows me a photo of her whippet/kelpie cross and chats about how much she’s loving being back in Melbourne, after years (barring lockdowns) of travelling between LA and home. It was just one of the reasons she signed on for the part of Christine in My Sister Jill.

“I wanted to do more theatre work, and so I began receiving more theatre scripts to read,” she says. “This one really stood out because it’s exceptionally well written. I loved the family dynamics in it, I loved that it was a true ensemble piece; each person gets their own story line, their own arc. Practically, for me, it felt safer and easier to start doing theatre again with something that felt very much like a group.”

The play, based on Cornelius’ semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, takes place over several years, in a family caught between the shadow of World War II and the looming threat of the Vietnam draft. Father Jack, an ex-POW suffering PTSD, is haunted by his experiences and ill-equipped for family life. Christine, the youngest of his five children, clings doggedly to her belief that Jack is a war hero, not the alcoholic bully that her siblings fear and loathe.

At the start of the play, in her role as narrator, she tells the audience: “Look at him, would you? Would you look? He’s huge, he’s mighty, he’s magnificent. He’s about eight-foot tall, he can crush stone with his bare hands, he can lift a car off the ground, he can pull a tree out by the roots. He can. I know, it’s hard to believe but that’s the truth. And he’s brave. Incredibly brave. He’s a survivor, mum says, a survivor. He lasted. He did. He came out the other side. He’s a remarkable man. Look at him. What a man my dad is. What a man.”

Cornelius’ father, Leo, spent three and a half years as a prisoner of war and was on a Japanese ship transporting POWs to Japan when it was torpedoed by a US submarine. He spent six days drifting on a liferaft, watching his comrades die, and came home from the war a damaged man.

“The impact on my family was enormous, as I think it was on any family,” Cornelius says. “Someone has gone to war a young, fresh man and returned a totally different man, a very damaged one … that’s definitely my father.”

One of the central themes of the play is the yearning for parental love, expressed most poignantly in the thwarted endeavours of oldest boy Johnnie, who is rebuffed by Jack at every turn.

“We all yearned, and yearn still, some of us, for the love of our parents,” Cornelius says. “As corny as that sounds on some level, there is something that hits you in the guts about that and it’s so simple and so universally recognised: this yearning to just be loved.”

For Rice’s Christine, the yearning manifests as a desire to be just like Jack. Her imaginary play evokes the derring-do of the battlefield: she has lives to save, messages to pass on, dangerous journeys to make.

“She wants to be like him when she grows up, she wants to be a hero, she wants to fight in battles,” says Rice. “She doesn’t want to realise the real battle that’s happening around her.”

On this domestic battlefront, Jack’s main combatant is his oldest child, the smart and steely Jill, who steers her siblings – Johnnie, Christine and twins Mouse and Door – away from his line of fire.

A month out from opening, the family dynamics are playing out inside a large rehearsal room scattered with props: beds are lined up at the rear, makeshift walls conjure a working-class home, and costume drawings decorate a corner of the room. Dee, whose long-running creative partnership with Cornelius has delivered some of Australian theatre’s most powerful moments, joins her seven actors – the children are all played by adults – in a circle, as they limber up with physical and vocal exercises, tossing an imaginary ball to one another and reciting, with increasing speed, a passage that is filled with tongue-tripping words: “Trinidad”, “Mississippi”, “Lake Titicaca”.

In a run-through of the opening scene, Ian Bliss, as Jack, is playful but menacing, holding a bucket of water, and calling, “Come out, come out, wherever you are!” as the children scatter. His wife, Martha, played by Maude Davey, is described in the script notes as “mid to late 40s. Worn out. Full of sighs.” Dealing with a traumatised, abusive husband and the impact on her children has hollowed her out. When her boisterous youngest child climbs into her lap, begging to be held, she snaps: “Christine, you’re too old for this … give me a break.”

