Mary Elizabeth Winstead has suffered multiple set backs for her career to reach the heights that she's clearly capable of. She tested for 'We Bought a Zoo' but lost out to Scarlett Johnasson, she tried out for 'The Avengers', but Cobie Smulders was chosen instead, she also went for Gwen Stacy in 'The Amazing Spider-Man' but the role was instead given to Emma Stone. And though it seemed that Scott Pilgrim vs. The World would give her the recognition she deserves, it seems far more likely that she'll find that recognition in the emotional and comedic drama that is her new movie 'Smashed'.
The film focuses on a couple, Kate (Winstead) and Charlie (Aaron Paul), who spend a great deal of their time drinking... getting 'smashed'. When her drinking begins to threaten her career as a teacher she decides to go t-total, which means saving her job but confronting a lot that alcohol has thus far masked. The premise of this film is a million miles away from Final Destination, The Thing, or even that instant classic (or perhaps not) Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer. Speaking about this role, Winstead said “It's almost like my first movie in a weird way, cause it's my first movie in this world, which is a world I've been trying to break into.” She also found making the film rewarding in more ways than simply her career or finances. Quoted by the New York Daily News she said: “In the course of figuring out this character, I figured out a lot of stuff about myself,” she says. “It was emotionally exhausting. But it was also cathartic. Making this movie was like going to therapy every day.”
James Ponsoldt, co-writer and director of the movie said that Winstead was an immediate decision, “My wife and I watched [her tryout] on the couch and it reduced us both to tears... She has a resiliency and an empathy, but also a wild sense of humor. She’s spontaneous and strong. She has a lot of natural tools. And she ended up giving this emotionally powerful performance.”
So far the film's reception has been largely positive. The Hollywood Reporter says that Winstead 'rules' and praised “its sharp writing and essential credibility” that “make this small, intimate tale fresh”. 'Smashed' will be released this Friday, October 12th.