There’s Gina Gershon, answering the door at the start of Killer Joe, naked from the waist down, and not in any hurry to cover herself.
“It definitely makes a statement about who she is,” says Gershon, laughing a bit and reflecting on this woman, Sharla — a character dreamed up by Tracy Letts for his play, and then adapted to the screen by William ( The Exorcist, The French Connection) Friedkin.
The story is trailer-trash noir: A rather dim guy ( Emile Hirsch) and his none-too-bright dad ( Thomas Haden Church) go about hiring a hit man ( Matthew McConaughey). And Gershon gets caught up in all this nasty business, too.
“It’s out there,” says the actress. “I love the opening, because not only does it set the tone of the movie — you can see you’re in for an outrageous ride — but it also just reveals — no pun intended — so much about who she is. Primal, feral, a sort of wild animal who just doesn’t really care.”
The movie is full of sex, violence, deceit, greed — and family.
“You don’t know whether to laugh, or leave,” says Gershon of the NC-17 rated film.
People are using words like “brave” and “fearless” to describe her performance — this for an actress who’s heard that kind of thing before, for Showgirls, for Bound. There’s a brutal scene in which McConaughey’s character forces Gershon down on her knees and force-feeds her fried chicken.
“Sure, it’s a challenging part, but as an actress, that’s fine. I don’t want to be stuck doing the same thing over and over again.”