When we chat later, Dee agrees that even at this early stage, there’s a sense that something special is unfolding inside the rehearsal room.

“I think all the actors in the room feel that this is a special new work,” she says. “It’s close to a writer’s heart and head … She’s so lean, Patricia, because she knows the world so well. It could have been a much longer play, but she cuts to the quick, takes no prisoners … There’s a vitality in the work, which is so great for actors and for a director. I feel really blessed.”

For Rice, her mainstage debut has brought its surprises, from the courage of her fellow cast members – “everyone just jumped into it with no fear or inhibitions” – to the sheer physicality required.

“I knew that I would have to work on my breathing and my voice,” she says. “I didn’t fully think that I would be sore after the first day of rehearsals. Christine is a really physical character, she’s constantly moving, running, jumping, rolling around – she’s really active and I want to embody that fully. I feel very connected to the character and the story when you feel it in every part of your body.

The stage, for Rice, represents something of a homecoming; both her parents are involved in the theatre, Jeremy as a director and Kate as a writer.

“I was constantly in theatres as a kid,” she recalls. “My dad worked at a theatre company right next to my primary school, so I would go there after school and I would sit in on rehearsals … my sister and I would just sit in the corner and colour in or draw. And because my dad mainly works in theatre for young people, we were often the test audiences, so we would sit there and give suggestions, or say no, we didn’t like that, it wasn’t funny, or yes, that was funny, keep that in.”

This connection to family is a recurring theme in Rice’s screen work, particularly the relationship between mothers and daughters. While her characters often chafe against the maternal bond, her own relationship with her mother is such that, even during the process of writing a novel together, not a single door was slammed.

The result, Stuck Up & Stupid, updates one of Rice’s favourite books, Pride and Prejudice. After re-reading the Jane Austen classic during COVID lockdowns, she asked her mother to write a modern retelling of the story. Kate, who’d had the same idea years earlier, suggested they write it together.

“She dug up her old idea from, I think, 2008, and came up with a whole table and chart of the chapters in the original book and how we were going to write it, character comparisons, and all that kind of stuff,” Rice recalls. “In the summer of 2020-21, we wrote the first draft by hand over a month or six weeks … what was really fun is that we had something to talk about that was shared … something that we did together.

“There was never any fighting … We disagreed on some things but we’re both willing to a) listen to what the other person says and b) back up our ideas. If we disagreed it was never a hard fight.”

The publisher’s notes refer to the novel as a modern tale that “captures the spirit and energy of Austen’s original satire of manners”. Set in a coastal town in NSW, it recasts Mr Darcy and his uppity cronies as Hollywood stars and influencers. Very modern indeed.

Rice’s foray into fiction seems like a logical move for the self-described “big book nerd” and host of The Community Library – “a podcast about stories and how and why we tell them”. Rice writes and delivers fortnightly episodes promoting the joy of reading in a way that is as playful as it is informative (in one episode, her sister, Kalliope, rates, in a less than scientific manner, the opening lines of a series of novels). Her listeners, mostly aged between 18 and 25, are part of a growing community of readers who swap recommendations on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.

“I feel really happy that I’m part of the book community online,” Rice says. “Before TikTok blew up, I had been watching YouTube videos about people talking about books for a long time and also Instagram and blogs … I think the internet has been so wonderful for so many communities … people who might not have a reading community in real life find it online and it is how I find out about half of the books I read.”

As podcast host, Rice revisits her childhood favourites, including Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, and L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. She talks about wanting to be more like those fearless girls who were always heading off on thrilling adventures. The feistiness of Montgomery’s heroine was something to aspire to but, in truth, Rice was more like Anne’s friend, Diana: bookish, sensible, and, frankly, “a bit meek”.

So has acting allowed her to explore these longed-for traits?

“I think it is always interesting to me to choose roles that have character traits that I want and not necessarily that I have because it’s great to explore that in a safe, contained setting,” Rice says. “When I was a kid I sort of wanted to be everything and acting gave me the opportunity to do that – I could be everything I wanted to be.”

