Taylor Russell (Escape Room, Waves) stars in Words On Bathroom Walls, a picture based on the Julia Walton novel of the same name. During our brief video chat Russell talked about working with co-star Charlie Plummer, staying in the moment as an actor, and why the John Cassavetes feature Gloria is one of her favorite films.
Words On Bathroom Walls centers on Adam (Charlie Plummer), a young adult with dreams of becoming a chef. Diagnosed with a mental illness, Adam bonds with Maya (Taylor Russell), a frank and intelligent girl who gradually encourages him to break out of his shell. Rounding out the ensemble are Molly Parker (as Adam’s loving mother), Walton Goggins (as the mother’s boyfriend), AnnaSophia Robb, Devon Bostick, Andy Garcia, and Lobo Sebastian.
One of the strengths behind Words On Bathroom Walls lies in the innate chemistry and intimacy in the scenes between Plummer and Russell. It’s fitting that amidst all that solid acting, she would pick the John Cassavetes feature Gloria, which contains a seminal performance by Gena Rowlands, as one of her favorite films.
Is there a key for you regarding staying in the moment as an actor, whether it be Waves or Words On Bathroom Walls?
It varies. There is really not a formula to it. In my life also, I try to stay as present as I can be whether I’m acting or not acting. It helps having actors opposite you that really care about that as well. And who are captivating and you just want to watch what they’re doing every moment.
I’ve been really lucky in that sense that I’ve had scene partners I just really want to look at them and see what they are doing. And that will change what I’m doing. I don’t know if I wish there was a formula. There isn’t. That’s part of the challenge.
What makes Charlie a special scene partner for you?
I think he is really great at conveying emotions in a nuanced fashion. For me, I felt like I had to look really close to see what was happening and unwrap that in my brain. I think that makes him incredibly special.
Part of the reason I wanted to work with him was because the projects I had seen him in, everything felt quite bottled up and quiet. I like actors like that.
Can you name one of your all time favorite films and what is it about this project that still resonates with you?
One of my favorite films would be Gloria. (Directed by) John Cassavetes. That film is so much of my inspiration. The relationship between John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands was so interesting because of their real life dynamic being partners.
And the type of subject matter they were exploring at the time especially at a time in which everything felt quite stylized and rehearsed.
It felt like their acting and their projects were really intuitive and present. I can watch her all day long. She is an actress who I will never get tired of watching anything she does. I loved his way of filming and how it felt really fluid. That’s why I connect with it.