HomeUncategorizedLove Lies Bleeding Director & Star on Bodies & Bodybuilding

Love Lies Bleeding Director & Star on Bodies & Bodybuilding

The funniest thing writer/director Rose Glass says in an interview with Consequence is maybe only funny if you’ve seen her new movie: “Ultimately, it is just a film about a woman trying and failing to quit smoking.” It’s amusing because it is, functionally, the actual truth — though the surreal thriller Love Lies Bleeding, starring Kristen Stewart as a New Mexico gym employee who gets entangled with aspiring bodybuilder Jackie (Katy O’Brian), encompasses a whole lot more.

Glass initially came at the idea for the 1980s-set film from the latter perspective, “wanting to tell a story about a female bodybuilder who’s coming unraveled as she’s training for the competition of her life.” In working with co-writer Weronika Tofilska, she adds, “we spent a long time taking her in lots of different directions and trying to make our characters’ lives as difficult as possible, and it quickly became a love story.”

The decision to make it a love story evolved out of the writers’ interest in a character like Jackie, “because the clarity of vision and level of obsessiveness that I wanted this bodybuilder to have, it felt like we wanted someone for her to pull against,” Glass says. In addition, Glass’s first film, Saint Maud, was “a lot about loneliness — so, having done a film where a lot of it’s about a relationship a woman’s got with something in her head, it’s like, let’s get some real people to knock against each other and see what happens. Because if you think that being on your own’s hard, try being in a relationship.”

Back in 2021, Kristen Stewart was praising Saint Maud in interviews, foreshadowing her eventual collaboration with Glass. “That was around the same time that we met, as well,” the director says, having started working on the script for Love Lies Bleeding just before the beginning of COVID, and knowing from the beginning that “I wanted her to be in the role. But I didn’t know if she’d do it or not. It was all very surreal and I just was very pleasantly surprised and excited that she said yes.”

Katy O’Brian said that her first reaction to reading Glass and Tofilska’s script was “How did they write this movie that I didn’t know I wanted to always be in? How did this all come together?” (When you find out that the actor, previously featured in The Mandalorian and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, also has a background in martial arts and bodybuilding, the kismet feels real.)

As passionate as she was about the script, though, O’Brian admits that she had “a moment of self-doubt” about taking on the project, “just really thinking like, is this too much for me? Will I be able to stand up there with Kristen and Ed [Harris] and not drag the movie down and hit these notes that need to be hit? And then I was like, I gotta try. I’m not going to grow if I back away from something like this. So I just dove head first, and it was a wild ride.”

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