For now, inside a Southbank rehearsal room, she’s a young Melbourne girl trying hard not to see the pain that surrounds her, but she could be any daughter, in any family, anywhere in the world, doing her best to love the imperfect people with whom she shares her life. Look at them, would you? They’re trying to survive, yearning for love and dreaming of better days to come. Look at them. They’re a lot like you and me.

My Sister Jill is at Southbank Theatre from September 23; Stuck Up & Stupid, by Angourie and Kate Rice, will be published by Walker Books on November 1.


Articles & Interviews Gallery My Sister Jill Photoshoots Theatre
Death Of A Salesman Opening Night
Posted by Veronique on Sep 7, 2023

Angourie attended the Death Of A Salesman Opening Night today. Click on the gallery link below to see all new photos.

Events & Premieres Gallery
My Sister Jill (Melbourne Theatre Company)
Posted by Veronique on Sep 6, 2023

The My Sister Jill team have been hard at work in rehearsals preparing to bring this new Australian drama to the stage. ⁠

Set against the backdrop of 1950s to 70s suburban Melbourne, My Sister Jill is a powerful coming-of-age story from one of the country’s most dynamic theatre collaborations, Patricia Cornelius and Susie Dee.⁠

🎟️ My Sister Jill begins at Southbank Theatre 23 September – book discounted tickets for preview performances (23–27 Sep) at the link in our bio.⁠

Source: @melbtheatreco

Behind the Scenes / On Set Gallery My Sister Jill Promotional Photos Theatre
New photoshoot outtakes
Posted by Veronique on Aug 14, 2023

Click on the gallery link below to see all new photos!

Gallery Photoshoots
2:22 – A Ghost Story Opening Night
Posted by Veronique on Jul 29, 2023

Events & Premieres Gallery
Flaunt Magazine
Posted by Veronique on Jun 17, 2023

Angourie Rice | There’s Immediacy, And Then There’s What Comes After
Written by Eloisa de Farias – Photographed by Bryan Carr – Styled by Britton Litow

When asked if breakout actor Angourie Rice has any hobbies other than stealing our hearts in whatever role she plays on screen, she tells me her big two are knitting and baking. She chuckles, comparing herself to an old lady, “When I’m not working, I like to make things that are tangible because I spend so much time making something where I don’t even know what it’s going to look like. When I bake, though, I make it and I can hold it and touch it, and then I get the instant reward of getting to eat it.” Lucky for us, we can click play on nearly every major streamer and watch Rice conquer a character with conviction and intention. This is our version of instant gratification, no flour or eggs needed.

Rice’s résumé would most definitely need stapling. The twenty-two-year-old actor’s first leading role was in the Paramount+ original movie Honor Society in which she played the lead role of Honor. Later that year, she would take on the role of the high school-age version of Rebel Wilson’s character Stephanie in the Netflix comedy Senior Year. Perhaps her most popular role is that of rebellious yet clever Siobhan in the HBO limited series Mare of Easttown alongside Kate Winslet. The series follows detective Mare Sheehan (Winslet) as she investigates a murder and confronts her personal life trials and tribulations. Rice also starred alongside Zendaya and Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Spider-Man: No Way Home as Betty Brant.

Currently, you can see Rice on Apple TV+ and Hello Sunshine’s miniseries The Last Thing He Told Me alongside Jennifer Garner, who plays Hannah. The series follows a thrilling mystery based on Laura Dave’s New York Times bestseller of the same title. Rice plays Bailey, Hannah’s sixteen-year-old stepdaughter who is helping her uncover the mysterious disappearance of her husband Owen (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), all while forming an unforeseen relationship.

