The Oscar-nominated Promising Young Woman has been defined in a lot of different ways since it debuted in late 2020. It's equal parts dark comedy and revenge thriller, with a brilliant cast that includes beloved actress Jennifer Coolidge. Recently, Coolidge spoke with PopCulture about the film, heaping praise on her co-stars, while stating how she firmly believes it's "a movie that people should discuss in their homes."
Written and directed by Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman stars Coolidge as Susan Thomas — the mother of Carey Mulligan's Cassandra "Cassie" Thomas. Cassie is a former med-school student who experienced terrible trauma and now spends her days working in a coffee shop and her nights confronting scumbags who prey on drunk women in nightclubs and bars. Even though she was in the film, Coolidge revealed how she was impacted by it like everyone else when she finally saw the finished project on-screen in a theater. "When the movie finished, I got to be at one of the very early screenings of it. I was in New York City for another job and I was told there was a screening and I went to it, and I just sat there and stared at the screen," she shared.
Coolidge went on to say how she feels the film's "subtle" approach was what led her to have "such a big reaction" to it. "If a movie creeps in and it's not heavy-handed, it's amazing what it can do to the viewer," she said, further explaining how "when you're in the moment, you're just shooting your part; you don't get your witness the" movie in totality. Upon seeing the film in its completed form, "it just made such an impact" on her. " I couldn't believe how I felt," she added.
Attributing a large portion of the film's impact on its cast, Coolidge praised Mulligan specifically, calling her the "the right actress for" the role thanks to her ability to play Cassie so "subtle." She added, "I can see that part being sort of mangled if it would've been played differently." Coolidge also spoke highly of Clancy Brown, who plays her husband in the film, calling him "one of the best actors out there."
Finally, Coolidge mentioned comedian and filmmaker Bo Burnham, calling his involvement in the film "brilliant casting." In the film, Burnham plays Ryan Cooper, an ex-classmate of Cassie's who comes back into her life in a more romantic capacity. "You get used to a certain kind of guy" in films such as this, Coolidge explained, but Burnham "was really charming and hilarious" and "very unassuming."
Coolidge says there are "some actors" out there who are "so good that you actually feel like you're in a documentary," or that "you're interviewing a real person" rather than just working with another actor. "There's just no line between who they are and who they're playing because they're just so good," she added. "I felt that way with him." Promising Young Woman is nominated for five awards at the upcoming 2021 Oscars and is now available to own on Blu-ray and DVD via Amazon.