Martha Plimpton interview: ‘Mass’

Martha Plimpton knew she wanted to be in “Mass” as soon as she read Fran Kranz’s script. “I read it all in one sitting, which is kind of rare for me,” she describes. “It just really captivated me.” She connected with Kranz just as much as she did his words. “I just liked him immediately,” she states, “I thought he was very intelligent, very empathetic.” So, Plimpton started down a journey based in exploration of intimate human connection. Connection that is made through grief and pain, and in the unlikeliest of places. Watch the exclusive video interview above.

Plimpton portrays Gail in the film. She and her husband Jay (Jason Isaacs) lost their son to a school shooting. The couple agrees to sit down with the parents of the shooter (Ann Dowd and Reed Birney) in hopes that the discussion will result in some sort of healing. Almost the entirety of the movie takes place in one room, with the four actors seated around the same table.

SEE Jason Isaacs interview: ‘Mass’

During the short rehearsal process, Plimpton says that mostly “we talked.” Kranz wanted to conduct a rehearsal process based in storytelling (inspired by the methods of Mike Nichols) in order to build a “familial relationship” of trust. For Plimpton and Isaacs, this meant heavy discussions about how the couple they were embodying spent the six years since their son’s death. “We rarely saw eye to eye on much of it,” she reveals, “which is actually great. That’s often how marriages work.” The rehearsing, and talking, was a huge asset for the intense work ahead. “By the time we got into that room, it already felt like we had known each other forever,” she explains.

The conversation between the two couples dominates the movie. It’s painful, tense, and angry at times. One moment particularly stands out in Plimpton’s performance. Gail suddenly admits that she can’t continue living the way she has been and expresses a desire for forgiveness. On her face is a look of shock, as if she can’t believe or understand the words which are pouring from her mouth, like the opening of floodgates. “Grace is a very funny thing,” muses Plimpton as she thinks back on the scene. “It comes upon you when you least expect it… it does come upon her like a tidal wave.”

SEE Reed Birney interview: ‘Mass’

Plimpton has proved herself an expert at playing roles where this nuanced, intimate glimpse at human relation is the star of the show. “Mass,” with its unrelenting closeness and single setting, perhaps embodies this quality more than any of her past projects. Though the actress admits she doesn’t have “a particular checklist” when searching for roles. “I actually would really love to do a Marvel movie,” she giddily suggests, “I’d love to play a bad guy.” No matter if the project is big or small, Plimpton says she’s just interested in scripts with humanity: “I think that’s what good storytelling always has at its core.”

Plimpton won an Emmy for her guest role on “The Good Wife.” She earned additional Emmy nominations for “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Raising Hope.” She is a three-time Tony nominee for “The Coast of Utopia,” “Top Girls,” and “Pal Joey.” She won the Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for “The Coast of Utopia.”

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UPLOADED Dec 17, 2021 10:00 am