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Wolf Stars Talk Playing Misunderstood Characters With Empathy & Care

Wolf Stars Talk Playing Misunderstood Characters With Empathy & Care

George MacKay and Lily-Rose Depp chat with Out about the new Focus Features drama Wolf.

Focus Features' latest title Wolf is a wild ride (no pun intended). The drama, written and directed by filmmaker Nathalie Biancheri, tells the story of Jacob, a boy who suffers from species dysphoria, believing himself to be a wolf. When he is sent away by his family to a mental health facility, he meets a fellow patient named Wildcat, and in a space that is almost completely devoid of compassion, understanding, and basic humanity, the two find solace in each other.

The film's depictions of the abusive, cruel practices from so-called mental health professionals and people in power will resonate with those in the LGBTQ+ community who have survived any kind of conversion therapy or circumstances in which people were constantly telling them to change who they are.

Out got the chance to speak to the film's two lead stars, 1917's George MacKay and The King's Lily-Rose Depp, about playing misunderstood and marginalized characters with care and empathy, and what they hope audiences take from the film.

"It's almost impossible to play a character without treating them with love and respect and understanding and, you know, you can't step into somebody's shoes if you're judging the kind of person that they are or you're judging the way that they see themselves," Depp told Out. "I think it's really important to treat every aspect of your character with as much understanding and empathy as you probably treat yourself. That's what's so touching and compelling about these characters. They are really, really genuine and the state/states that they're in when we meet them in the movie are really vulnerable, really intimate states. I think treating those with as much sensitivity and compassion as possible was the only way that we could have gone about it."

"I completely agree with Lily," MacKay added. "I remember asking Natalie, 'Is there anything that I can watch just kind of tonally for inspiration and things?' And she gave me a bunch of cinema to watch, for all films, for all different reasons which we were never trying to kind of emulate but just was an inspiration to her. There's an amazing film called Border. It's a Swedish film about trolls and I watched that and was so blown away by the people kind of committed to something pretty different and the beauty of it, just in terms cinematically. That was another reason with this, kind of go, wow, I think this has the potential to kind of, you know, we can go there with it."

Wolf is now playing in select theaters.

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