While Rice is able to effortlessly breathe life into characters and personalities so different from her own, playing the part of Bailey has been a special and personal process for the actor. “I think something I really admire about Bailey is how headstrong she is. Bailey is so sure of who she knows, how she knows people, and what she wants, and I really admire that.” Rice reflects, “That’s something I want to bring into my own life because she’s so determined, and she won’t let anything shake her.” Though The Last Thing He Told Me is emotionally evocative and suspenseful, filming the miniseries has had some bright moments. Rice recalls the rain machine they brought in for filming Episode Two, how cheerful she felt under the man-made raindrops showering her from above. Maybe the secret to Rice’s outstanding performance is her ability to bring a bit of carefree joy to every set.

A miniseries may be short, but they require jampacking incredible storytelling, character development, and entertainment into the little time we do have with the actors. Rice uses her time with us perfectly, leaving the viewer wanting season after season. She tackles Bailey’s desperation with a sense of honesty and rawness. “I think one of my favorite things about playing Bailey was how immediate her character is, you know, she is so thrown into the moment. And she has no time to breathe and sort of get time to herself. She’s constantly in crisis mode.”

During Rice’s seasoned acting career there have been both refreshing moments and challenging ones. She recalls filming a breakdown scene in Episode Five of Mare of Easttown when Siobhan confronts her mother about what she should have done differently. The vulnerable and heartwrenching scene struck home for both Rice and many viewers. “Getting into that headspace feels uncomfortable,” Rice recalls. “Because it’s not really a space that you want to live in for very long. Even the character doesn’t want to live in that space. It’s unbearable.” We have all been that restless teenager or had a difficult confrontation with a parental figure–it’s an organic yet sensitive experience. Rice personifies that agonizing moment with ease, of course at the cost of her own comfort while filming the scene. “It really made an impact on me because I connected with that scene, and it felt like a truly vulnerable moment of a child telling a parental figure that they should have been there when they weren’t.”

Our dreams are often conventional. Some want luxury, others love or happiness. What do these have in common? Comfort. We desire pleasantries and contentment. Rice couldn’t disagree more. She craves a challenge, the very opposite of comfort. She likes to test her limits and find new ways to better herself. Her dreams include everything but the ordinary. It translates all the way to her hopes for her acting career, “I would really love to do something that is more dance-heavy, or something that’s very physical that requires training. I think the preparation aspect of film and TV is what I really love, anything that requires me to learn a lot about something that I’ve never discovered before.”

Rice has already accomplished what many hope to in a decades-long career. Yet, she is humble and grateful, her demeanor is sweet and intentional, and there is not a hint of selfishness in the way she presents herself. Being in an industry that can often make you feel like a fish in a fishbowl can be strenuous for someone merely in their 20s, but Rice makes the absolute most of it all while inspiring those who religiously follow her. “The more I work with young people, the more I build up a community of working actors my age. We’re kind of united in that we have this experience of being a person in their 20s, trying to figure out where to live, and what projects to take. I think the more community I create, the more comfortable I feel moving in these spaces.” Rice’s influence as a young actor extends beyond her on-screen performance. She has taken it upon herself to create a tangible way for her fans to explore the media universe by creating a podcast called The Community Library, where Rice delves into her love of literature and takes her listeners along with her. “I wanted to create a space that made analyzing stories and talking about stories very accessible, not this highbrow literary thing you need to go to university for, because I didn’t go to university,” says Rice. “The way that I talk about and analyze stories is from reading and learning, both from other people online and with books.”

Rice will soon be able to add author to her list of many qualifications. She is writing a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in present-day Sydney and Hollywood with her mother Kathryn Rice, which is set to release in November. “Writing with someone else is easier because you have someone to hold you accountable. I found that writing is problem-solving and it’s really good to have someone else there to help you with that.”

