PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK: Lily Sullivan and Lola Bessis Preview the Amazon Limited Series - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK: Lily Sullivan and Lola Bessis Preview the Amazon Limited Series

May 25, 2018 by  

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Credit: Amazon

What happened at Hanging Rock on Valentine’s Day, 1900? In PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, an Amazon Prime limited series adapted from the classic novel by the same name, three young women and their teacher vanish from, well, a picnic at Hanging Rock.

“There is a disappearance and a mystery that shocks and discombobulates this tiny town,” Lily Sullivan (who plays one of the missing girls, Miranda) previews. “I think audiences should prepare themselves for not a stuffy drama, but a modern thriller mystery, with twisted, dark, powerful women.”

In the absence of the missing women—Miranda, Irma (Samara Weaving), Marion (Madeleine Madden), and Miss McCraw (Anna McGahan)—attention turns to their school, Appleyard College, and its mysterious headmistress, Mrs. Appleyard (Natalie Dormer).

Teacher Mademoiselle Dianne de Poitiers (Lola Bessis) is among those suspicious, and takes drastic steps to discover the truth during the course of the series—much to the surprise of her portrayer. “When I said yes to this project, episode 5 and 6 weren’t written yet,” Bessis says. “For the first few episodes, my character is nice, professional, and I was like, ‘OK, I love the show so much I want to do it. But what is going to happen to this character? She’s too nice.’ And then I had this chat with [showrunner] Larysa [Kondracki], and she told me, ‘Don’t worry, you’re going to like it.’”

“I think I loved it even more because of the evolution,” Bessis continues. “She’s not just a badass. In her inner self, she’s a badass, but she’s not in the beginning. She’s learning how she could be a badass. Every girl is a badass in a way; society teaches us to look pretty and nice and have a smile on our face all the time, but it’s not who we are.”

And that includes the missing women. PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK explores the aftermath of the disappearance and flashes back to what led up to the fateful day. “Every character is on such a different journey,” Sullivan shares. “The show is really trying to tell everyone to break your own boundaries, and be yourself and figure you out. And no one is the same. It was nice to play these characters. I’m not going to lie: it does bleed into your real life. To tell a story from that perspective, psychologically, it feels good.”

Sullivan and Bessis also credit their wardrobe and locations for helping them dive into the era. “The costumes were obviously incredible,” Sullivan notes. “It was so informative of being a woman in that time, and the intense frustration. You’re literally, physically deformed. Our bodies changed and shift [with the corsets]. I’m not losing weight, but my organs have shifted. And then to tap into the world, that lends to being a woman of that time. You’re also being restricted and refined emotionally. Their personality is being molded to fit what is suitable and appealing. I think the clothes are a representation of how to be appealing. You were trained to be appealing, and that’s your worth.”

“You can’t breathe,” continues Bessis. “How does a lady sit? That was a question I asked before filming; I was very stressed about this. But actually with the corset on, there’s only one way to do it.”

Plus, filming at Hanging Rock, a real location, was challenging. “That was a place for the spirits to walk,” Sullivan says. “Everyone [who worked there] got really sick.”

Adds Bessis, “You don’t f–k with the spirits!”

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, Streaming Now, Amazon Prime

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