“I’d never done television before this … With a movie, everything’s in the script and you can ask a million questions and you know what the schedule is, and with this, it was a whole new world to me of just living in this kind of ambiguous state where you never really know what’s going to happen,” says Liv Tyler about her role in HBO’s drama “The Leftovers.” (Watch our complete video chat below.)
Tyler plays Meg, who joins the Guilty Remnant cult following the unexplained disappearance of two-percent of the world’s population. “I think she thinks that everything that’s going on is sort of bullshit and she gets more and more angry about it,” says Tyler about Meg’s reasons for turning to the mysterious group. “I don’t think she … really wants to be in a cult or believes in what they’re living by. I think it’s that she wants to do anything she can to escape what she’s feeling. It’s sort of the first thing that’s available to her.”
Members of the Guilty Remnant take a vow of silence, which meant that much of Tyler’s role was free of dialogue, but “I actually really enjoyed it. People always make fun of me and say that I should have been a silent film star because I’m always trying to cut my words and express them with feeling and emoting. A lot of times I think things can be overwritten, and you can convey a lot of things without words.”
Showrunner Damon Lindelof deliberately keeps the cast in the dark about future episodes and storylines, which Tyler found “frustrating at first.” She eventually settled into his inscrutable method, and “I know going into the second season, he hasn’t told me much, but that I will go further into the Guilty Remnant in quite a fanatical kind of way, and I was like, oh boy! But that’s all I know.”
Tyler did figure out ways of piecing together some pertinent story details, though, but it required some “detective work”: “If you would ask everybody different questions – like, you could ask the costume designer something, and key makeup something, and one of the drivers something, and one of the actors something – suddenly you’d get a full story about either a script coming up or something that happens … Certain heads of department get information before we do even, so I knew who to go to for information.”
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