Elisabeth Moss only had a supporting turn in “Listen Up Philip,” last year’s dark comedy about a writer (Jason Schwartzman) who dumps his girlfriend (Moss) as he achieves some success. But it didn’t take long for she and filmmaker Alex Ross Perry to reunite and with a bigger role. In “Queen of Earth,” Moss plays Catherine who, reeling from both a break-up and the suicide of her father, heads off for some R&R with a friend (Katherine Waterston) at a summer home. There she gets worse. It was a passion project for both Perry and Moss, who also served as a producer — her first such gig.
This is a movie about dysfunction, but it’s made by people who seem to work together well and trust each other, in part due to working together in the past. In addition to you two working together again, you’re also reuniting with cinematographer Sean Price Williams and editor Robert Greene. How does that trust help facilitate on something that is, for you, a new type of film?
Alex Ross Perry: I’m happy to focus the conversation on how this movie came to be and what it meant to make it. This is a movie that couldn’t exist, practically, without trust. To me, that’s how you make work that pushes yourself further, and the end result is everyone’s going to the next step together, just because there’s no pressure and there’s no judgment. That’s a great way to look at how a movie like this gets made the way it is.
Elisabeth Moss: What was cool for me was being involved from the very beginning, which has never happened before, and having a say in some stuff. I had a voice that was heard and listened to. It was the first time I ever watched the first cut of something, and the first time I gave notes. I was like, “They’re not going to listen to anything, it’s probably stupid.” [Laughs] But they took two of the notes, right?
Perry: Two of the three!
Moss: And that made me feel really good. People always say, “It was such a collaboration.” But that’s sometimes bulls—. This was a real collaboration. It felt like we were making something we both wanted to make and we both wanted to see.