‘Take Me’ Stars Taylor Schilling And Pat Healy On Making The Year’s Craziest Kidnapping Movie

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Take Me

A new movie has landed on VOD, as they are known to do, but this one is special. It’s a rare, bizarre, twisted little bird. Take Me stars Taylor Schilling and Pat Healy, who also took on double duty as director, and it is a complete and total mindfuck. Go ahead, watch it, and tell me if there is a better word to describe it, because I’d love to know if there is. Though I’ll still refer to it as a mindfuck, and a glorious one at that.

Healy stars as Ray Moody, a professional kidnapper: you need help with a problem in your life, and kidnapping yourself is the way to help you deal with it? This is the guy to call. Which brings us to Schilling’s Anna St. Blair, a woman as gorgeous as she is successful, and just maybe the most unexpected client he’s ever had…or is she?

Take Me is funny and weird and will keep you guessing at every single movement the leads make. Healy is creepy and brilliant as Ray, and as Anna, well, Schilling has never been better. We all know she’s fantastic in Orange Is The New Black, and I’m quite the self-proclaimed fan of The Lucky One, but her work here is just on another level. When I sat down with the duo to discuss the film, which is executive produced by the Duplass Brothers, Schilling explained why this is such a good role for a female right now.

“I love this woman. It kind of strips masculinity and femininity away from gender roles, which it is already, but it takes that idea and says ‘She’s the one with a goal and is going at it and can play the game really, really well.’ I had so much fun making this movie, it was sick. It was just absurd. I just was like, high as a kite. I was a crazy person.”

Oh, but she wasn’t the only thing that was sick. “I couldn’t watch that whole hamburger thing in the beginning,” she admitted of a scene that will make you look at a Parks and Recreation character differently forever. Plus, later in the film when Ray is tasked with hiding a car key from Anna? “I was so grossed out when we were shooting that. We just went off on a tangent. That was all improved. I was disgusted and angry that we were doing that,” she said of the scene that is typical of the movie: shocking, silly, and always over the top. Take Me ping-pongs back and forth from a thriller to a comedy to an action movie and back to a psychological drama, fully embracing the fact that it’s so many genres at once and yet none at all.

Duplass Brothers Productions

So how did Schilling go about researching this intelligent, powerful woman who may or may not have requested her own kidnapping? “For me what was interesting was S&M. People go have these needs filled sexually, but she sort of needs it emotionally. But it’s this same concept of needing to be dominate or be dominated, and what that satisfies internally. So that kind of was a template for me, but it was even more interesting because it wasn’t about harnesses and pleather. It was a little more subtle and heartbreaking to me because I imagined her as an addict. Somebody who’s not able to connect with other humans or anybody, anything. It’s not like she can connect with a dog either, who can’t really connect and feels incredibly alone and then these spurts of heightened experience, these experiences fill her in this way where she gets a hit and then she can go on for a couple more weeks until she gets her next hit. It was really someone who’s very damaged and she only could feel herself, her own inner life, her own self, when those specific boxes were checked. When she was being dominated and then when she was being dominant. It was so weird to me. It was just very exciting and complicated. I think it was more the soul and spirit that I can relate to and most other people can relate to, of feeling other and alone and lonely. We live in an incredibly addicted world so, this is her addiction. It so wild to be loving playing afraid. She’s a good actress. I also think that research came [for me] just by being an actress. She’s playing a part.”

That’s not to say Schilling didn’t get a taste of some S&M themes while shooting this movie. Her character spends quite a long time tied to a chair in a basement, and yes, it made her a bit claustrophobic — but she liked it. “It helped me. I had my feet bound the whole time, even when you weren’t seeing my feet. It did help. Even the physicality is a part of what she was getting off on. It’s interesting, the whole thing.”

