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Maggie Gyllenhaal talks about the musical indie film, 'Frank'

On August 17, 2014 Examiner Dorri Olds met with members of the cast of the quirky movie, “Frank.” It’s about a band made up of mentally ill musicians led by a very odd duck named Frank (Michael Fassbender). The band has an intentionally unpronounceable name, The Soronprfbs. The lead singer and guitar player, Frank, wears a big paper mache head with a goofy cartoon face. Nobody knows exactly why he does that but they all just accept him for the peculiar fellow he is. Oh, and the band members fancy him a genius, which says boatloads about them.

Maggie Gyllenhaal
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Dorri Olds
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The New York City press event included actors Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Fassbender (click here to read the Michael Fassbender interview), and Domhnall Gleeson. Also present were the director Lenny Abrahamson and co-writer Jon Ronson. The talented cast also includes Scoot McNairy but unfortunately he was not available to attend the event.

Here is the conversation with the ever-radiant Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Dorri Olds: How would you describe the band?

Maggie Gyllenhaal: I think there’s a difference between actually being musical and acting like you’re good at it. I went to see Nick Cave play in Prospect Park the other day. He’s been playing with the Bad Seeds for 20 years and they were so awesome. We [The Soronprfbs] were acting like we were awesome. I think it was a little bit easier for me than for the guys. I was making noise and I think the idea was that my character could do whatever she wanted and I was playing the synthesizer and the theramin. For me, it was more like luck. I knew what most of the knobs did — which is better than most people. And the theramin is like playing air.

How did you prepare for your character, Clara?

Maggie: I think whatever is happening in yourself and around you while you’re shooting a movie can just get poured back into the movie. Every time you work on something it’s going to be a collaboration of the people you’re working with. You’re like, ‘Okay, Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson are going to be in this movie,’ and you have kind of an idea of what that’ll be like and then you get there and they are themselves and the reality of that is always going to be different than what you’d expected. And then you have to think, what’s happening here? How are we going to tell the story with this group of people? That’s always the most interesting part of it; how things shift and change and turn out different than you thought. I think that’s where the life comes from.

How did you come up with Clara’s costume?

At one point, when we first met, we thought she may be like an electronic person who had no style; like a ponytail and sweatpants. But then we thought, no, let’s make her dressed up. I mean why not? If you can. I thought of her as thinking she’s in a French new wave movie all the time even though she’s in a muddy cabin. I don’t know how we would have ever washed our clothes. I guess scrubbing them on a board or something. But she’s a very dirty character like in a Godard movie. That’s what I was going for with the clothes.

Frank” opened in select theaters Friday, Aug. 15 and opens wide on Aug. 29. Rated R. 95 min.