Amy Ryan Interview

Oscar-nominated Amy Ryan stars in Ben Affleck's directorial debut

After years in the shadows, Amy Ryan finally gets to have her day with her Oscar-nominated performance as Helene McCready, a drug-addicted single mother whose daughter gets kidnapped, in Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone.

What do you think of Helene McCready in Gone Baby Gone?

I think she’s an all-too-familiar character in America. A single parent who doesn’t have the luxury of education or healthcare or childcare or any form of therapy, so turns to self-medication, drinks too much and takes too many drugs. If I’m really sympathetic towards her, it’s a woman who is caught in an endless cycle.

You were nominated for an Oscar for your role. What was that experience like?

It’s like training for the Olympics. You’re exhausted, you can barely breathe and you haven’t slept. By the time [the day arrives], it’s like ‘Thank God it’s here!’

You’ve been in the business for a long time. Have you developed a thick skin over time?

Yeah, yeah – I think it’s the difference between a thick skin towards hope versus a thick skin towards ‘Why not me?’ I think getting bitter is the fastest way out of this business.

You’ve since worked with Clint Eastwood on Changeling, and you’ve just finished Green Zone with Matt Damon. Is this your time now?

Had something like Gone Baby Gone not come along, we wouldn’t be talking today. I credit so much of it to Ben Affleck, giving me that opportunity and giving me that part that is so dynamic and well written – that’s certainly paved the way for everything else I’ve been doing since then.

Do you get caught up in the whole obsession over beauty in Hollywood?

I don’t. I enjoy getting dressed up, and for the Oscars having professionals around…because I couldn’t do it! I couldn’t do my hair the way they do it! But in terms of weight and body image, I’ve never been caught up in that. I feel bad for the ones that do, because it’s pointless really. They all end up looking the same and what story then are you able to tell?

Gone Baby Gone opens on 6 June

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