TONY Interview: Concussion's Robin Weigert

The veteran indie actor makes an impact as a housewife who starts dabbling in the world's oldest profession.

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Robin Weigert, star of Concussion

Robin Weigert, star of Concussion


Who she plays: Abby, a suburbanite mom and spouse who decides to become a high-priced escort on the side. Guess who ends up having an identity crisis?
Best known as: The tough-talking Calamity Jane from HBO’s brilliant Western series, Deadwood.
Where else you’d have seen her: The Sessions, TV's Sons of Anarchy.

On trying to describe Concussion: “Whenever I’ve read attempts to boil this movie down to two or three sentences, it’s always, ‘She gets a head injury…then look out everybody, here come the sexual escapades!’ [Laughs] I can’t remember who said this, but I’d described the movie to them and they replied, ‘Well, sure, every married person is an afternoon hooker some of the time!’ You know, not literally, of course. [Laughs] But I think more people can relate to the character than most of us think.”

Onfilming sex scenes: “I watched Helen Hunt deal with this during Q&As for The Sessions: Someone always asked her a question about doing sex scenes, what it was like as an older woman to show her body, etc. It was always on the verge of becoming a public therapy session. I'll admit that after I'd read the script, I thought: Do I really want to go through that first-hand, answering the 'sex scenes' questions night after night? But Stacie [Passion, the film's writer-director] wrote this really witty and wonderful script, and created this incredibly complicated character in Abby. I couldn't say no. It was worth it to put up with a question or two about nudity after a screening, you know?”

On finding a physical hook: “When I discovered the gruff voice that I used for Calamity Jane [in Deadwood], I thought, This is great; every time I started talking in that voice, I felt like I’d left the room and Jane had walked in. It was just instant access. With Concussion, it was more in the body: I started working out a lot because I figured, Abby is really sexually frustrated and feels trapped—she would take all that energy and put it into working out. By the time we started shoooting, I had become so lean that I’d lost my feminine shape entirely. I stopped once we'd finished shooting, and then I had to reshoot a few pick-up scenes months later. And I had a really hard time finding the character again. I wasn’t in her body anymore."

On becoming an “overnight success” at Sundance: “I remember when Deadwood
had first come out, there was this whole deer-in-the-headlights sense of feeling really uncomfortable with being recognized in public. But yeah, after almost a decade’s worth of other jobs under my belt, it was a joy to have people come up to me after the premiere and talk about the film. I’m not recoiling from the attention now. Especially if it’ll bring me more jobs.” [Laughs]

Concussion opens Friday, October 4.

Follow David Fear on Twitter: @davidlfear


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