A few years ago, Anna Kendrick starred in HBO Max’s Love Life, in which she portrayed a serial monogamist (Darby) who finds herself in a batch of unfulfilling relationships, including one with a sophisticated guy portrayed by Scoot McNairy. Then came a particularly awful marriage to a jerk named Magnus (Nick Thune) who was not only bad with money but emotionally abusive. Darby ended up getting married in Season 2, although the details of that relationship weren’t too clear. We do know she was drinking a lot at her wedding, but moving onto other characters with bad relationship experiences, Anna picked up a role in a film, Alice, Darling that hit close to home.
While speaking to PEOPLE, Anna revealed how the script — about a woman who finds herself trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship that greatly concerns her friends — got passed her way from her rep, who was aware that Anna had a “personal experience with emotional abuse and psychological abuse.” Anna wasn’t sure whether she should take the role (when she received the script, her experience had happened “very recently”), but in the end, she found it telling that she found the film “at that moment in my life.” It’s a sobering thought to realize that abuse can not only be invisible, but it really can happen to anyone, even an Oscar-nominated actress who outwardly seems to have a fantastic life. Anna unloaded what happened to PEOPLE:
“I was in a situation where I loved and trusted this person more than I trusted myself. So when that person is telling you that you have a distorted sense of reality and that you are impossible and that all the stuff that you think is going on is not going on, your life gets really confusing really quickly. And I was in a situation where, at the end, I had the unique experience of finding out that everything I thought was going on was in fact going on. So I had this kind of springboard for feeling and recovery that a lot of people don’t get.”
Anna went on to describe “the hardest task of my adult life” as figuring out really “what happened” in that relationship.
In addition, it sounds as though Anna found some authenticity in Alice, Darling, given that she mentions how she’d seen “a lot” of movies about relationships with abusive or toxic components, and none of them really resonated with her and helped her recognize when it happened to her. And whew. It sounds like Alice, Darling will be a heavy viewing experience but also an invaluable one when it premieres this weekend at TIFF. In other Anna news, she’s also gearing up for her directorial debut in The Dating Game, in which she will also star. This shall be a true-crime thriller about a serial killer (Rodney Alcala, who died in 2021) who ended up on the 1970s show of the same name. Again, whew.