Elizabeth Debicki makes up one-fourth of the female-fronted cast of Steve McQueen’s heist thriller Widows. The film, from 20th Century Fox, puts together a diverse group of women (Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Debicki and Cynthia Erivo) who, in planning and executing a scheme in the backdrop, find their own voices.

Widows
20th Century Fox

“When I first read Alice I felt deep, deep compassion for her — I’m half Polish, Alice is second-generation Polish — but more than that I felt that the way she read on the page was incredibly authentic,” said Debicki, speaking recently onstage during Deadline’s annual The Contenders Los Angeles awards-season event.

Alice, who starts out as a timid pushover, experiences the biggest transformation throughout the film. “When we first meet Alice, she’s in a really dire situation which has become very normal to her, which is this trap of domestic abuse and violence,” Debicki said.

“She grows in this incredible way, and I suppose I just felt this kind of connection to her. In my career, I’ve now done enough work that I know how rare it is that something grabs you in that visceral way and you feel a possessiveness about it, and that’s a beautiful place to start working.”

Widows, written by McQueen and Gone Girl scribe Gillian Flynn, is currently playing in theaters.

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