Florence Pugh Says She “Abused” Herself And Put Herself in “Really S—ty Situations” to Achieve Her ‘Midsommar’ Performance
Florence Pugh has established herself for her striking performances, often becoming the “true saving grace” of any movie she’s involved in (no matter the behind-the-scenes drama it’s embroiled in.) But the actress recently opened up about what it sometimes takes for her to achieve such powerful performances as the one she gave in her dramatic breakout role in Midsommar.
Appearing on an episode of Off Menu, the Oscar-nominated actress explained how she got into the mindset of her character Dani. Pugh explained that she had gotten “so wrapped up” in Dani’s character that she “most definitely abused” herself to achieve her memorable performance.
“I was so wrapped up in her and I’ve never had this ever before with any of my characters,” she said. “I’d never played someone that was in that much pain before, and I would put myself in really shitty situations that maybe other actors don’t need to do but I would just be imagining the worst things.”
In the movie, Dani tags along on her boyfriend’s trip to a Swedish midsummer festival as a way to cope with her grief. But instead of being met with relief, Dani is gaslit and lied to as they witness the festival’s dark and gruesome horrors.
“Each day the content would be getting more weird and harder to do,” she said. “I was putting things in my head that were getting worse and more bleak. I think by the end I probably, most definitely abused my own self in order to get that performance.”
Pugh went on to film Greta Gerwig’s Little Women adaptation right after wrapping on Midsommar. But the transition between characters left her feeling “immense guilt,” she said.
“I remember looking [out the plane] and feeling immense guilt because I felt like I’d left [Dani] in that field in that [emotional] state,” Pugh said. “It’s so weird. I’ve never had that before…Obviously, that’s probably a psychological thing where I felt immense guilt of what I’d put myself through but I definitely felt like I’d left her there in that field to be abused.”
She said it was “almost like I’d created this person and then I just left her there to go and do another movie.”
Despite this emotional transition, Pugh still went on to earn her first Oscar nomination in best supporting actress for her performance as Amy March.
Pugh has alluded to the tough days on set a few times since the movie debuted in 2019. In one tweet from July 2019, the actress confirmed that she and her co-star Jack Reynor often cooked for each other and shared meals together after filming. “Always a stiff drink after any one of those wonderful but horrific content days,” she tweeted. “A lot of love and a load of support between the cast.”
However, the actress had nothing but praise to share about Midsommar director Ari Aster, who has made a name for himself as A24‘s go-to horror director.
Pugh’s latest movie, A Good Person, is now playing in theaters.