In "The Truth About Emanuel," British actress Kaya Scodelario takes on a troubled young woman whose own problems are put into perspective by the arrival of a new neighbor (Jessica Biel), a seemingly normal single mother treating a doll like a living baby. The whole thing was a bit of a head-trip, which is exactly how Scodelario likes it.
Were there any aspects about Emanuel's personal history that you got to create for yourself?
I wanted to go on set without doing a lot of research and without planning out too much. I wanted to make it a lot more instinctual because she's a young woman going through problems and I'm a young woman going through stuff. I wanted to just live in it for a little bit.
It must be fun playing that moment when you realize you're talking to a crazy person.
Yeah, I know, it's great, isn't it? What do you do? It's that kind of fight-or-flight moment. And when we did the test screenings, it was really interesting to see people's reactions. A lot of people laughed the first time they see Jessica playing with the baby and doing the animal noises and stuff like that — because it's funny and it's crazy and it's strange — but I had to try to see it from a point of view where Emanuel was trying to protect this woman. She would do anything to protect her and to keep her happy, and if that meant going along with this really weird situation, that's what she was going to do.
Is this the most underwater photography you've done in a project?
Definitely. I don't ever want to go into water again. I haven't showered for the last year. [Laughs] It was my favorite part of the film, actually, the underwater stuff. It was such a cool experience and something I never thought I'd do. We filmed in — is it Long Island? It's the place where Snoop Dogg is from, I can't remember what it's called. Just outside of Los Angeles.
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That's it, Long Beach! It was there, and it was a 20-foot-deep water tank. They built the bedroom set, put it on a crane and slowly sunk it into the water as I was in the set. It was crazy, I had to learn to SCUBA dive and use a respirator and equalize my ears and all of these things, and it was a really good experience.