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Archived: 25 Jan 2007 | Filed In Magazines & Newspapers
By Thelma Adams
Agnes Bruckner: From Hollywood Pics to Indie Flicks, She's In the Mix
"Don't scrunch your forehead when acting," director Barbet Schroeder told Agnes Bruckner during her audition for this month's film Murder by Numbers. Schroeder apparently wanted to get a good look at the actress, something audiences will get and opportunity to do with Murder and them, in the fall, with the Sundance hit Blue Car. Murder places Bruckner at the apex of a dark love triangle with fellow up-and-comers Ryan Gosling (The Believer) and Michael Pitt (Bully); in Blue Car, her sensitive child of divorce becomes intimate with her deceptive high school English teacher in what was the festival's most remarkable breakout performance. It's a leap from her TV Work (commercials, a soap and a few pilots), and two bit parts in forgettable films. On screen and off, the 16 year old bares a slight resemblance to Jeanne Moreau, an old soul in a young body, one who gives the impression of having lived previous lives and can access them without straining. Unless you consider scrunching one's forehead straining.
TA: Your role in Blue Car was one of Sundance's breakout performances--were you prepared for all the attention? AB: [Laughs] I made a big mistake going to the festival: I packed two suitcases full of clothes because I was expecting the whole red carpet thing, but it was very low-key. Most of the people [at the festival] were wearing ski outfits. [Laughs] As far as the attention, it was overwhelming. After the movie's premiere, the entire audience stared, asked questions and gave us an ovation. I wasn't expecting that at all.
TA: What were you expecting? AB: Neither [director] Karen [Moncrieff] nor I though the movie could even get into Sundance. She's a first-time [feature] director, and this was my first lead, so it was a complete shock for Blue Car to be the first movie to be bought. When we found out, we cried in each other's arms.
TA: Murder By Numbers, which stars Sandra Bullock, is a studio film and was made by a very well-known and very well respected director in Barbet Schroeder--quite a different experience than working on Blue Car. How did you get along with Schroeder? AB: Barbet is intense and intelligent--and very honest. When we would do a take and he didn't like something, he'd pull me aside and tell me.
TA: Do you prefer making independent or Hollywood movies? AB: I'm always going to do both. In a Hollywood movie, you get a bigger trailer and people giving you anything you want. In Indies, your doing 176 scenes in 20 days. You're working so much harder, but there's so much more love.
TA: Do you find that in the wake of Blue Car's reception at Sundance, and the excitement surrounding the release of Murder By Numbers, your friends are treating you differently? AB: No most of my friends are actors and they've helped me star grounded and focused on what's really important. They're proud of me.
TA: Your Family AB: [Laughs] My family's never going to look at me in a different way. They're like, "Sundance. Yeah, well that's really great and we're proud of you, but shut my door, please, and turn off the light."
TA: How are you feeling right now, at this moment, when anything is possible? AB: I feel like I've arrived, you know? Before I was going to auditions--and I still am--but now people are trying to meet with me. I feel like I've accomplished the hardest part, and now it's about what I'm going to do next. I feel like I've made it, but it's not official until I get my next role. It's like. Is it going to happen? People are saying that it will, but you never know.
I'm still hungry--that's why I know I can't be anything else in life but an actress, because I'm just so hungry for it, and I'm ready to take on anything that comes my way. I'm in it for the long run, and it's going to be an interesting ride.
Transcribed by Mycah