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There are many reasons why Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a phenomenal film, but certainly high on the list is the performance given by Allison Williams. Throughout the movie she does such an amazing job representing herself as an ally to Daniel Kaluuya’s Chris, so when the big twist goes down it basically feels like taking a shovel to the face. It’s become one of the most beloved surprises in modern horror, which makes it all the more exciting that Williams is returning to the genre with the upcoming The Perfection.
Interestingly, though, the connection between the two features doesn’t end with that. Without giving too much away, Allison Williams stars as a character in The Perfection that’s purposefully hard to get a full read on, and as a member of the audience you spend the majority of the runtime not quite sure if you can fully trust her. As you might imagine, this is a feeling that is only enhanced by those who associate the actress with her part in Get Out – and it’s a connection that Williams definitely recognized in the making of the new movie.
With The Perfection set to hit Netflix this Friday, I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Allison Williams, co-star Logan Browning, and writer/director Richard Shepard last week at the film’s Los Angeles press day, and during the interviews I took the opportunity to bring up the movie’s unique relationship with Get Out. Discussing the influence of audience perception of her character, Williams agreed with my analysis, and noted that it was something that occurred to her shortly after reading the script for the first time:
Richard [Shepard] sent it to me and said, 'This is insane. You need to call me after you read it.' And I was like, 'Okay, well if you think it's insane, and you're insane, and I think it's insane, and I'm insane, this must be really, really crazy.' And it was! And I called him right afterwards and as we were talking about it, it occurred to me that if you have a sort of associative hangover of me from Get Out, it's very helpful to go into The Perfection with that.
In the new movie, Allison Williams stars as Charlotte Willmore, a former cello prodigy who, at a young age, had to drop out of one of the most esteemed music schools on the planet when her mother got sick. Following her mother’s death, she tries to reconnect the world she was forced to disconnect from, and in the process gets to know Elizabeth Wells (Logan Browning) –the star student who joined the aforementioned school when Charlotte left. The two quickly hit it off during a special event in China, eventually making plans to go on a two-week vacation together in the country, but things start to go very badly very quickly on the adventure.
Without getting into spoiler territory, as the story progresses in The Perfection you’re never quite sure how to feel about Charlotte’s relationship with Elizabeth – and this is where memories of Allison Williams' Rose Armitage from Get Out start to play a role. As Williams explained, she loved that her past role tweaks the way we look at her new performance, while at the same time fully appreciating that Charlotte is an absolutely wonderful character independently. Said the actress,
I thought, what is more fun than using that to make people very, very untrustworthy when they see me for the first time and very wary of sending us off on a bus together in rural China - as you should be in the movie! And so I thought that was a very interesting sort of meta level to it. But first and foremost I was just fascinated by Charlotte. I thought she was so interesting and I just had to play her so that I could understand what makes that girl tick and what, what is going on in there.
This was a sentiment shared by Richard Shepard, who noted that he wrote the role of Charlotte in The Perfection with Allison Williams specifically in mind – having previously worked with her directing episodes of the HBO comedy series Girls. And while Get Out may not have had any specific influence in the writing process, it is something that he acknowledges will have an effect on the way people watch his film. Said Shepard,
The fact that people don't initially really trust Allison because of Get Out helps us enormously because Alison's playing a character that you're not quite sure is a good guy, or a bad guy. You can't quite get a grasp on her. And that's really important in a movie like this because people are projecting what they think. So Allison's sort of baggage helps a lot.
Continuing, the filmmaker further added that part of what makes Allison Williams such a talented performer is the way in which she is able to modulate her emotional reactions to effective degrees. She doesn’t show her full hand until exactly the right moment, and when that happens it can be powerful and affecting. Explained the director,
I've always seen in Allison an ability to hold back her emotions until it's really ready to show. And in this it was perfect because she was holding back just enough to keep the audience leaning in, and then when she needed to show it she really could.
You can watch Allison Williams and Richard Shepard discuss the special influence of Get Out on The Perfection by clicking play on the video below!
Also starring Steven Weber, Alaina Huffman, Mark Kandborg, and Graeme Duffy, The Perfection is a horrific delight that first premiered at Fantastic Fest last year, and will be available soon to set your brain on fire. As mentioned earlier, the movie will be available on Netflix this Friday, May 24th – and we’ll have more from my interviews with the cast and filmmakers coming your way soon here on CinemaBlend!