In Oscar-winning Spotlight filmmaker Tom McCarthy’s suspenseful new movie Stillwater, which world premiered at this month’s Cannes Film Festival, Abigail Breslin plays Allison, a young American woman serving time in a Marseille prison for the murder of her girlfriend while studying in France, a crime she insists she did not commit. When her estranged conservative religious father Bill (Oscar-winner Matt Damon) visits her from Oklahoma the strained history between them is immediately apparent.
Abigail Breslin, who was Oscar-nominated for her unforgettable turn in 2006’s Little Miss Sunshine, recently spoke with The Queer Review’s editor James Kleinmann about the background work that she did for role in Stillwater. “It’s always helpful to have some sort of backstory or baseline for the character and what she’s going through”, says Breslin. “It helps when you meet her to understand what her mindset is. We had a lot of talks mostly about their dynamic growing up and where all the mistrust and skepticism stems from.”
“She’s 26-years-old at this point”, adds Breslin, “and has had a long history of her dad really not being super there for her and I think she probably had a little bit of a hard time being different and growing up in a small town”.
When it comes to her character’s LGBTQ+ identity Breslin told The Queer Review, “We didn’t want to really make the character or their storyline solely about her sexuality. I think it’s important to have relationships of all sorts in film without it being solely about that. We don’t really go too much into whether she’s lesbian, or she’s bisexual, or really what her orientation is. She fell in love with somebody out there and it didn’t end up going well.”
On returning to the South of France, where the film was shot, Breslin told The Queer Review, “When we were filming the movie we had all talked about how great it would be to get to premiere at Cannes and then when the pandemic happened we really didn’t know what was going to happen with the film or if that would even be a possibility. So we were all a little bit overwhelmed and really excited that we were finally there and getting to show everybody the film and to see it with an audience.”