For Jake Scott, taking on American Woman as his latest feature came down to a strong connection to the material at hand, as well as the film’s central character—a woman going through hell. A director known for films including Welcome to the Rileys who happens to be the eldest son of Ridley Scott, Scott’s latest drama centers on Deb (Sienna Miller), a woman raising her young grandson after her daughter goes missing.

“[It] activated lots of things in me as a dad and as a filmmaker,” Scott told Deadline about the script from Brad Ingelsby (Out of the Furnace). “I grew up that weird kid that didn’t like Star Wars. I liked Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore growing up or Kramer vs. Kramer. So there was a realism about it that was really attractive to me.”

For Miller, who stars opposite Christina Hendricks, Aaron Paul and Will Sasso, there was an immediate attraction to Deb and the brutal journey the film put her through. “Whoever Deb is at the beginning of this film, she is a different woman at the end,” the actress said, appearing alongside her director and co-stars. “She faces horrible adversity, she has the most unimaginable tragedy happen to her, and every knock that she receives—which come frequently—she gets back up and she carries on. What’s so beautiful about the indomitable spirit of humanity is that in spite of all of this tragedy, people carry on.”

A celebration of a woman’s bravery and resilience in spite of everything life throws at her, American Woman was for Hendricks the kind of material that actors are always looking for, that is fundamentally character-driven, diving deep into its central relationships. “That’s why we do what we do, is because we love to get inside people’s lives and explore that stuff,” the actress reflected. “This script just screamed it, so it felt very lucky to have that kind of material.”

To hear more from the film’s cast, as Miller discusses her research and preparation for the role of Deb, click above.

Deadline Studio at TIFF 2018 presented by eOne. Special thanks to sponsor Watford Group, and partners Calii LoveLove Child Social, and Barocco Coffee.