Also interesting about the whole thing is how you really never know which character is telling the truth, which one is playing a role, or which one just might be a bit confused about what’s going on. It turns out Schilling was confused and a bit skeptical about the script. “When I was reading it for the first time, I was like, ‘What kind of misogynistic crap is this? Who needs to see a movie about a woman getting kidnapped and thrown into a basement? A powerful woman, no less. What are we doing? Punishing CEOs?’ But then I thought it was so cool.” As for how they were sure to keep viewers wondering, Healy explains, “I think that the balance, how it came together, happened more in post. It wasn’t just about, ‘Is it this or is it that?’ It just had to be a constant, ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen next.’ I will give Taylor a lot of credit for that, because what she does is pivots constantly and gives you so much to work with. There this scene in the bathtub where she’s sitting there. And it’s only one take that I used where she’s so sad and you feel so much for her and then she does something hilarious and then she’s yelling, genuinely scary. Because of what she does, you’re sort of like my character. You don’t know where you’re being lead and I think that’s the main reason why it worked so well.”

There’s a lot to be said for the on-screen chemistry these two actors share though, which works out well for the film considering the majority of it is dedicated to their interactions. “I was very focused on this character and I think that it kind of hung out with me the whole time,” Schilling said. “I don’t know if a part of that was also that [Healy] was directing, but more so than many things I’ve done, it almost felt like doing a piece of theater to me. I’ve never worked with somebody who was acting and directing. It’s a wild thing. It’s a lot of work.”

As for Healy’s experience with directing and starring in the film at the same time, he explains, “I found it really fun and quite easy prepping and shooting. I mean, it was stressful and it was tiring. But I found it really difficult in post. First of all, it’s really long. We shot for 18 days and we’ve been in post since May [of 2016]. We’re really just finishing now [April of 2017], but the editing was like 4 months. I thought that the hardest thing was going into a room and looking at myself on a screen everyday. I just didn’t think about it ahead of time and how difficult that would be. I’m not that in love with myself or the way I look. I was really hard on myself. I was really happy with the acting. Also other people are weighing in on things that are really deeply personal to you. But I’m really happy with the movie. It turned out great. It turned out the way I wanted it to. It just was a long and winding, arduous road.”

Don’t forget at the beginning of this road stood two of the industries smartest players, Mark and Jay Duplass. Schilling previously starred in another movie they produced, The Overnight, realizing, “I’ve made two very weird movies with them. I loved making that movie also.” But just as so many of us will watch a movie with their stamp of approval on it, actors will read a script when it comes from their hands, as Schilling did before signing on to this film. “In the shooting of it, my experience was that [the Duplass brothers] were very uninvolved in the best way. They allowed for a lot of freedom. They let their filmmakers play, just play like kids. Like good parents. Here’s a sandbox and go at it, go to town. I love that. For me, when Mark calls me and says that he has something, I really trust his aesthetic. I appreciate the singularity of his story telling. I know what I’m getting myself into, it’s so clear. I mean, he has such a clear aesthetic that when he calls and says, ‘I like somebody’ I know what that means and I’m usually willing to go on that ride because it doesn’t feel as scary as just hopping in with a new director.”

Duplass Brothers Productions

And finally, what everyone will be wondering after viewing this movie that will have you in equal parts laughing, worried, and puzzled: who would they want to kidnap — of course with the “victim” being fully willing? For Healy and Schilling, it’s a mixed bag. I suggest Beyonce, to which Schilling agrees, “Beyonce would be really fun, if she wanted to be kidnapped.” Healy went a bit of a different route, saying, “Bob Dylan will never talk straight but I’d love to get him and make him say what he means and just talk about stuff. But that would mean he’d hate me and that would be terrible because he’s my hero.”

There was admirably less hesitation on Schilling’s part, as she offered, “I’d like to kidnap several people. One of the people I’d like to kidnap would be William Blake. I know, very highbrow of me. But I do feel like with all of his vision and mystical understandings of things, he could help me out. He might be able to give me some pointers. Same vein, different track: I’d like to kidnap Oprah. I feel like she’d be helpful. I would like to kidnap Barack Obama. For sure. But it could be a two for one deal; both him and Michelle.” And finally she asked, “Do you know who Amanda Palmer is, the musician? She would be really fun. Maybe if you publish it, she’ll actually become friends with me.” Girl, after she watches Take Me, she’ll be texting you right away.

Where to watch Take Me

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