Oscar-Nominated John Hawkes and Hugh Dancy Talk the Mysterious ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’

You’ll think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. Martha Marcy May Marlene blew my mind at this year’s Sundance.

The film, written and directed by first-timer Sean Durkin, would have been a riveting drama based on Elizabeth Olsen’s disturbed performance alone. But thanks to its rich supporting cast, each bringing a dense, concealed backstory that trickles through every moment of the movie, it’s easily one of the year’s best. It’s all about the casting—and Durkin fills the movie’s male co-starring roles with some of the finest actors in the business.

John Hawkes, nominated for an Oscar last year for his work in Winter’s Bone, plays the leader of a commune who takes a particular fancy for Martha. Hugh Dancy, who just wrapped a season of the acclaimed dramedy Nurse Jackie, plays Martha’s brother-than-law, slightly unenthused by her unexpected appearance in his life. They’re polar opposite characters with plenty brewing behind there cold exteriors.

In person, they couldn’t be more different. I had a chance to sit down with both gents and talk about diving deep into their characters, showing restraint and the differences between Hollywood and the indie world. Unlike their characters, they were quite open.