Lewis Pullman spoke to uInterview founder Erik Meers about working on The Starling Girl, a drama that premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival over the weekend.

The Starling Girl, the debut feature from writer-director Laurel Parmet, tells the story of 17-year-old Jem (Eliza Scanlen) in a repressive, evangelical Christian community in Kentucky who begins an affair with her predatory youth pastor (Pullman).

Pullman said there were “a lot of hard scenes” in shooting the film.

“There’s one scene at the end that was cut that was definitely the hardest scene, and I think it was cut for good reason,” he said. “We went a little overboard. This story has a lot of realism to it, it almost feels like a docudrama, so to bring it so far into a very narrative, theatrical, operatic conclusion felt a little dissonant to what we were trying to do.”

He continued on to talk about what the film says about female sexuality and repression.

“I think that it is really trying to hone in on the gray area that’s maybe not so obvious to the common eye, isn’t so blaring,” he said. “So I think that there’s a lot of those situations happening all around us that maybe get blown over because they’re not as obvious or they’re a little more like a snake in the grass.”

He added, “Laurel set it in these circumstances, in this community for good reason. I think that thematically it really allows for Jem’s storyline to really sing in terms of her feeling repressed sexually and just expressively.”

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