“Most people don’t show their dark side,” says Amy Adams, explaining why she was attracted to the role of Camille Preaker, a self-mutilating, sex-addicted, alcoholic newspaper reporter in the new Foxtel series Sharp Objects – based on the bestselling book by Gillian Flynn.
“There’s something freeing about playing somebody who’s a mess. But the depth of pain that she’s constantly in is tricky. I felt like I had to not back away from it because so many people have a personal experience with the book,” says Adams, who will no doubt garner an Emmy nod for the role.
It would be too easy to attribute Adams’ potential for dark stories to a peripatetic childhood (her father was in the army) and a devout Mormon upbringing that came to a halt when her parents divorced. Adams was 11 at the time, living in Castle Rock, Colorado, the middle child of seven whose close bond mitigated the collateral damage.
“Growing up in a fractured family, the fractures start so much earlier than the actual divorce. That changes who you are. If I were alone, that would be a totally different experience. But I can bear witness constantly with my siblings. You feel validated. You know what I mean? I’m not crazy – just a little sad from time to time,” she says.
Adams, 43, is adept at channeling her darker shades into her on-screen performances, having starred as the Lady Macbethian wife of a cult leader in The Master (2012) and a swindling siren in American Hustle (2013).
“There’s so much truth in the darkness and the sadness,” Adams says, “and I’m willing to explore it now in a different way. Before, I thought people wouldn’t like me or they would think I was crazy. Now I know I can navigate my own personal darkness and it won’t consume me. In my work, I’m able to visit that part of me without having to live there. I don’t have to build a house and move in."
Read more in the new issue of marie claire starring Amy Adams – out Thursday.
Sharp Objects is airing on Foxtel’s Showcase.