Early on, Morley’s decision to do so left those close to her scratching their heads. “When I told people—before I did it, when I was writing it—they were like, ‘You, doing Martin Amis?’ They were saying, ‘Why don’t you do a female author?’ And I’m like, ‘But I’m really interested in this book,’” the filmmaker recalled, sitting down with Clarkson yesterday at Deadline’s Toronto Studio. “It felt really exciting, and at some point, it felt like I was rescuing the characters from the pages of the book. It became quite strange. I was dreaming of them like they were mine—and in fact, they are mine.”
With a cast including Jacki Weaver, Aaron Tveit, James Caan, Mamie Gummer and Toby Jones, Out of Bluecenters on Clarkson’s Mike Hoolihan, a detective who is called to investigate the murder of a leading astrophysicist and black hole expert, finding her views of the universe and herself destabilized in the process. While the themes of Amis’s novel are front and center in Morley’s film, she calls the film a “radical adaptation” of the novel. “I know people get quite torn up about their favorite books being adapted, and I thought, I don’t want to describe the book,” Morley told Deadline. “The book is a brilliant entity in its own right. I want to do something else with it.”
Signing on to the project, Clarkson appreciated the ability of Morley’s film to stand on its own, in a complementary relationship with its source material, and the “sheer power and complexity of this woman” that she was asked to portray. “We don’t often get to play these characters, especially women, as we age in this industry. We’re rarely called upon to play really complex and masculine and determined characters that have nothing to do with a husband, a partner, a child,” the actress explained. “I was just knocked out by it because I’ve often played so many characters that are defined by the people around them. Mike is defined by herself, and that’s it.”
To hear more from Clarkson about the painful “soul-searching” the part required, click above.