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Following 2017’s Get Out and her first leading role in a feature film, Allison Williams plays cello prodigy Charlotte, who forms a relationship with another talented cellist, Lizzie (Dear White People’s Logan Browning), in the new Netflix thriller The Perfection. When they embark on a trip to explore rural China, a chain of events begins that leads both women to explore their troubling past and their uncertain future.
“I started reading [the script] and I kept trying to predict what I thought was going to happen,” Williams said. “I was so wrong the entire time. I had no idea where things were going. It was just exciting in that way. I truly could not predict where it was going.”
Williams also explained that she couldn’t get a gist of “who Charlotte was.” “I knew I was being shown sides of her without being exposed to the entire character throughout the script. All of those moments onscreen that feel shocking were shocking to read as well. I thought that was a good sign and it intrigued me,” she said.
After the first act of the film, the plot twists and turns, showing not just Charlotte’s point of view, but Lizzie’s as well. “I just love what that says about perspective and point of view, that the same events can be seen through two different lenses and tell a completely different story about what’s going on when you’re dealing with people that aren’t always being totally straight with either the person they’re with or the audience.”
While the trailer for The Perfection might seem like this is an all-too-familiar role for Williams, she’s learned that she can use her public perception as an actress to her advantage. “The whole idea is that at the beginning you — which I’m hoping Get Out helped with — from the minute you see Charlotte onscreen you’re like, ‘I don’t trust that person,'” Williams said.
Playing an untrustworthy character is something that Williams admits she’s “drawn to.” “I seem to be drawn to people who have layers to both their personalities and to their motives and actions at any given time. I think that’s one of the things that’s always been fun to me about acting is being able to play someone who might just seem duplicitous or who is actually duplicitous or at least who isn’t always an accurate representation at all times of who they are because I don’t know any human beings like that.”
The last act of the film culminates in an intense physical altercation, which is something Williams hasn’t tackled as an actress before. “There was definitely a catharsis to it because our mission in that moment was something that felt very earned in my thinking of Charlotte and how she’s feeling, as wild and insane as it is,” Williams said. “For that last shot, the description of that shot in the script was the thing that cemented my wanting to do it because I think it’s so symbolic and it’s a very striking and arresting image that I couldn’t get out of my head and I think is hard to forget.”
When asked why she seems to be drawn to these dark roles, Williams isn’t quite sure. “My shrink is trying to figure this out too,” she said with a laugh. “I think that the characters are just crazy and weird and interesting and complicated in a way, because the genre allows for so much you can really stretch it to the limits.”
The Perfection can be seen now on Netflix.
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