Waterston is a talented actress, and her Shasta manages to be both provocative and desolate. Of her many scenes, the most memorable finds her nakedly monologuing, before getting violently spanked and taking a roll in the hay with Doc. The Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday called the scene “a bravura erotic set piece.” But Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Nashawaty wrote: “It’s gratuitous and out of place and makes the movie skid to a WTF halt.”
Was it titillating or disturbing? Hard to say. But what was it like to film something like that?
Waterston has been asked so many times she clearly knows it’s coming, and she’s ready.
“I feel that nudity is sort of what we do as actors,” she told the New York Daily News. “But it didn’t feel any more vulnerable or complicated than any other complicated, vulnerable scene I’ve played.”
“In terms of nudity, it’s really not that big of a deal,” she told Huffington Post. “I felt a responsibility to Shasta who was, of course, very comfortable with Doc. I felt a responsibility to be comfortable in this situation.”
“I don’t have shame with my body,” she told W Magazine. “I don’t find a breast more vulnerable than an elbow.”
“I wasn’t freaked out about the nudity,” she told Cineplex.com. “I felt like a very strong responsibility to get Shasta right. She was not afraid, so I was not afraid. It kind of works like that, it’s the luxury of playing a part when someone’s competent, you get to take on the energy of the character and you don’t have to worry about your own neurotic self for a little while, it’s a nice vacation.”
And to HitFix: “On a personal level, I felt, you know, like I was working on a great project with people I respected and felt safe with, so it wasn’t really a big deal honestly.”
So there you have it. Feel a little silly now for asking?
Waterston’s turn in the film arose from a bit of happenstance. Anderson stumbled upon “The Babysitters” one night (we’re guessing on Cinemax) and admired Waterston’s performance as an industrious teenager whose babysitting gig is just a front for a prostitution ring. The 2007 movie grossed less than $45,000 and Waterston joked that Anderson “may have been one of two people who saw it,” during an interview with the New York Times. But saw it he did, so the auteur reached out to Waterston through his casting agent.
Following a cold read and without having cracked the book, Waterston secured the part. Apparently, casting agents and directors have been impressed by more than Waterston’s ability to bare it all. She’s been cast in Danny Boyle’s “Steve Jobs,” as the innovator’s ex, Chrisann Brennan.
That just leaves one more question. Back to the nudity: Has her dad seen the sex scene?
“It really was no big whoop,” he told the New York Times, calling it a brave move on his daughter’s part. Clearly, the ability to handle awkward questions runs in the family.