In a supporting role in the film “Fireflies in the Garden,” actress Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix) plays Kelly Hanson, the ex-girlfriend of Michael Taylor (Ryan Reynolds), a writer who must return home to face his estranged father when tragedy strikes the family. Kelly, whose relationship ended with Michael because of her alcohol addiction, stands by him during his emotionally-demanding visit home.
During an interview with me, Moss, 44, talked about how she creates a backstory for her characters and how she avoided being typecast after starring in three “Matrix” films.
What drew you to your role in the film?
The thing that drew me to “Fireflies in the Garden” was the script. I really wanted to be a part of it. It was such a powerful script. I have a support role in the film, but my desire to be a part of it was based on the whole story.
We don’t get too much information on the relationship between Kelly and Michael. We find out an alcohol addiction has come between them, but we don’t get much else. Is that background story something you work out yourself before you start shooting the movie?
Yeah, I do and I also talked to the director and he shared things that he wanted me to know. That back story is yours. That’s sort of private work you do on your own.
Other than talking with the director, how do you actually create that story?
I write it down. I think about it. I go for a walk. I start to occupy a character. Suddenly, I’m in the kitchen and I’m cooking and things are coming up. I sit down and I do a lot of writing. But it also manifests in other ways. I’ll go for a hike and I’ll start thinking about it. Questions will come up in the moment. It opens up a whole floodgate of thinking.
This film has been finished for three years, but is just getting released. I know that part of the filmmaking process is out of your control, but as an actress is the waiting process difficult?
No, not for me, but I’m sure it is for the director because it’s his project and he’s been living and breathing it. But as an actor, you’re usually doing other things. I have kids. I kind of just trust things happen the way they’re supposed to happen. I don’t have that pressure, since I’m not a director or a producer.
So, as the months pass and then a couple of years, you never think to yourself, “I wonder what ever happened to that film ‘Fireflies in the Garden?’”
Not so much. When I heard they were coming out with it now and put a final polish on it and I saw it again, I was really glad they took the time. I think they brought it to a level that is really powerful. I really loved the movie. I loved everyone’s performances in it. I thought it was beautifully shot. I though it bridged the past and present in a really dynamic way. I thought it was great. I think people are really going to enjoy this movie.
So, when you see the final product and see how you were three years ago, do you see an evolution in yourself as an actress?
And in my life, too. You think, “Oh, yeah, my kids were this age and I was there and this was happening.” It’s like a breathing journal of your life.
Over the course of your career, do you think you’ve been able to avoid getting typecast into roles based on your popular character in “The Matrix” franchise? I mean, sometimes actors who break out in something so mainstream just can’t seem to shed that role. How have you been able to do that?
I just never believed it. I think that would’ve happened if I continued to do roles like that. I never really believe in typecasting. I just though, “You know, that’s not for me.”
It’s been more than a decade since you starred in “Memento.” Looking back now, what has a film with so much depth like that done for your career in comparison to something more mainstream like “The Matrix?”
I’m so thrilled I was in that movie. I knew it was going to be interesting after I read it. I did it because of the script and I met the director (Christopher Nolan) and liked him so much. It was a pleasure to be in and I’m glad it did so well. But I don’t think of my career like that, so I don’t know what it did for me or what it didn’t do for me. I don’t really think like that.
So, you’re never really waiting around for that next big role to come your way?
Yeah, I mean, with “Memento,” people were telling my manager and I, “Come on already. We don’t understand it. Who’s going to go see that movie?” So, you never know. Look at “Disturbia.” “Disturbia” was huge. Who knew? With “The Matrix,” I knew it was an interesting story, but who knew it was going to be so big. You just can never tell.