Until this year's Sundance, Mary Elizabeth Winstead was mostly known for roles in genre films like "The Thing," "Scott Pilgrim," and "Death Proof," but then she made "Smashed," which recently traveled up to the Toronto International Film Festival to collect even more raves.
But in "Smashed," Winstead plays one half of an alcoholic couple that decides to kick the habit, just runs into more troubles from there, and she's earned raves for it.
MTV News caught up with Winstead in Toronto, where she talked about watching the film develop, how to laugh at alcoholism, and the reactions from real addicts.
It took time for Winstead to see what "Smashed" would become after she signed on and watched stars sign on and a final cut come together.
"I saw a rough cut, which is the cut they submitted to Sundance, and I already loved it. I had no music, it was roughly edited, and it already just blew me away," she said. "I was like, 'Wow. If it's only going to get better from here, with the more edits they do, I can only imagine how great it's going to be.' I was so happy. For me, I couldn't believe I was the first one to sign onto it, so when they started adding people like Aaron Paul and Octavia Spencer and Nick Offerman, I was just like 'Whoa, people are going to see this movie now. There are amazing people in it.' it's just gotten better and better every step of the way."
What people probably won't assume about "Smashed" is that it's actually part comedy, something which Winstead said takes some getting used to. "It's kind of nervous laughter at first because you're not sure," she said. " 'Is this accidentally funny and we're not supposed to?' The more you watch the film, you realize, no, we do want you to laugh. It's a big part of the film."
Part of showing "Smashed" to the public has been hearing the opinions of real-life alcoholics, something that has meant a great deal to Winstead. "It was amazing at Sundance. We had a couple people come up to us—we were standing up for the Q&A—and just say, 'I'm in recovery, I've been through this, and this story is my story. You captured it so well.' We all would get choked up, standing on stage, when people would stand up and say stuff like that," she said. "It was amazing to feel like we actually did something truthful and hit the right note. It was amazing."