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The breakthrough: Stage actress Carrie Coon gets her first movie with 'Gone Girl'

Tony-nominated actress Carrie Coon had an odd feature film debut with David Fincher's "Gone Girl," in which she plays Ben Affleck's sarcastic sister.

Carrie Coon attends the premiere of "Gone Girl" at the opening night of the New York Film Festival. Credit: Getty Images Carrie Coon attends the premiere of "Gone Girl" at the opening night of the New York Film Festival.
Credit: Getty Images

Who: Carrie Coon
Where you’ve seen her: On stage in shows with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, such as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” in which she played Honey opposite her husband, actor/playwright Tracy Letts. She’s also Nora on “The Leftovers.”
Where she is now: Playing Margo, sister of Ben Affleck’s Nick, in the film of Gillian Flynn’s bestseller “Gone Girl” — her first feature length film.

How she first came across the novel: “My husband and I were doing ‘Virginia Woolf’ on Broadway and he picked it up. We always bring books with us. He read it in a few days and said, ‘I think that you should read this book.’ He kept asking me questions and we had some great conversations about the dynamics and the psychology. There is a lot of psychology going on. I think that Gillian articulated something about women that nobody really put their finger on.”

Her chemistry with Affleck: “David [Fincher, director] said they were looking to find someone to keep up with Ben. Ben’s really smart, really quick. David needed someone to match that. And fortunately for me that’s how my family reacts to each other — with this sarcasm. Ben and I fell into rhythm easily.”

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Affleck in real life: “He has a very big life, so you never know how people like that are going to be. But once we were all in Missouri for a few weeks and we were all around each other he got to loosen up around us. We really had a great time. He didn’t have a sister, do I think it was really fun for him to embrace being an older brother for a while. He’s a really good guy — he just happens to be a celebrity.”

Tony-nominated actress Carrie Coon plays Margo, Ben Affleck's sister, in "Gone Girl." Credit: Merrick Morton Tony-nominated actress Carrie Coon plays Margo, Ben Affleck's sister, in "Gone Girl."
Credit: Merrick Morton

Her take on Margo (and Nick): “I can only see him the way she sees him, which is someone that she deeply loves and is deeply loyal to and has made some mistakes. I don’t or never want to confront the possibility that the people I love are capable of terrible things. The reality is that all human beings are capable of really terrible things. To deny that is to deny what it is to be a human being, which is to be an animal.”

Fincher’s notorious habit for doing many, many takes: “I’d rather be doing 50 takes than sitting in a trailer. David is very respectful of his actors’ time. If you’re on set you’re working. And for my first film, I wanted as many chances as I could to get it right. You know David isn’t going to abandon something until he does get it. Very often at the end of the day you’re not going back to your room saying, ‘Oh, I wish I had tried this.’ Chances are you tried it. We did start a pool — like, ‘I think this is 27 or 28.’ Every now and then you get a 5 or an 8. When you get one of those it’s like career making.”

Fincher’s average number of takes: “I would say as in the 20s — probably like 23.”

“Gone Girl”’s feminism: “Do you realize that before the premiere we started getting ready three hours before? And it takes a village. We have hair and makeup people coming in. Clothes, we have to borrow. Then we’re going to this premiere and talking about how what it is to be women in the world. And here we are playing the game while we are talking about this film. It’s not going anywhere. The irony is not lost on me but I think it’s kind of unbelievable.”

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge

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