Where are you, Bernadette?
The Maria Semple’s best-selling novel is adopted on the big screen in Where’d You Go, Bernadette in this fun mystery drama.
The film stars Cate Blanchett, Kristen Wiig, Billy Crudup, Judy Greer, Trojan Bellisario and Emma Nelson. It is directed by Richard Linklater. The screenplay adaptation is written by Linklater, Holly Gent and Vincent Palmo Jr.
The film is about a loving mom who becomes compelled to reconnect with her creative passions after years sacrificing herself for her family. Bernadette’s leap of faith takes her on an epic adventure that jump-starts her life and leads to her triumphant rediscovery.
LRM Online exclusively spoke with the young actress Emma Nelson on her major starring role as Bee in the film. We discussed about the book and a lot of behind the scenes production.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette is playing in theaters nationwide today.
Read our exclusive interview below.
LRM: Hey, I checked out the movie. I love this movie.
Emma Nelson: Great. Thank you so much, Gig.
LRM: What initially attracted you to this project of Where’d You Go, Bernadette?
Emma Nelson: I had been trying to get into acting in film and TV. This was more of an audition that was a part of my everyday thing. It was trying to get something to stick. It would blessed that what attracted me to it, but rather after the fact on how connected I can came to it. At first, I knew very little about the project. I sent off an audition. I really liked the material, but I didn’t expect anything to come from it.
LRM: Were you familiar with the book before for yourself?
Emma Nelson: I wasn’t familiar with the book before. Before I went to the callback, I read the book. I can’t count on how many times I’ve read it since.
LRM: What did you think about the changes from the book to the movie?
Emma Nelson: I think that it is very difficult on how the book is written to translate it into a film. I think it was written pretty seamlessly. My character is very focused, driven. Um, you know, I learned about who Bee was in a book and not through the script at first. I would say that our goal was really to capture the spirit of Bernadette and less about very specific scenes or words. It is more about capturing the essence of the stock into a film. I really think that is what we did.
LRM: I absolutely agree. I think you guys did capture that essence. I agree with the changes from the book to the screen.
Emma Nelson: That’s what I like to think.
LRM: What do you like about your character Bee for yourself?
Emma Nelson: I like to think that Bee seems like the best part of myself. She is so studio, so driven, so passionate. I really admired the relationship she has with both of her parents, because I think that she is such an emotional and intelligent girl. She has a lot going for her and a really emotional character for somebody who’s so young. I think that it’s a little bit more rare to see a character, who is so young–also has a really complicated life. Now she’s coming for herself. She is growing up. I think that not only did I admire her, but I found myself within her.
LRM: Tell me about a acting alongside with your onscreen parents. You have such good synergy and chemistry for with parents.
Emma Nelson: Thank you so much. We got to know each other pretty well, because we had rehearsals before we filmed anything. We had a month of rehearsals going through every single scene. That was hours a day and we just sat in the room. We were really getting into character into this family unit that the later we bonded. We had these family dynamics even before we started filming.
LRM: Who did you spend more time with on set for yourself?
Emma Nelson: I can’t really say exactly. I spent a lot of time with both of my onscreen parents, but I don’t really remember who I have the most scenes with. I think it’s pretty evenly distributed.
LRM: One of my favorite scenes is in the car of you with Cate Blanchett a singing car karaoke. Could you talk more about that?
Emma Nelson: That’s also my favorite scene. Probably one of my favorite scenes to film and to watch. I loved it so much, because it was such an intimate moment. Between Bee and Bernadette, it just showcasing really how close they were. Not just mother and daughter, but they were partners in crime. It was such a fun moment to film. We were in this car on set, but it was pouring rain. There was like a rain machine and there was music blasting. We were singing a lot. We were actually singing and dancing to it. It wasn’t like we stopped when the cameras qwew off.It was a fun moment for us. It was fun, because I really felt like it was just us and there was no cameras outside. It was a really fun time that I got to really do my character.
LRM: [Laughs] Did you had a lot of practice beforehand?
Emma Nelson: Oh yeah. Rick [Linklater] is wonderful in the way that he gives his actors so much time to rehearse. We had a month of rehearsals like I said before. We went through every single scene that we had in the movie and talked it through, changed things and rewrote things. We had a lot of practice.
