Jacqueline Bisset Stayed in Character While Meeting 'Asher' Co-Star Famke Janssen
Bisset plays Dora, the dementia-addled mother to Janssen's Sophie in the film.
Jacqueline Bisset has been in the entertainment industry for decades, starring in numerous classic films such as Murder on the Orient Express, Rich and Famous and The Deep. But her latest role in Michael Caton-Jones’ Asher, playing Dora, the dementia-addled mother to Famke Janssen’s Sophie, is one she says has been “lurking” in her since she was young.
“I’ve done a few glamorous [roles] and I’ve always enjoyed them a lot,” the veteran actress told The Hollywood Reporter In Studio. “But this one was a character that was lurking in me. It was lurking since childhood, actually.”
She continued: “I spent a lot of time with this character and I’ve been around dementia a great deal in my life. Those moments when somebody doesn’t recognize you, so it was meaningful to me to just go there.”
Bisset went on to discuss working with co-star Famke Janssen, who plays her caretaker in the movie, and explained how she told producers she didn’t want to contact the younger actress before stepping on set.
“I don’t know her in the film. I don’t want to get that kind of familiarity. I don’t want to get to be friends, I’m going to stay out,” she recalled telling the producers. “Just look at her like she’s a person I don’t know.”
But when it came to meeting for the first time, Bisset stepped into the mind of her bad-tempered, “nasty” character Dora.
“The first day I met [Janssen] in the makeup department, she looked at me slightly sort of scared and tentative ... and it sounds cruel, but I gave her a look, kind of in-character," said the actress. "It was for my own need. I needed to stay there, that place, and I’m not normally like that at all. I’m not a method actor.”
Continued Bisset: “She was very, very sweet and very feminine in those moments ... and there I was being nasty to her, but I appreciated her work. I appreciated how she managed to not snap at me.”
Watch the video above to hear Bisset also discuss working with Ron Perlman, her secret for a long-lasting career and more.