Within SMILE lies this firm thread that not many of the people surrounding Rose fully trust what she’s going through, and the constant sense of paranoia that it creates becomes an unnerving watch for the viewer. STARBURST talks with Sosie Bacon (MARE OF EASTTOWN), Jessie T. Usher (THE BOYS), and Kyle Gallner (SCREAM) to dig into some of the trust issues and dynamics that the movie projects, whilst avoiding spoiler territory!
STARBURST: Parker Finn [Writer / director] describes Smile as an “escalating nightmare”, which is pretty accurate, however, how would you all personally describe the tone and overall feel of the movie to someone that’s about to watch it for the first time?
Kyle Gallner: I would call it a 90-minute-long panic attack!
Jessie T. Usher: I feel like I’m on the spot! For the overall tone, I feel like it’s just like a building doom. It’s like an inevitable doom.
Kyle: It has a building sense of dread!
Sosie Bacon: I also feel like the last time I watched it was also with an audience, and I felt like actually, the tension was relieved with slight humour, but it wasn’t like, too on the nose humour.
Kyle: When you’re so scared, that’s the release. The laughter is the thing that kind of gets you out of it.
With Trevor, it can feel like maybe he doesn’t trust or believe in Rose. Is that fair to say Jessie, and also, how fun was that element to work on as an actor?
Jessie: That was my favourite element of this character, but it’s not fair to say that he doesn’t trust or believe her. He wants to trust and believe her, his intention is to trust and believe her. He loves and cares for her, and he can see that there’s something wrong, he just wants to know, what it is, so that he can help. When he doesn’t know what it is, and he doesn’t feel like he is of any use, he starts reaching for different things, for somebody to bridge the gap that’s between the two of them, and it starts to almost get personal, and the gap gets further and further, for reasons that honestly don’t even seem like they come from whatever this experience is that Rose is having. So for Trevor he gets further and further away from her because of a lot of things that they can’t control, but I feel like at the root of it, his intention is still to be there for her, he just doesn’t know how too.
Then with Kyle and Sosie, it feels like Joel trusts Rose maybe a bit more than everyone else in the movie. Would you two agree with that, and also, what do you think that this dynamic brings to the overall balance of the movie?
Kyle: Yeah I think the approach between those two dynamics are completely different. Joel comes from a place of, he is just going to help. He doesn’t need proof, he doesn’t need these things, he knows Rose is in trouble, and that’s all that matters. That’s the most important thing for Joel, is making sure that Rose is OK, or how to help Rose.
Sosie: We talked a lot about this actually. He shares in the darkness with her, and it’s like, they’re not together any more. So there has to be some sort of a reason why someone seeing her that much, is probably too much for her, and she wants to cover, and be with somebody who just maybe isn’t as willing to go there with her. I don’t think that either is right or wrong, I just think that she knows who to go to, when she needs someone to believe her. Like we all do sometimes. So that shared history came into play a lot. Like, why did they break up, etc.
Kyle: And those two probably met when they were younger, and probably went through some serious growing pains with each other, I think the relationship that they shared at that point in their lives is very different than the relationship Rose is in now.