Written and directed by Casey Affleck, Light of My Life centers on Rag (Anna Pniowsky), an 11-year-old who has spent most of her life traveling with her father (Casey Affleck). A pandemic has led to a near extinction of women, and her father will go to all lengths to ensure Rag’s survival. My interview with Pniowsky, whose credits include the Hulu series PEN15 and the upcoming feature Judy Small, is below.
Running at 119 minutes, Light of My Life co-stars Elisabeth Moss (featured as Rag’s mother in flashback scenes) and Tom Bower. That being said, the feature is essentially a two-hander about the inextricable bond between father and daughter. Pniowsky is a total standout in the feature, as she holds her own with Affleck. During our brief chat, she talked about her acting journey, working with Affleck, and why Enchanted is one of her favorite films.
Where did your love for acting originate?
I don’t know honestly. Acting is my art. My passion is to act, and I guess you can say that’s what sparks my love for acting.
How physically demanding was this role for you?
Honestly, it looks a lot worse than it actually was. I’m Canadian so I know cold. It wasn’t really that bad. Even if it did get (cold), it led to a more realistic performance. It’s just kind of part of my job to put myself into the character, you know?
What are some of the most important lessons from Casey Affleck did you learn from this film?
I say how to be realistic. He has a really unique way of acting and I really like how realistic he is. I really do appreciate that. So I think I do try and take away lessons from his acting and I really did learn a lot from him.
What are your thoughts on the actual screenplay?
It’s not necessarily an eye-opener but it is a scary thought to lose all women and when that society crumbles. I think with the movie, once it started filming, it just got better and better. The script really came to life and that’s thanks to Casey’s great acting and great directing.
Were you intimidated about working with Casey Affleck? Actually you gave a very confidence performance in the film.
Thank you. I am a bit intimidated at first but Casey is very easy to be comfortable and vulnerable with. As for my confidence, I don’t know if I really have that much confidence. But I try to speak confidently.
What are the biggest joys for you when it comes to being an actress?
I have multiple so I’m just going to give you a list. It’s the people I meet, the places I go, and just being able to work on my passion. I am very lucky that my job right now is something I really like to do. So I’m very thankful for that.
Did you develop a backstory for Rag?
The thing is, her backstory is just in the film. She’s been living in this wilderness and this is all she knows. There are times when she was small and she had a mother but in the film she doesn’t remember her. So I think the only backstory she has – is living her dad in the wilderness.
Can you pick one of your all-time favorite films and tell us why it means a lot to you?
That’s a really good question. There are a lot of movies that I love. I don’t have a favorite movie – every movie is my favorite movie. But I always loved that movie Enchanted which (stars) Amy Adams.
I don’t know why. It’s really funny and it’s kind of a fairy tale brought to real life. It just gives me a sense of hope, you know? When you’re down, you can remember tomorrow is another day and there’s always hope. So yeah, maybe that’s my favorite film. A little cheesy but (laughs)
No that’s a great film. Can you talk about what other films you have down the road (she recently wrapped Judy Small, a feature co-starring Alicia Silverstone and Sarah Shahi)?
I’m actually not allowed to say a whole lot. I’m sorry. I really wish I could tell you. But there are things in the works and we’ll see!
Light Of My Life hits theaters, Digital, and On Demand come August 9.