Anya Taylor-Joy And Olivia Cooke Share The Fantastic True Story Behind The Fake Crying In Thoroughbreds

Anya Taylor Joy Olivia Cooke Thoroughbreds

In writer/director Cory Finley's Thoroughbreds, Olivia Cooke's Amanda -- a girl who has come to the realization she doesn't have emotions -- reveals that there is a special method you can use to fake cry. Described as "The Technique," she discusses it with her friend Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy), and notes that the key is basically choking yourself from the inside. This may sound weird and far-fetched... and that's because it is. In fact, Taylor-Joy recently revealed the true story to me in an interview:

You know where that technique comes from? It comes from Cory's days when he was an actor, and apparently they were very pretentious people in a theater production he was doing. [in a snobby voice] 'Like, yeah, I can totally cry on cue, this is how you do it. You choke yourself from the inside.' I tried it a few times and it doesn't really work.

I had the pleasure of hopping on the phone with Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke earlier this month for a chat about their work on Thoroughbreds, and I broached the subject of The Technique. I was curious about its reality, and whether or not it actually works, and this spurred Taylor-Joy to explain the backstory. Apparently this is Cory Finley's sly way of mocking some jerks he used to act with -- which is a funny little thing to know while watching the film.

Speaking of which you can actually watch The Technique scene in the clip below from Thoroughbreds:

As you can see in the clip, it's Olivia Cooke who is the one really performing The Technique in Thoroughbreds -- but she also dispelled its reality. She told me that she can't actually cry on cue (she didn't tell me exactly how she performed the scene though), but did tell me her experience with what she found in Cory Finley's script:

I tried the technique to see if Cory had like tapped into something, and knew some trick of the trade. I tried it, but it really restricts oxygen, and you have palpitations.

In other words, not only is this not a shortcut that will make you a better actor, but it also doesn't sound like it's all that safe. The more you know!

Thoroughbreds, which marks Cory Finley's directorial debut is in theaters this weekend -- and be sure to be on the lookout for more from my interviews with the stars and the director!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.