A new book isn’t the only exciting new project around the corner. Although much of it remains hush-hush, Rice is elated about her upcoming role as Cady in Mean Girls from Paramount Pictures, a film adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name. The movie is still in production but is already receiving abuzz about Rice’s highly anticipated performance alongside co-stars Reneé Rapp, Auli’i Cravalho, and Jaquel Spivey. “There was no moment of like, ‘oh this isn’t what I thought it was gonna be.’ It was exactly what I wanted it to be,” she beams. “It was being in a movie musical. It was the best experience.

From writing, to acting, to singing, Rice’s days are more like thrilling itineraries. Most importantly Rice knows how and when to push herself. This year, she ponders not only what it means to be a star, but also what it means to experience simply being human. “I’ve been thinking a lot about boundaries and about burnout, and understanding when I’m too tired and understanding when to take a break. If I can only give 75% on any given day, that’s still technically 100% because that is the most I could do.” Perhaps we could all use a little break and a pause to fully evolve as people. We can thank Rice for the advice.


Articles & Interviews Gallery Photoshoots
FYC Emmy screening and Q&A of the Apple TV+ limited-series The Last Thing He Told Me
Posted by Veronique on Jun 11, 2023

Angourie attended the FYC Emmy screening and Q&A of the Apple TV+ limited-series The Last Thing He Told Me last week. Click on the gallery link below to see all new photos.

Events & Premieres Gallery
The Last Thing He Told Me episode 7 screencaps
Posted by Veronique on May 22, 2023

I added screencaps to the gallery of Angourie in the 7th episode of “The Last Thing He Told Me”. Click on the gallery links below to see all caps.

Gallery Screencaps The Last Thing He Told Me
1883 Magazine
Posted by Veronique on May 18, 2023

For Angourie Rice, everything comes back to stories.

Since making her film debut before even becoming a teen, Rice has worked on projects like the recent Spider-Man trilogy, Mare of Easttown, and now The Last Thing He Told Me where she stars opposite Jennifer Garner. The AppleTV+ and Hello Sunshine production is based on the #1 New York Times bestselling novel of the same name and tells the story of a step-mother, played by Garner, who develops an unexpected relationship with her step-daughter Bailey, played by Rice, after Bailey’s father suddenly disappears without a trace.

For Rice, it’s a project that merges a mix of her interests in one: books, storytelling, and projects that empower women to come together to create something special. Capturing Bailey’s teen angst and balancing her fraught mental state is something Rice does with ease; showcasing her ability to tap into the inner psyches of her characters to embody them fully rather than turning them into a caricature.

Storytelling doesn’t just drive her as an actress as she deftly selects roles that open up her own worldview, but also as an avid reader and writer herself. Her podcast The Community Library and her upcoming book — a collaboration with her mum, inspired by Pride and Prejudice called Stuck Up and Stupid — deepens her connection to storytelling, showing her the importance of highlighting the tales that aren’t told as often as they should be.

Sitting down with 1883 Magazine, Angourie Rice chats about her role in Apple TV+’s The Last Thing He Told Me, the process behind creating backstories for her characters, gravitating towards projects with women at the helm, and more.

This conversation does contain light spoilers.

It’s been two years since we last spoke and last time we talked about Mare of Easttown, the ending of Spider-Man, and starting adulthood. You started acting so young and it brought you “fame” at such a young age. When you look back at where you started, how would you describe the way you’ve grown and developed as an actress from then to now?

I think more about things now; I wonder if that’s for better or for worse. The older you get, the more you notice patterns in stories, in people, and in communities. Now that I’m older, I think more about what stories mean, how often we tell certain stories, how other ones get ignored, and what those stories mean to us as a culture. When I was younger, I didn’t think about that as much because you’re a kid and you don’t have to. I feel like that’s the difference now and that informs how I play characters as well while also informing what project I go for and what stories I find interesting.

I think you’re at such an interesting point in your career where you’ve been involved in a big blockbuster, you’ve starred in critically acclaimed shows, and you’ve had this really beautiful career progression. Do you spend a lot of time reflecting on your career so far?

