A bizarre true story: Sarah Wright on American Made
The film starring Tom Cruise premieres on Indian TV on Republic Day
- Published 25.01.19, 4:35 AM
- Updated 25.01.19, 4:35 AM
- 3 mins read
Sarah Wright earned her stripes playing the spunky Millicent in the smash-hit TV show Parks and Recreation. Her first big film was 2017’s American Made, in which she played Tom Cruise’s wife. The Doug Liman film focused on real-life characters Barry and Lucy Seal (Cruise and Wright) and their crazy escapades in a plot that included drugs, money and power. American Made premieres on Indian TV on January 26 (9pm on Sony PIX) and we caught up with Sarah for a telephonic chat on the film and beyond.
How was it sharing screen space with Tom Cruise in American Made?
Sarah Wright: It was a dream come true… he was incredible. He’s a great actor and very comfortable as a person, and he made me feel comfortable on set. He’s very magnetic… he has that thing about him that lights up the screen. Working with him was so chill.
What was your biggest learning about acting by observing him on set?
Sarah Wright: When I was auditioning for the role, he was there and he told me, ‘I don’t want you to be afraid to try out new stuff’. He and the director Doug Liman encouraged me to try everything and that gave me a lot of confidence to play around with the scenes and the dialogues. We spent a lot of time talking about our characters and the lives they had spent together so that we could really develop a great relationship where we could bring this magnetic couple alive on screen.
What is it about American Made that made you want to be a part of it?
Sarah Wright: I read the script and it was written incredibly by Gary Spinelli. The story is about a guy (Barry Seal, played by Cruise) who’s living a dead life and he isn’t happy. He starts working with the drug cartel and then he becomes a DEA informant and he goes on this crazy adventure. The love affair he has with his wife (Lucy, played by Sarah) is an important part of the film. It’s based on a very crazy true story, about a man who came from a normal life and exploded into money and power. It’s a story that you can’t believe is true because it’s so bizarre! I definitely had to be part of it.
What was the toughest bit about making this film?
Sarah Wright: There were many challenges in making this film. The flying around stuff was kind of wild; Tom and I filmed some stunts together in zero-g (zero gravity). We shot on a soundstage on a half of an airplane that was connected to this thing called a gimbal that flips it around in circles. We were tied together with harnesses and in the middle of it all, we had to enact a very romantic scene. That was the most challenging part, but it ended up being great and was kind of the climactic point of the movie.
Tom Cruise is known for doing his own stunts and he did quite a few on this film too. What was it like experiencing it first-hand?
Sarah Wright: He does stunts all the time and we shot a part of the film in Colombia where he had to fly out of an aeroplane and it was incredible to see him do that. He’s been doing it forever, and he’s amazing at it. he loves doing stunts and on this film, he put himself through a lot. It was exciting to see him first-hand.
What was it like being directed by Doug Liman?
Sarah Wright: Doug is such a fascinating guy and what I loved about him was how honest he was; he was honest about what he needed in his team and he’s also very warm and wonderful. He made the experience very easy. Tom and Doug make a fantastic team, they work very well together. The two pretty much work around the clock, there’s no downtime.
We’ve loved you in a bunch of TV roles, the most famous being Millicent in Parks and Recreation. Is that the part that people come up to you and talk most about?
Sarah Wright: Yes, people talk about Parks and Recreation and also about a film I did called The House Bunny. In the US, many people also come up to me for American Made. I loved all the characters I have played, but Millicent is definitely one of my most memorable.
Is there a recent film you watched and wished you had been a part of?
Sarah Wright: I really don’t know… I have a daughter who’s two and a son who’s five and the only movies I’ve seen have been Mary Poppins and Wreck-It Ralph! (Laughs) So I’ve only been watching kids’ movies, but I am hoping to get back to watching more adult films soon.
Sarah Wright: I will start shooting a new show (Spinning Out) for Netflix with January Jones and Kaya Scodelario. It’s a drama about ice skating and we shoot it in Toronto.