THERE ARE NO SMALL PARTS Miss Sloane.
Canada’s Alison Pill on playing a pivotal (yet low-onscreen-time) role in the new thriller
when we catch up with Alison Pill on the phone, the 31-year-old Toronto native is a few weeks away from giving birth to her first child. “Right now, the pragmatic side of me is kicking in,” says Pill of the imminent arrival. “I’m like, ‘What does one put in a hospital bag?’ If I get too far ahead of myself, I sort of go ‘Oh, my God! Holy heavens, there’s going to be a new person living here.’” Less anxiety inducing is casting her mind back to the filming of Miss Sloane, a story of Washington-insider intrigue starring Jessica Chastain as a lobbyist, Pill as her protege and Toronto as the District of Columbia. Despite having grown up in the city, Pill says it wasn’t that difficult to suspend her disbelief. “I’ve been shooting in Toronto for 20 years, but Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was the only time I shot in Toronto as Toronto,” she says. “It doesn’t really make a difference that way.”
Making a movie in your hometown, however, can result in some eerie coincidences. “It’s funny... my dad used to work in the office where we filmed conferenceroom scenes,” she says. “One of the office managers [when we were filming there] was like, ‘Your dad’s Juri Pill, right?’” I got to go visit my dad’s office and say, like, ‘Dad, you’ll never guess where I am right now!’”
We can’t tell you why Pill’s character (who appears briefly at the movie’s beginning and then briefly at the end) is so important without giving away the film’s jawdropping twist, but we can share why Pill decided to take a minor-on-paper part. “I think the female relationships in the movie are really interesting: Jessica’s character’s relationship with her mentee—me—and with Gugu Mbatharaw’s character,” says Pill. “It’s fascinating to watch a high-powered, ambitious woman navigate female relationships and kind of disrupt expectations throughout about what she is actually capable of.” n