Do I spend time reflecting? I don’t know [laughs]. I kind of forget things and I will be reminded of something and won’t believe that I did it or that I worked with a certain person. I think because each project that I’ve done is in its own bubble and its own place. I mean, when you travel, you usually film in cities that you’ve never been to before. You stay at a hotel and then you leave and never go back there again. They all kind of exist as little tiny points in time. Sometimes I think about it and it feels like a dream, like it didn’t really happen.

Do you look at them like chapters in a book?

Absolutely. It’s how I measure time as well because it all correlates or corresponds to high school or the pandemic or my years out of high school. I remember what I was doing in life, like high school or the pandemic, by remembering what project I was working on at the time.

Yeah, I remember we talked about you living in Philly while you were filming Mare of Easttown in the pandemic.

Yeah, we were in Philadelphia. We started filming late 2019 and then we were shut down in March of 2020. And then went back in September of 2020.

Back then, because of the pandemic, you had to sit with the character for nine months. With Bailey in The Last Thing He Told Me, was there anything that you did differently to flesh her out? There are similarities between the two.

Yeah, there are similarities. With Siobhan [Mare of Easttown] she had to become an adult really young. With Bailey, we see her still being treated like a child and asking everyone to treat her like an adult and to tell her the truth. They’re both young people who have gone through a traumatic event.

What’s different with Bailey, which was so intriguing to me, is that we see her go through it in real time. That was a different process to kind of live in that anxiety and nervousness of the unknown because that is where Bailey is for so much of the show. Since the show takes place over five days, everything feels so immediate and so present which is what I really liked about it and felt like I could do a lot to work with as an actor. What I liked about the process of creating that character was really breaking down every single scene and moment that she has to have this immediate reaction or response because she hasn’t had time to think things over. She hasn’t had time to sit with it, it’s all about that fight or flight response that she’s in the whole time.

You see her going through the motions when she’s watching those home movies at her Aunt’s house, it’s the first time she has a moment to process and you can see her mind going a million miles a minute.

That scene was really hard because it was difficult to just imagine someone experiencing that whole sequence because Bailey gains a family and loses them all over again. It was really tricky to have this sense of belonging and seeing yourself as a child with all these people who loved you and these people you called family, but then also at the same time having this really deep sadness because you don’t have that anymore. That was really hard, but it’s a moment that, for me, really defines who Bailey is for the rest of the show. There is a bittersweet pain of finally getting to know the truth and finally getting to the bottom of it, but it still doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t make everything better and it really hurts.

I know it’s the most recent thing you watched, so how has your perception of it changed as a viewer vs. acting in it?

What’s always strange about watching something that you’ve done is that it’s an edited version of it, it’s an edited collage of your life over the past five months. We did all of the location shoots at the end, so seeing what we filmed on the last day slotted into some scenes that we shot at the beginning was strange to watch back. When seeing it for the first time as a viewer, I felt sorry for Hannah in a way that I didn’t when I was playing Bailey. Bailey doesn’t feel sorry for Hannah, she disregards her completely. So watching it and seeing Jen’s beautiful performance and seeing her performance in scenes that I wasn’t there for, I really felt for her. That was funny as an audience member to feel that because I didn’t before when I was playing the character.

Although the series centres around the disappearance of Bailey’s father, its focus is on the connection and relationship of Bailey and her step-mother. Between this and Mare of Easttown, it seems like you gravitate to projects that explore the workings of close female relationships.

Absolutely. That’s my whole life. My whole life is relationships with women in my life, friends, family. So, it’s something that has always been there in the media, but you just have to look for it a little bit more. Women have been writing about their thoughts and feelings for a very long time. It just depends on how many people were listening at the time. So, because it’s just such a big part of my life, that’s what I want to tell stories about. That’s what I find really interesting and intriguing. Reese Witherspoon has built her whole production company around that idea of telling stories about women which I think is so fantastic and wonderful and I feel so fortunate to have worked with Hello Sunshine on this. It’s really inspiring to see women behind the camera as well. We had four female directors, a bunch of female producers, and I’ve never seen anything like it. It meant a lot to me.

