Michelle Williams says "Wendy and Lucy" role a gift

Tue Dec 9, 2008 10:51am EST
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Director Kelly Reichardt admits "Wendy and Lucy" is depressing but actress Michelle Williams says making the low-budget movie -- one of the National Board of Review's top 10 independent movies of 2008 -- was a gift.

Williams has earned rave reviews for her performance as Wendy, a drifter chasing a better life who suffers a series of setbacks that culminates in losing her dog Lucy. The film opens in New York and Los Angeles theaters this week.

"It's a gift to be able to work in the exact way that you have always wanted to. I feel really lucky," said Williams as she sat beside Reichardt on a couch at the film's distributor, Oscilloscope Laboratories, in New York's Tribeca neighborhood.

"The performances aren't performances, they're just like a documentary, you feel like you are spying on people, and that has always been the kind of filmmaking that I like."

Made for less than $500,000, "Wendy and Lucy" premiered in May at the Cannes film festival where Lucy, Reichardt's own pet, won the unofficial Palm Dog prize for her role.

"She was a big upstager, always finding the lens," Williams joked of her canine co-star in the movie that was filmed in 18 days in August 2007 in and around Portland, Oregon.

Reichardt wrote the screenplay with Jon Raymond, who she also worked with on her 2006 film "Old Joy."

"He writes in the way that I make films," Reichardt said.   Continued...

<p>Cast member Michelle Williams arrives on the red carpet before the screening of the film "Synecdoche, New York" by U.S. director Charlie Kaufman at the 61st Cannes Film Festival, May 23, 2008. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann</p>