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Amy Adams on Doubt

Published December 9, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Miramax Films
Amy Adams is trading in her princess dress for a nun's habit. She plays a young nun in Doubt, following a senior nun (Meryl Streep) investigating her suspicions of a priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman). It's all very moral and complicated, but just how did it feel to wear a habit?

Amy Adams on Doubt


"Great, I loved that," Adams said. "I know you probably don't believe me but I did. I loved it. It lacked all vanity and it was comfortable and I didn’t have to worry about my gut. I could just eat what ever I wanted. It was great. It was like doing Junebug again."

The audience knows little about Sister James when the movie starts, and throughout the investigation. Adams came up with her own backstory, but she's not telling. "I'm not going to give it away, but I will tell you that we had wonderful access to nuns that joined at that time and would have been Sister James’ age. So I had access to a number of the Sisters who really gave me a lot of information about the choices that were available at the time, why they chose, how their family reacted and it really, really helped me understand some things."

The script focuses on the moral and religious issues at hand, so the actors had to just embed the mechanics of a parish in their actions. "The writing is just so clean, you don’t know all of the rules. My character is not supposed to talk back. My character is not supposed to question. My character is supposed to listen and you have a vow of silence in the morning that lasts until after the first mass. You don’t get together and like question your faith and question the priests. I mean this is huge and it’s completely inappropriate and it's very difficult for her, and yet she can't help but wrestle with these ideas. There are things I didn’t realize that you weren’t allowed to leave and you weren’t allowed to leave by yourself. If you had a doctor’s appointment, two of them went together. If somebody was sick in your family, you weren’t allowed to leave. So there's such a great sense of isolation and being sort of trapped in the situation and in this world for her through the story."

DoubtDoubt


Adams was so attracted to Doubt that she pursued it against heavy competition. Believing in herself paid off. "With this project I sort of chased it. I did not audition but I did meet with John Patrick Shanley and Emily, poor Emily, I talk about her all the time. Emily Blunt, I was working with her and she brought the idea to me. She had read the script. I had not read the script, and she said, 'I know what you're doing next. You're doing Doubt,' very enthusiastically. And I read it and I was just like, 'You're right. I really want to do this. You don't want it?' And she’s like, 'Oh I'm not right for that but you…' So it was actually Emily who brought the idea to me. Someone had been offered the part. That did not deter me just because it’s very common in our industry for people to come in and out of projects based on their availability and personal reasons and whatever. So I just wanted to put my name in the hat, so I kind of pursued it."

Doubt opens to theaters on December 12th.

For the trailer, poster, clips and more movie info, go to the Doubt Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Miramax Films
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