Yeah, you’ve worked with incredibly esteemed actresses like Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, and now Jennifer Garner, and the set being full of female creatives behind-the-scenes must’ve been really empowering for you.

It was very inspiring. I think because it’s just the simplest thing of seeing things like that actually happening. You can believe in theory that things can happen but once you are on set and seeing all these women in roles of power and department heads, that made me feel like it’s possible. It’s not just some crazy idea. It can happen and it can work.

It’s very much a love story between Hannah and Owen, Owen and his daughter, and how both those stories — and the subsequent disappearance of Owen, the thing they shared — creates the space for Hannah and Bailey to connect. Obviously Owen trusts Hannah and sees something in her that eventually gets Bailey to break her walls down. What was it like first reading that in the script and then acting it out?

We were able to go through the scripts with Laura Dave and her husband, Josh Singer, who’s the showrunner and producer. We read through it together and made notes and talked through the dialogue. I think breaking it down scene by scene was really helpful. I annotate my scripts and pinpoint moments that I felt that Bailey opened up a bit. What was really exciting for me was building that journey. Bailey is so closed off and harsh in the first two episodes, but what’s exciting is that it gives us the foundation so that, when you get to the final episode, you see how far they’ve come. It’s really impactful and it really hits you. It really impacted me a lot, too. That transformation and that change was something that was so exciting for me and that was created by just combing through the script.

The scene in the finale where Hannah’s hand and you can see her ring and Bailey grabs it was so touching. It’s such a stark difference to the first episode where Bailey says “you taught me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all” in regards to her step mother. Is there a scene in particular that, when looking back, really sticks out to you?

I really loved that airplane scene. I think it was strange though, because we only had one day at the airport set. We were filming the end of the show in the middle of our filming schedule and it took a lot to get into that headspace. There was something so precious about it when I think back. Another scene that I love is the whole sequence of me and Jen running through Austin just because it was so hot. It was just sweltering. But to see it all cut together with the exciting music is so rewarding because when you’re doing it, it feels exhausting. It’s so hard and physically challenging. To see it come together was really rewarding.

What was your approach like fleshing out Bailey’s character? I know you had the book to reference, but was there anything else you did, read, or watched?

I didn’t make a playlist, but I did listen to a lot of Fleetwood Mac because it was mentioned in the script that she’s wearing a Fleetwood Mac shirt. I do wear one in the show. I also got into musicals because that is what she’s doing at school.

I saw a performance you did from Waitress that got cut!

Yeah, She Used To Be Mine which is really fun! I’m never sad when they cut things because there’s a reason why it didn’t fit, but that was so fun to do.

I love that you’re having these little musical moments in every project. You had one in Mare of Easttown and obviously there’s going to be tons in the Mean Girls musical film.

Right! It’s weird, these musical things just keep coming to me without me thinking about it. For The Last Thing He Told Me I did audition with a song. I sang Second Hand White Baby Grand from Smash, which I haven’t seen the show but my singing teacher put it on a Spotify playlist. If I’d known when I was doing The Last Thing He Told Me that the next project I’d be doing was musical, I probably would have approached it a little differently! [Laughs] I’m proud of my performance and my singing in The Last Thing He Told Me but it’s very different from an actual musical movie.

Now, just like last time, I need to discuss books with you. I love that you still run your podcast, The Community Library. What are you reading at the moment?

Let me grab it! I haven’t unpacked anything yet, it’s a mess in here. I just started reading On Beauty by Zadie Smith. I’m only 26 pages in but I’ve already found something to underline. This is my third Zadie Smith novel; I’ve read White Teeth and Swing Time. I also read her little essay collection about the pandemic which was amazing. So this is my third Zadie. I think she is already a favourite author but I don’t know how many books you have to read from one person [laughs]. I feel like three is like a good number.

