Friday, June 5, 2009

Ain't It Cool News Interviews Olivia Thirlby

Mr. Beaks from Ain't It Cool News, a film website run by Harry Knowles, caught up with Olivia Thirlby, age 22, for a brief phone interview about 'What Goes Up' and other projects. In the article, Beaks reminds readers that although at least one magazine has already called Thirlby a "next generation star" that she is far too talented and way too young for this to be her make-or-break moment. We agree.

In 'What Goes Up,' a movie Beaks calls crammed with incident, Thirlby still manages to set herself apart as the character Tess. According to Beaks, what makes Tess so interesting is that she attempts to be disaffected, yet represses just as much pain as anyone else in the film. The article is the first primary cast interview to be published. Here is an excerpt as it relates to what Beaks calls a "lovely performance" by Thirlby.

On The Phone With Olivia Thirlby

Beaks: Your character, Tess, is an outsider within a group of outcasts.
Thirlby: She is. She definitely is the least liked, I think. I don't think she has any real bond with any of her classmates. She probably manifests that in herself; I think she's a bit surly and unpleasant to be around, sort of a buzzkill. I think also she's keeping such dark secrets inside her, and that probably forms a sort of schism between her and other people. People can't even ask where she is or where she's coming from, so to save herself the pain, she probably just puts a divide between herself and everyone around her. She's an incredibly upset person. (laughs)

Beaks: Probably the least happiest person you've ever played.
Thirlby: She is definitely the singularly most unhappy, miserable, depressed and dark character that I've ever played.

Beaks: Those are fun to play once in a while.
Thirlby: Yeah, I wouldn't say "fun". Maybe "necessary". You learn something, I think. I learned plenty about my own recovery process because Tess weighed me down a little bit; it actually took me a few months before I felt normal again. That was my first experience with anything like that.

Beaks: When it came to relating to your fellow cast members, did you get kind of method with it and try to keep your distance from them on set? How into it did you get?
Thirlby: (laughs) I wish I could say I was that method, but I was working with a group of people who were too wonderful to ignore. I can't say that when I was on location I ignored the people I was working with. As far as for when I was on set, I didn't do much socializing. I would usually hole up in my trailer and draw these really awful, dark sketches about abortions and dead teachers and stuff like that. Because Tess is an artist, I had a sketchpad and I tried to draw stuff a lot. So I would spend hours in my trailer making these really dark, horrific drawings and writing poetry that was really bleak. (laughs)

Beaks: (Laughing) That sounds pretty method to me!
Thirlby: Yeah, but at the end of the day when I took off eyeliner... I mean, it's really fun to be working in a really large crew of young people who are all so wonderful. Josh Peck, of course, is my old buddy. We actually found out that THE WACKNESS got into Sundance while we were working on [WHAT GOES UP]. And Max Hoffman... there are a whole slew of amazing Canadian actors, and we all spent quite a lot of time together.

For the rest of the interview, please visit Ain't It Cool News. The interview includes Thirlby's thoughts on the independent films, a chance run in with Judah Friedlander, and her next appearance in a film with Jeff Daniels and Lauren Graham, which is due out later this month.


  1. Great interview!!
    I loved reading it.
    Olivia is very talented and delivers an amazing performance in the film :)

  2. Glad you enjoyed it Khizer!

    The Insider Team

  3. Really god interview. I think i'll like her character... my type of person lool

    everyday you make me more eager to see it... U___U'

    this waiting is getting waaaaaaaaaaaay too long :(

    thanks for posting :)

  4. how is the movie doing, money wise? any place I can find that info? or can you tell me..

  5. @Mikey

    We'll be asking the producers that same question today. :)


    Yes, the Internet makes everything feel longer! :D

    Our best to both of you.

    The Insider Team

  6. great!! I cant wait to hear from you..