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Amanda Peet on What Doesn't Kill You

Published December 10, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Yari Film Group
What Doesn't Kill You is Brian Goodman's harrowing true story about his life in Boston's underworld, becoming a drug addict and surviving to be a sober husband and father. Playing his wife, Stacy, Amanda Peet didn't try to analyze what kept their relationship together at the low points. She played the scenes.

Amanda Peet: What Doesn't Kill You


"I tried not to think about it too much but we felt like they just had a lot of chemistry and we tried not to analyze it too much," Peet said. "Like the whole thing with Al-Anon and needing to be with someone who is a project, and you're always trying to get them well. That whole long suffering wife thing, we tried to make it a little sexier than that. I think often those kind of tumultuous relationships are really sexy, too, so that's what of what it makes it so magnetic."

Perhaps the Boston accent required more careful planning. That's where Peet really had to represent. "I was really, really scared. Really, really scared. I was really scared as in being really embarrassed but I swear to god, part of it is not having like really long speeches. Like if I had to do an Aaron Sorkin show with a Boston accent, it would be a disaster. I would just go up to Brian's friends or his sons and be like, 'How do you say confiscate?' Or, 'How do you say…' And then he'd say it and I'd repeat it, and then he'd repeat it and I'd walk back to the set saying , 'Okay, roll, roll, roll! Roll camera!'


What Doesn't Kill YouWhat Doesn't Kill You


What Doesn't Kill YouWhat Doesn't Kill You

Most actors dread line readings but Peet is all for it. "Yeah, sure. I would ask for line readings for any reason, but in this case it was for accents."

Playing the high drama with an accent on your mind may be tough, but in other ways it helped Peet simplify the other parts. "Sometimes I think it makes it easier because you're not overthinking everything else. It's almost like some of us I think sometimes fare better when we're distracted. I know a lot of actors who, I want to say Charlize is like this, but clearly there is a ferocity and insane gift that comes out when she transforms herself. It's insane. I think that's an example where I think sometimes what might be distracting to some people, actually focuses you on your performance and allows you to hit the nail on the head."

Though the Goodmans are now divorced, Stacy was on set to help Peet play her. "We used to look at each other and start laughing. I just would look and be like, 'How is her hair?' We had started shooting a little bit before I first met her and so I was really scared about my outfits. She's definitely, I think she's sexier than I was in the movie. But I liked her spirit. She has a lot of chutzpah and she would have to in order to handle Brian."

What Doesn't Kill You opens to theaters on December 12th.

For the trailer and more movie info, go to the What Doesn't Kill You Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Yari Film Group
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