Mila Kunis talks about playing Ani in her latest Netflix release 'Luckiest Girl Alive', and how she unwinds post emotionally draining shoots.
What was it about this film that got you interested as an actor and a producer?
I loved the book (of the same name by Jessica Knoll) and then the script came to me and it was so good. We just worked on the ending a little bit, but I couldn’t wait to get involved from an acting point of view. I trusted Mike (director Mike Barker), but I was also excited to be part of the process on both sides of the camera.
How did you connect with this character who seems to have it all, but is secretly struggling with something terrible in her past?
I think Ani is all of us. We all have a version of ourselves that we put forward and an internal dialogue that we never say out loud. The story works so well because Ani (played by Kunis) is insanely relatable to everybody, regardless of gender. There is no human that doesn’t have two versions of themselves. There is just something inside of our brains that we are constantly battling with, whether we listen to it or not. This is a story that explores and exposes that.
What aspect of playing two sides of Ani did you enjoy the most?
I loved the inner dialogue and how you not only get to hear it but see it too. It’s like a conversation she is having within herself, as a whole other person that is dying to get out, but she won’t allow it.
Did this story make you think about moments from your own past that may have had an effect
on your life?
We all have our own individual stories, but there is always a reason for everything that happens. In Ani’s case, it’s an accident. It moulds who she becomes, but doesn’t define who she is. That is a specific difference I hope people realise. We all have something that happened to us, which brought us where we are today, but that isn’t necessarily who we are.
How did you go about preparing for this role?
I learned a lot from a film I did before with Glenn Close called Four Good Days, where I played a drug addict. I realised that experiences can have long-lasting effects, but you can’t just be that one thing. Understanding trauma started there for me. The other thing this movie tackles is how quickly, as a society, we put labels on people just because those terms are convenient for us. That idea of survivor versus victim was something I was curious about.
Given the fact you are a famous actor, many would say you must have it all. What do you say to that?
I do think I’m fortunate, but there are a lot of things wrong with me. I have a very healthy relationship with my career, but who I am and what I do are two very different things. I never felt like I needed to put on a persona in order to protect myself as Ani does. I also never had to get on social media. I don’t know what happened, but I never had the obsessive-compulsive desire to see what people say about me all the time.
How important is family when you are working on a project as heavy and emotional as this one?
My family is the truth. I don’t ask anything of my kids other than to be their awesome selves. I happen to have an incredible partner who is fully aware of what my job entails and what I might come home as. So as far as unwinding from this goes, he made sure that he had a glass of wine waiting for me the second I got home. He made dinner and if I got home super late, he would have a plate in the microwave.
We have heard that you like to unwind by watching reality TV. Your favourites?
All the 'Bachelor' shows and also 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'.
Having lived the life of the ‘luckiest girl alive', what would you tell your younger self if you could go back?
I’m just grateful that something in my life prevented me from getting into that kind of situation.