The Mare of Easttown finale aired Sunday, wrapping up a lot of questions that fans had, and a few they didn't even know about. Ahead of the big episode, actress Mackenzie Lansing sat down with PopCulture to talk about the show, including what it was like working opposite the "amazing" Kate Winslet. In Mare of Easttown, Lansing played Brianna Del Rasso, a troubled young woman who initially was a suspect in the murder of Erin McMenamin (Cailee Spaeny), whom Brianna was known to bully.
This lands Brianna in an interrogation room with Winslet's Detective Mare Sheehan, a showdown that brought a lot of tension to the story. Speaking about what it was like to work with Winslet, Lansing said that "working with her was amazing," and noted that the Oscar winner "took on the role of mentor on set" as well as took "her role as producer very seriously." Lansing added, "I felt a hundred percent from her where this was like her baby and she took it very seriously and also wanted everybody on set to feel welcome and included."
Lansing went on to share that she and Winslet hung out and got to know one another "fairly well" during the show's filming. "We joked around," Lansing said, adding, "She's just a normal, really funny person who's an amazing actress, but also a mom and has interests in and is really funny." Lansing referred to an episode of the comedy Extras, wherein Winslet played herself, saying, "That's what she's like in real life. Very in the moment, when she's shooting, she's doing her thing."
In addition to sharing her experience working with Winslet, Lansing also opened up about her character, who she understands fans had a tough time liking because of how cruel and off-putting she is. "You're not supposed to like her," Lansing explained. "And even people who don't like her after she has a change of heart, I get it, and I have feelings about characters like that too. And I think that the good thing is she's getting reactions and that's what you want out of a character, you know?"
As for how she crafted Brianna into the multi-dimensional character we saw onscreen, Lansing shared that she took inspiration from real-life experience. "I thought a lot about people that I knew in my small town who were that girl, who were very sort of loud mouth and outspoken." She added, "I grew up in France — but in a blue-collar town — and...there's a very particular aspect to that."
Lansing also shared, "I think also I think when you play a character that's problematic, you're doing a disservice to the writing and to supporting the people who are 'good characters.' And if you don't view this as a whole person, a fully rounded person, and try to bring humanity to them and kind of justify what they're doing in your own head, even when they're doing horrible things because that's going to make it more authentic." HBO Max subscribers can watch the entire season of Mare of Easttown any time on the streaming service.