'Sharp Objects' Premiere: Stars Talk Honoring the Silently Wounded, Embracing Female Empowerment

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
From left: Gillian Flynn, Amy Adams, Patricia Clarkson and Marti Noxon.

"We’re showing the good, the bad and the ugly and we’re taking charge."

There may be a darkness that exists within HBO’s new series, Sharp Objects, but the cast and the crew attended the red carpet premiere in Los Angeles on Tuesday night hoping to reassure that a light is always found at the end of the tunnel. 

The series, adapted from Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn's 2006 debut novel, centers around Camille Preaker (Amy Adams), a journalist who returns to her Missouri hometown to uncover the mystery of two murdered young girls. Though engulfed in a mystery, Adams' Preaker struggles with her inner demons and wounds from self-harm, something the faces behind the project hope brings awareness to their audience.

“In a way it sounds odd, but I hope they take comfort from it (the story),” Flynn told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think Camille is someone who's undergone a lot of psychological pain and out of all the characters I’ve created, Camille’s the one that people that talk to me the most about. … I think people can really connect with her and really root for her.”

In the series, another mystery of unraveling the twisted dynamics between Adams’ Preaker, mother Adora (Patricia Clarkson) and sister Amma (Eliza Scanlen) proves to be more sinister and calculated than many may have presumed. Though a menacing dynamic, Australian newcomer Scanlen views the core of the series as not a mystery but rather about family that shines light on "what happens behind closed doors." 

“It’s about … a multi-generational family dealing with trauma, and we see what happens behind closed doors. I think that’s a very delicate topic to explore, hence why it’s never really explored,” Scanlen told THR. “Hopefully this show and the trauma that we see and the coping mechanisms that people use to overcome their trauma, hopefully it will open up conversations to mental health and mental health awareness and that’s all I could ever hope for.”

Showrunner and executive producer Marti Noxon shared the same sentiments, aware that the series touches on heavy issues that can relate to those whom have suffered, but also equally honors the voices being raised in the current era of female empowerment. 

Noxon said: “To me, what was so interesting about all the characters … there’s so much anger, so much back-channeling and infighting, but it’s all done with this civility that feels really poisonous. … The issue of anger that, a lot of the time, I feel like women don’t really have agency with that, we’re not really supposed to have it, so because we don’t claim it then it ends up coming out in these really damaging ways.” 

Though it's heavy to witness Adams’ character struggle throughout the series, Noxon found her story eye-opening to those who may feel that remaining silently wounded is the only way to cope. “What I hope people take from it is that if you don’t acknowledge these things and find a healthy way to express them, they’re going to come and get you.” 

EP Jessica Rhoades, who Noxon described as the “glue” that held the series together in a recent THR cover story, found Adams’ character’s silent conflicts as something universal to everyone. 

Rhoades explained: “You don’t know what people are ever going through. Camille is an exquisitely beautiful woman. She’s Amy freaking Adams. She’s a stunning woman and what she’s hiding on the surface of her skin, but also on the inside, that was like the literal translation that everyone’s walking around this world with scars on them and [should] give people a break.” 

A driving force behind Adams’ Preaker’s struggles is none other than her mother, which Clarkson is aware of her character’s grim nature. Despite portraying a malevolent character, Clarkson explained that she had to fully embrace her character's manipulative mentality in order to fully prepare for the role. 

“Oh, I had to see Adora as perfect and lovely and talented,” Clarkson explained. “People worship her and the town. She’s this beautiful, glamorous and lovely person. She’s just generous. She’s extraordinary.” Following her description, Clarkson laughed before quipping, “And then she’s not. She’s so not!” 

Though the true nature behind each of these characters will be revealed in the forthcoming episodes upon the series premiere, Madison Davenport reiterates that despite their presumed pernicious nature, the characters are simply a confronted “reality.” 

“They’re human. That’s really what’s so special about this show is that it shows humans as dark and as manipulative and as manic. ... That’s reality,” Davenport, who plays teen Meredith, said. “The ugly truth of is that sometimes bad people are wrapped up in pretty bad things. … Are they hiding scars? Are they hiding secrets?” 

Apart from raising awareness, the series has also shined a light on female empowerment, with females such as Adams, Flynn, Noxon, Clarkson and Rhoades leading the true crime series. 

“I’ve never had a female showrunner (Noxon) and I’ve been working since I was seven,” said Davenport. “I really think that with all the powerhouses involved in this, I mean the men may be the head but the women are the neck. I think that this goes to show that the women can be both and we’ve taken control. We’re showing the good, the bad and the ugly and we’re taking charge.” 

Sharp Objects premieres on HBO on July 8.