Florence Pugh's 'Midsommar' Performance Required Her To Go To Dark Places

Florence Pugh's 'Midsommar' Performance Required Her To Go To Dark Places

by Anyu Ching

Florence Pugh revealed in a recent episode of the Off Menu podcast that her Midsommar performance required her to go dark places in order to capture her character’s emotional state.

The A24 horror, directed by Ari Aster, depicts the psychotic break of Pugh’s character, Dani, when she attends a Swedish midsummer festival with her boyfriend Christian, played by Jack Reynor. Pugh explained how she “was so wrapped up in” the role of Dani that she “would just be imagining the worst things because each day the content would be getting more weird and harder to do.”

“I’d never played someone that was in that much pain before,” Pugh explained to podcast hosts Ed Gamble and James Acaster. “I would put myself in really shit situations that other actors maybe don’t need to do.”

The Don’t Worry Darling actress recalled how by the time shooting for the film had wrapped, Pugh “felt immense guilt” over what both she and her character had been through. “I was putting things in my head that were just getting worse and more bleak,” Pugh confessed. “I think by the end, I had probably — most definitely — abused my own self in order to get that performance.”

Pugh remembers looking out of the plane window as she was leaving for Boston to shoot Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, seeing the field where they had shot the majority of the film and feeling guilty. “I had created such a sad person and then felt guilty that I created that person and then left her,” she said.

Pugh has expressed in the past how some parts of Midsommar were difficult and “terrifying” for her to shoot. In an Instagram post in March 2021, Pugh shared, “I’ve never been an actor that finds it easy to cry on camera, it’s something very personal to me and despite finding all other aspects of acting exciting and thrilling, I find crying very scary.”

“Scenes that make you hurt, or cringe, or turn away from the screen when watching, are scenes that were designed to make you feel for ten seconds at least, the most human,” the post went on. “But for us, it was hours. Beautiful, hard, proud hours.”

Photo via Getty/David M. Benett