Last month HBO launched the promotional tour for Sharp Objects with an interview to The Wall Street Journal magazine given by Gillian Flynn, Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson.
“Don’t they look related?” says author Gillian Flynn, glancing at Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson, who raise their eyebrows quizzically. The pair play mother and daughter in Sharp Objects, the much-anticipated HBO adaptation of Flynn’s 2006 debut novel, but the suggestion that they resemble their characters makes the actresses understandably uneasy.
Even for those who know Adams’s dramatic range, her portrayal of Camille Preaker is a departure. The darkest, most complex character in a career that has earned Adams, 43, five Oscar nominations, Camille is a newspaper reporter who has written her own story on her body, carving words into her skin. Since being institutionalized, she’s tried to drown her cutting addiction with alcohol. Meanwhile, as Camille’s mother, Adora, Clarkson, 58, relishes withholding affection from her firstborn even as she smothers Camille’s teenage half-sister, Amma, with attention.
When Camille returns to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, to investigate the murder of a young girl, she is forced to confront her past and her grief over the death years before of her younger sister, Marian. She and Adora, who presides over the town with emotionless elegance, share a sense of loss, but little else.
The withering mother-daughter dynamic is the brainchild of Flynn. The 47-year-old author—who penned the screenplay for David Fincher’s 2014 adaptation of her novel Gone Girl—wrote this eight-episode series, which airs starting in July. She and Adams also served on the project as executive producers, a first for each of them. The project was spearheaded by women, including Marti Noxon, a Mad Men veteran who co-wrote and was showrunner; and Jessica Rhoades, then a television executive at Blumhouse (the production company that also released Whiplash and Get Out). Jean-Marc Vallée, fresh off the success of HBO’s Big Little Lies, directed the five-month shoot, with long days on set in Northern California, Los Angeles and the 100-degree heat of Georgia—especially grueling for Adams, who was covered with prosthetic scars from the neck down.