Sarah Paulson stunned The Goldfinch director with transformative audition

Sarah Paulson stunned The Goldfinch director John Crowley when she underwent an image overhaul to audition for her role as a deadbeat, spray-tanned Las Vegas bar owner.
Speaking to reporters at the Toronto International Film Festival, the actress revealed she had her heart set on the role from the moment she read Donna Tartt’s bestselling novel, even though the part was a stretch.
“I had read it years ago when it first came out and I just remember saying out loud, ‘If they make a movie of this, I would love to play Xandra’,” she told BBC News. “And I was not the choice of John Crowley at the beginning. I think he had a particular image in mind, which is the image you see in the movie, which is not how I usually present.”
The actress sought out producers and asked them to help her land her dream role, and when Crowley agreed to consider her she dressed up as the character to help make his decision an easy one.
“When the film was announced, I saw one of the people producing it was Nina Jacobson, who I’d just worked with on The People versus O.J. I just told her, ‘I have to play Xandra’. I put myself on tape in full Xandra regalia.”
That meant an image overhaul, which surprised Crowley and his producers.
“I hired someone to put a wig on my head, I got a spray tan, I brought cigarettes into my audition, spent an hour in my car screaming to make my voice have a bit of a rasp, because that’s how Donna Tartt describes Xandra’s speaking voice,” Paulson added. “I did all that and made the tape and I got a call saying, ‘Uh-oh, you did very well’. And they weren’t expecting that. Sometimes I think you have to change your physical appearance… I understand why it was hard for people to make the jump.”
Confessing he was stunned by the audition, the director said: “When she was mentioned for Xandra I was like, ‘Really?’ She’s great but I couldn’t quite see that.
“But boy, is the last laugh on me. She went at it with a great character actor’s eye for detail, a love for the book, and she just colonised that role in a way that was amazing.”
The Goldfinch debuts in cinemas on Friday (13Sep19).