The Clearing Star Miranda Otto Reveals Why The Hulu Cult Drama Was One Of The 'Hardest' Projects Of Her Career

Miranda Otto on The Clearing
(Image credit: Hulu)

Throughout her career, Miranda Otto has appeared in iconic fantasy movies like Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and popped up on shows like Homeland and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, providing outstanding and multi-faceted performances in the process. While Otto gave it her all in her portrayals of Éowyn and Zelda Spellman, her latest project, The Clearing, is one of the most challenging projects of her stellar career.

In the series, which debuted on Hulu in May 2023, Otto takes on the role of Adrienne Beaufort, the leader of a mysterious cult that abducts children in Australia in order to fulfill its master plan. The show’s narrative bounces back and forth between two timelines to tell its complex story about cults and the impact they have on everyone involved.

When speaking with CinemaBlend ahead of The Clearing’s release, Otto opened up about the complexities of the series, both in terms of playing a character who “had to be so many things to so many people,” and the way in which the series was filmed. In short, Otto called it one of the hardest projects she’s worked on:

It was a lot to get on top of and keep my head in the game and work out how all the pieces interconnected together. It was the hardest one I've ever worked on in that way. Just the bookkeeping aspect of it to make sure I didn't mess anything up between the different episodes. You know, it's always great to have something tricky to get into. You really have to rise up and get into it. You can't be lackadaisical about it, you really have to get into it and do the work to make sure that you are going to cover everything you have to cover.

Otto revealed that the original plan was to work on four of the show’s eight episodes at once to work around co-star Guy Pearce’s availability, but the production ended up including bits and pieces of two more episodes at some stages. 

When it came to portraying the elusive cult leader, Otto felt she had a responsibility to get the portrayal down, both in terms of her distinct look and the effect she had on various other characters in the show:

It was such a responsibility, because she had to be so many things to so many people and it was important to deliver those things – to be somewhat of an idol for people but also, to be somewhat terrifying for them, and to have this particular look – it was a lot. But then, behind that, there was also the responsibility to find how she saw herself and what her motivations were, and like where she was coming from. There were a lot of pieces to it.

When teasing the rest of The Clearing and where things will go for Adrienne, Otto said “there are more layers” that will be peeled back as we learn more about her character. In juggling those aspects of the character and the story in general, the actress again said the project “was definitely one of the hardest ones” she’s done.

The first two episodes of The Clearing are currently streaming for anyone with a Hulu subscription, and the remaining six chapters will be released every Wednesday from here on out. If you want to know what else is coming to Hulu, as well as other streamers and channels, take a look at our 2023 TV schedule.

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.