On Monday’s episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show, the actress told host Kelly Clarkson (over French 75 cocktails, Kendrick’s go-to holiday drink) about the “cathartic” process she went through tackling her role, which deals with psychological and emotional abuse.
“The movie was so personal, there was a point where I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know if this is too soon to be doing this role,’ ” Kendrick, 37, expressed of her initial worry.
However, the project’s material also revolves around “the power of friendship in the way that you can get through things if you have the right people in your corner,” she said.
“I know that’s how I got out and how I started my recovery,” Kendrick added of her own personal experience.
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Kendrick also said she had roughly six months between first reading the script and starting filming, “So I had some time to kind of grapple with it.”
Two months prior to filming, Kendrick said she was on Clarkson’s show when she was first starting to discuss her feelings, and did so during commercial breaks with the host, who was also going through her own painful experience with divorce.
“It was so hard for me to not talk about it,” the actress said. “And I spent so long not talking about it, that then the floodgates started opening up, and suddenly I was like, ‘Oh, I’m trauma-dumping on Kelly Clarkson. Oh God.’ ”
Overall, the process of making the movie “was really healing” for Kendrick, who urges people to “keep showing up” for friends they know aren’t okay.
In the moving drama, directed by Mary Nighy and written by Alanna Francis, Kendrick plays Alice, a woman stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship with her successful boyfriend, Simon (Charlie Carrick). To her friends, played by Kaniehtiio Horn and Wunmi Mosaku, Alice seems distressingly distant during a birthday trip. As Alice slowly unravels as a result of the mind games Simon has played on her, her friends try to intervene and help.
“I was coming out of a personal experience with emotional abuse and psychological abuse,” Kendrick shared, recalling the time she first came across the screenplay. “I think my rep sent it to me, because he knew what I’d been dealing with and sent it along. Because he was like, ‘This sort of speaks to everything that you’ve been talking to me about.’ ”
“It felt really distinct in that I had, frankly, seen a lot of movies about abusive or toxic relationships, and it didn’t really look like what was happening to me,” she added. “It kind of helped me normalize and minimize what was happening to me, because I thought, ‘Well, if I was in an abusive relationship, it would look like that.’ ”
For Kendrick, Alice, Darling marks the first time she’s taken on a project so relevant to her.
“Usually, it’s just I read a good script and I like the people involved, and I make the movie,” she told PEOPLE. “And it was really surprising timing that we found this script at that moment in my life.”
“In fact, I remember my first Zoom meeting with Mary Nighy, the director, disclosing to her what I was going through,” the actress went on. “And I even said to her, ‘This all happened very recently. In fact, it happened so recently that if the movie was shooting in a month, I probably shouldn’t do it.’ ”
“But it was many, many months away. So I wasn’t in danger of re-traumatizing myself. But yeah, it’s certainly a unique experience,” Kendrick added.
Alice, Darling will begin its theatrical run in Los Angeles on Dec. 30, and will expand exclusively at AMC Theaters nationwide on Jan. 20, 2023.