(KUTV) Jenny Slate has made a name for herself in television comedies and indie films, but for "Gifted" Slate found herself stepping outside of her comfort zone to play a more traditional "movie character."
Slate plays Bonnie, a school teacher who discovers that one of her students (Mckenna Grace) is gifted in mathematics. By bringing the student's talents to the attention of the elementary's principal she unwittingly places herself in the middle of a custody battle between the girl's uncle Frank (Chris Evans) and his mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan)
"She's the most straightforward character that I've ever played," Slate says. "I often play people who are sort of tripping their way through a situation that is difficult and rather authentic in one way or another.”
Slate says that she typically finds herself “coloring outside the lines” when it comes to her characters.
“I was interested in just fitting this mold. Can I even fit a mold? And the answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no,’” she says.
Slate says that director Marc Webb “completely understood me as a performer,” relaying a story where Webb described her technique as “doing 70 percent of what you’re asked to do and 30 percent of what you want to do.”
“I remember thinking, ‘Yeah, that’s probably right,’ but I have to keep an eye on it. Because there’s a way in which that’s great and there’s a way in which that can be disrespectful,” Slate says.
"Gifted" expands nationwide on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.