The Killers of the Flower Moon star gets an American Masters profile.
Maybe Lily Gladstone was a little too convincing for her own good in Certain Women, the 2016 drama in which she played a lonely Native American woman drawn to a young lawyer (Kristen Stewart) teaching a night class at a rural education center.
“A lot of people had the perception I was just a Montana ranch hand that happened to be natural on film,” she recalls in Lily Gladstone: Far Out There, the short American Masters profile now available for online streaming. But appearances can be deceiving: Her critically acclaimed performance “was very, very concentrated character work that I did every day for two months leading up to walking on set.”
Directed by Brooke Pepion Swaney, the fascinating 14-minute documentary portrait gets up-close and personal as Gladstone describes her journey from her childhood on the Blackfeet Reservation in Northwestern Montana, where her family strongly encouraged her to follow her dreams, to her auditioning for a potentially star-making role in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon.
Viewers get to see snippets of Gladstone’s career-building performances in such indie films as Winter in the Blood (with co-star Chaske Spencer) and Certain Women, and hear as she describes the unique demands of her art, the focused approach she takes while preparing for each new role, and the joy she feels when she returns to “the rez” in Montana to conduct an acting working for high school students.
Swaney describes her documentary as a snapshot of a star on the rise. “Pinnacle isn’t the right word to describe the current place in Lily Gladstone’s acting career,” the director says. “I am sure there is yet so much more to come. And by the same token, I don’t think that Lily even thinks of it that way, although mainstream society certainly views Lily’s career to this point in this way. It isn’t necessarily about an arrival, but a moment in her life, where this firm groundedness, call it self-actualization, will serve her as things are about to get surreal with the fame machine.”
Here is Lily Gladstone: Far Out There.