“We shot so fast and I’m someone who loves a lot of preparation,” reveals “Palm Springs” actress Cristin Milioti. She recently joined Gold Derby for a webchat (watch the exclusive video above) and adds, “I want to do 70 takes because I want to find 70 different ways in. There was something about only having only two tries. At first it had me get in my own way a bit. Then I was able to let go and trust that I’ve done my work. There was something terrifying about that but also very freeing.”
In “Palm Springs,” Milioti plays Sarah, a bridesmaid who gets brought into a time loop by Nyles (Andy Samberg) and has to live her sister’s wedding day on repeat. Milioti notes, “In the movie there’s a whole spectrum of stuff going on, much like life. There’s immense anger, immense joy. People are lost. It’s such an existential film while also being very funny. It’s very sneaky.”
Every time Sarah wakes up was shot before lunch on the first day of filming. The actor explains, “It was intense. Now that I talk about it, maybe it was a blessing. I take really detailed notes. There was so much repeating, but with a variant each time. I always had this bible of notes to help me calibrate where she is and what she knows. I had it next to the bed. It was intimidating but it was a great way to start. It was this mini review of what we were about to do.”
The actor describes, “There’s a time loop. There’s a zany montage. You are dealing with this thing none of us have experienced. It was of paramount importance to me that I grounded Sarah in what she’s going through. If I didn’t honor the dark and painful parts of her, the rest would not have come together. The most important thing to me is you understood that this is a woman who is suffering. I worked with a director once who told me that comedy was ‘watching someone navigate pain.’ This is true.”
In the “zany montage” Sarah dresses up as a evil mastermind from “parts unknown” and plants a bomb in the wedding cake. Milioti says, “On that set with an eyepatch and hook doing that accent of the evil supervillain; it felt like I was a kid again. It was a scene we were performing for a crowd. They didn’t know what we were going to do. Andy didn’t know I was going to have the hook, the patch and the accent. I wanted to throw him off. I wanted to really shock him. All of that we never rehearsed it, it’s all genuine.”
The actor confesses, “There are a lot of twists and turns in this film. I wanted to make sure that you could track Sarah. If you went back and watched Sarah, that you could see through the misdirect; see exactly what had happened to her without giving it away. A lot of my notes were about threading that needle.”
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