Double Life follows a widow (Pascale Hutton) who finds out from her late husband’s mistress (Javicia Leslie) that his death was not an accident. Both women work together to unmask the truth behind the man they both loved.
I got to chat with Pascale about the movie.
What is it about Double Life that appealed to you?
Well, I found out about the movie initially, because the director Martin Wood called me up out of the blue, he said, “What are you doing? I’ve got this great movie; I’ve got this great part. Let me give you the rundown of what this is”. Martin and I have a long-standing history together, we’ve worked together off and on a lot. For the last 20 years, I’ve worked with him more than any other director in the business and so when Martin calls me, and he’s excited about a project, I normally trust him (laughs). He’ll love that “normally trust him”, I ALWAYS trust you (laughs) because I think he has really good taste and I think he’s got a really good sensibility.
He also knows what I can do, and how he can push me in new kinds of realms. He was really jazzed about the project, really excited about the dynamic. Then he goes on to start describing the script and it’s the story of two women. I think I even stopped him and I was like, “okay, but so who’s the male lead? “ and he’s like, “so that’s the thing. It’s the two women, they are the two leads of the show, it’s their story, it’s their journey and their journey towards friendship and journey towards connection”. That was so intriguing to me, because that just doesn’t come along very often in scripts period Not to mention the fact that these two women have such a prickly, complicated relationship that they need to sift through. They’re thrown together, forced together, they have to rely on one another, but they really don’t want to so there’s a lot going on under the surface. So, how do they kind of journey past that and get to the other side, where they actually enjoy each other’s company and connect? I love that, that was a really complicated, interesting character and relationship that I was excited to explore.
It’s a complicated love/hate relationship in the beginning, at least with Sharon and Jo. How did you work with Javicia to make this great chemistry between the both of you?
Well, I mean, it helps when you have a wonderful scene partner who is incredibly intelligent and prepared and thoughtful, which is Javicia. The two of us really talked about this relationship and the dynamic between the two of us. Then fortunately, the stuff where the two women are more connected and relying on one another, and friendly with one another. We film those ones later on. I don’t think that that happened on purpose, I think it was just a stroke of good luck. But by that point, we had put in a number of weeks of acting together, hanging out together, joking around together, having lunch together and so we had a rapport. It kind of evolved naturally that informs and lends itself to the on-screen relationship. It’s kind of that back and forth. So, that’s how it evolved.
How do you personally prepare for your roles? Does it change depending on the project?
It definitely did. It definitely changes depending on the project, how I’ll prepare for a role. This one, I felt like I needed to do a lot of work because I’ve been filming this TV show for 10 years now and playing this one role. That’s so unbelievably different than the role of Sharon and Double Life. I felt like I really needed to really ruminate on Sharon and Sharon’s journey and Sharon’s relationship with her husband and Sharon’s relationship with Jo in the movie. Because it felt like I was really entering a different world that I hadn’t been in as an actor in a long time. Fortunately, I have a really wonderful and long-standing relationship with Martin and he was a really good touchstone; he and I talked a lot about this relationship and where she was coming from and he had lots of ideas. I had lots of ideas and we kind of had a constant dialogue going on throughout the whole movie. Then just finding where that character lives physically also, because my other character on When Calls the Heart is very theatrical and larger than life and this woman I think, inherently isn’t like that. But on top of it, she’s in these very extreme circumstances of her husband dying, and then finding out these truths about her husband, and then trying to piece together the murder of her husband and the conspiracy of that. There were so many things that weren’t pizzazz-y about this role; I kind of had to think a lot about that, and talk a lot.
Great and you kind of alluded to your relationship a little bit already with Martin Wood. But how is it really to work with him?
Martin is hilarious. Martin is super high energy. He doesn’t drink coffee, but he is the most buzzy energetic person on set. Hands down. Nobody even comes close. He always jokes; people always are like, “Oh, can I grab you a coffee?” He’s like, “can you grab me a coffee? Can you imagine what I’d be like my coffee?” (laughs) So energetic, he is always at the end of a take. He’ll Scream “Cut”, which always kind of jars everyone. It’s very funny and he keeps the set moving very quickly, very fast. He knows what he wants in terms of the picture cinematically. I love working with a director who has a clear vision. But he and I also have quite a shorthand dialogue that we can talk about character, we can talk about choices and come to a conclusion and a consensus on. It’s very collaborative, all at the same time.
Yeah, I love working with Martin; this is kind of funny. So, I got hit in the nose very lightly in one of the action sequences, and it was by Javicia. Now, it was a total accident, and it was very minimal. But Martin and I got it in our heads that what we were going to do is we photoshopped a photo of me and made it look like I had this terrible, terrible black eye and swollen nose for the next day of filming. So, I’m texting Javicia pictures going, “Oh, my God, look what you did to my nose. I don’t know, what’s makeup going to do with this?”. Then Martin’s phony phoning Javicia saying, “we need you to come in early, because Pascale’s got this nose” and Javicia was freaking out. So, that’s what working with Martin is like; Martin loves a good practical joke.
I would love to see Sharon and Joe potentially investigating something again in the future. Would that interest you?
Oh my goodness, we kept on saying it through the whole shooting of the movie that this feels like the beginning of a partnership that needs to continue. We want to see these two women pursue this connection, this relationship, this partnership further. This felt like just the first chapter, really like the origin story of Jo and Sharon (laughs). I would love that! That would be amazing. It would be wonderful to continue with Javicia, continue with Martin and continue with this story and these characters.
What’s your favorite aspect of Sharon’s journey as a character?
I think my favorite aspect of Sharon’s journey is the development of her trust with Jo, that she starts the movie quite vulnerable and kind of weak. And she ends up relying on Joe and Jo’s strength ends up bolstering Sharon and Sharon ends up finding these reserves of strength and initiative that she maybe didn’t realize she had on her own. It’s really the story is about to women building each other up to be their best, strongest selves. That’s a wonderful thing to play as an actor, but it’s a wonderful story to watch also.
Do you have plans to direct in the future? Or possibly do you have a dream project you want to work on?
That’s a big question (laughs). I have been toying with this idea of directing for so so long; it’s been a tough one for me to wrap my head around for a while because I have had a young family. But my kids are a bit older now and it sort of feels like it might be a natural evolution. I’ve been in this business a long time and I’ve worked with wonderful directors like Martin wood over and over again. He is incredibly generous with his knowledge and his process. In fact, Javicia shadowed him on this particular project and he was wonderful. He was teaching her so much about lenses and angles and what’s the story that we’re trying to tell with the different shots. That was really exciting just even to watch from the sidelines for myself to be there and witness that mentor mentee kind of relationship go on. I don’t know. We’ll see. We’ll see what ends up happening maybe one day.
What do you want audiences to take away from Double Life?
I hope audiences feel really excited about seeing two women with a really complicated relationship, supporting each other and be really strong and fierce and working together. That that’s a relationship that can exist and it’s exciting. It’s just as exciting as seeing two men in that relationship or a male and a female in that relationship and I hope that’s what is exciting for an audience.
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat and all the best with the film.
Paramount Global Content Distribution will release DOUBLE LIFE, in Theaters and on Digital on May 5, 2023 and on Demand on May 19, 2023.