LRM: You had a scene playing some sort of flute. I’m not sure what is it called? Did you actually play that?
Emma Nelson: A funny story. That is not my actual sound that I’m producing. The shakuhachis is played by three or four people in North America. They couldn’t even find a shakuhachis that made the right noise, because we found shakuhachis professional. The shakuhachis that I was playing. It was him playing and I was just handling things.
LRM: [Laughs] Well, you absolutely fooled me. That was pretty awesome.
Emma Nelson: Thank you.
LRM: Let’s talk about Antarctica scene, was that all CGI?
Emma Nelson: Absolutely not. We went to Greenland to film Antarctica, which is crazy is for me. We went on a boat to Greenland. All of our water were on the rock all day. It is 100 percent real. Some of the interior scenes were filmed in Pittsburgh. The scenes that you see outside if you ever see us on the water, that was 100 percent real arctic waters in Greenland.
LRM: What was Greenland like for yourself? I’m assuming this is your first trip there.
Emma Nelson: Yes, it is my first trip. Biggest word to describe it that it was cold. Other than cold, it was actually very cool to be there. I was thinking that I wouldn’t enjoy it at first. After being out on the water, it was so serene and so beautiful. I would actually love to go back one day if I have the chance to go for a trip. It’s beautiful. It’s absolutely beautiful.
LRM: I’m assuming when you were in Greenland you didn’t really see any animals. I don’t think there are any penguins over there.
Emma Nelson: [Chuckles] There aren’t any penguins. That is CGI. But, we did see some whales.
LRM: Oh, wow!
Emma Nelson: I think I have footage, because I did see whales. I found a picture on my phone. I think it might be on my mom’s phone. We would wake up in the morning, look out the window and we’ll see whales in the water.
LRM: That’s pretty awesome. What was the best experience you did have in Greenland for yourself? Was it the whales?
Emma Nelson: No, actually. I don’t know if you recall that at the end of the movie, there’s a scene with Cate, Billy and I sitting on a rock. There was this beautiful sunset. It’s the closing of the movie. I just remembered we were all sitting there and we were laughing so hard. It took so long [to film]. We just made each other crack up so much. In this scene, there were no words. We were just sitting there and it took like two hours of sitting on this rock. It was the last scene of the day and it was so beautiful. We were looking out at that sunset. I was there with Cate and Billy. It was kind of a transformative experience. I still remember this day. It was beautiful looking out on those rocks. I would say that’s my favorite, but the whales were a close second.
LRM: What about doing your scenes in Seattle. You got to visit the SkyCity Restaurant in the Space Needle. Could you also talk more about the house that was on this production?
Emma Nelson: It was really fun to be at the Space Needle. One weird thing that I don’t think most people think about, for consistency, every time we had a scene we would have to move the actual restaurant back to the starting position. It wouldn’t go around, just go there and back. It was really fun, because we filmed late at night. It was at like 6:00 PM into the early morning. It was Seattle seemed quiet and then we were just up here filming. It was really cool to look out to a beautiful city. It’s a beautiful city.
LRM: What about the house that the onscreen family lives in?
Emma Nelson: That was not located in Seattle. That was in Pittsburgh. We have two different locations for the house. Sometimes some of the house would being on [a sound stage]. We would build the sets. Then sometimes you go on location. On location, that house is revamped. It was the coolest thing to watch because it was ruined. The house is really cool me outside, but inside it was like totally old. There was barely anything left out there. We would try to go on like four or five rooms into this beautiful place.
LRM: My last question for you is–would you love to visit Antarctica someday?
Emma Nelson: I actually would. I think that going to Greenland really cause my interest in going to Antarctica. I’ve actually spoken to a few people who have gone to Antarctica and all of them say it’s like a calling. So I think I actually would like to go to Antarctica. That’s an interesting question.
LRM: Great. I enjoyed your role in this film. I don’t think that you realize how big this film is going to be, but I think you did very well.
Emma Nelson: It was great talking to you.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette is playing in theaters nationwide today.
Source: LRM Online Exclusive