What was the last book you loved?

I just bought it because I borrowed it from the library to read it — Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

Was that a movie?

They turned it into a TV show. This is the best book I’ve read all year. I can’t stop thinking about it. I bought a copy yesterday and went back and underlined and dug up all the things that I loved. It’s one of those books that as soon as I finished it, I went back to the first chapter and reread it and saw so many things that I just didn’t see. I wish I’d read it sooner, although maybe I wouldn’t have been able to. It was written in 2014. It’s about a pandemic that’s quite similar to Coronavirus, but it’s more deadly. It wipes out 98% of the population and it follows multiple characters before the “collapse” as they call it. It’s about how people survive in this post-pandemic world in communities without electricity and the same resources. Surprisingly, it’s mostly about actors and theatre.

Wow, close to home.

Yeah. I didn’t expect that going in. I knew it was kind of about that, but I just can’t stop thinking about it and talking about it.

I know you said you wish you read it sooner, but I’m one of those weird people that believe books find you when you need it.

That’s fair, honestly, because I don’t think I could have read something about the pandemic any earlier. To know that it was written before Coronavirus… So much of the stuff she got right.

If there was one book you wish you could re-read again for the first time with brand new eyes, what would it be?

Would it be Station Eleven? It’s hard because I just read it. My other thought was Virginia Woolf but reading Virginia for the first time feels like I’m not really reading it. I have to read it for a second time to fully understand it. So maybe not bad either. Maybe Pride and Prejudice, because I read that. I’ve known that story for such a long time and it’s one of my favourites. I read it with a friend recently who had never read it before. It was so cool to see her reactions and her predictions as well because she didn’t know the story. I want that experience again.

Yes! And you’re releasing your first book, Stuck Up and Stupid, with your mum and it’s a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Obviously as an actress so much of what you make is someone else’s creative vision, so did you find this to be a fun playground to explore?
It was so much fun. It was so much problem solving, especially because we’re basing it on a text that already exists. The framework was already there for us which is great, but putting it into a modern world requires problem solving of things that don’t make sense anymore because of technology, politics, societal attitudes, and things like that. We had to figure out what event would elicit the same emotions or the same sort of reactions from people in a modern context. I loved writing it. I loved having the creative freedom. I just can’t wait for people to read it.

We gushed about folklore and evermore last time so now it’s time to gush over Midnights — favourite songs?

As I’ve been talking to you I’ve realized you have the All Too Well movie poster behind you! [Laughs] I can’t pick just one.

It depends on the mood.

It really does! I will say, from the first listen and continuously after, Mastermind has been one of my favourites. A favourite that has grown on me from the first listen that I didn’t love but now is one of my favourite songs is Bejeweled.

It’s a very freeing song.

I think because you can hear Jack Antonoff behind it. I also love his version of Anti-Hero. Bejewelled is just like, “No one can touch me, I’m awesome.” I just love that. It’s an uplifting bop. I also love Sweet Nothing.

I love Sweet Nothing. My friends call it my song because I can’t stop talking about it.

Do you like It’s Nice To Have A Friend?

I do! It sounds like a little love poem.

Yeah and that’s why I love it! It’s underrated. Those two songs are like sister songs.

Well, in two years time we can hopefully talk about more books, more Taylor Swift songs, and your next project.

Yes! It’s always a pleasure. Hopefully it’s sooner this time!


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Official Angourie Rice Links
Current Projects
The Last Thing He Told Me

Angourie Rice as Bailey

A woman who forms an unexpected relationship with her 16-year-old stepdaughter while searching for the truth about why her husband has mysteriously disappeared.

Mean Girls

Angourie Rice as Cady Heron

An adaptation of Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond, and Nell Benjamin's Broadway musical based on the popular 2004 film comedy.