Florence Pugh Says She 'Most Definitely Abused Myself' to Play 'Midsommar' Character

"I'd obviously created such a sad person and then felt guilty that I'd created that person and then left her," Florence Pugh said

Florence Pugh attends MGM's "A Good Person" New York Screening at Metrograph on March 20, 2023 in New York City.
Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty

Florence Pugh says she went to dark places while filming her 2019 horror film Midsommar.

As Pugh, 27, appeared on the Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster podcast Tuesday, the Academy Award-nominated actress recalled the intense filming process on director Ari Aster's daylight-set nightmare, in which she plays a woman named Dani who attends a midsummer festival in rural Sweden in the aftermath of her family's tragic deaths.

"I'd never played someone that was in that much pain before, and I'd put myself in really s--- situations that maybe other actors don't need to do," Pugh told co-hosts and comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster. "Each day, the content would be getting more weird and harder to do, I was putting things in my head that were just getting worse and more bleak."

"I think by the end, I had probably, most definitely abused my own self in order to get that performance," she added, after noting that she'd "never had this ever before with any" other character she's played.

The actress recalled feeling "immense guilt" over her character as she set out on her next project, Greta Gerwig's Little Women, days after wrapping Midsommar.

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"I remember looking down and feeling immense guilt, like I felt so guilty, because I felt like I'd left her in that field, in that state, and it was so weird, I'd never had that before," Pugh said during her podcast appearance.

"It's funny, I'd obviously created such a sad person and then felt guilty that I'd created that person and then left her," she added.

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Elsewhere in the podcast, Pugh recalled that her grandparents accompanied her to the Midsommar premiere.

"I remember my granddad at the end was like 'well, I wouldn't have watched it if you weren't in it,' and I was like 'no, I know that, granddad,' " she recalled of her grandfather's reaction to the horror film.

Pugh currently stars in A Good Person, which she worked on in collaboration with her ex boyfriend and writer-director Zach Braff. Braff, 47, has praised Pugh as they promote the movie, noting that she inspired him to write the movie.

"I'm just in awe of her talent and I said, 'I wanna write this for Florence. What I'm writing is really gonna be challenging, and she's incredible,' " he recently told Entertainment Tonight, adding that Pugh, 27, is "a next-level actress" and "just unbelievable."

A Good Person is playing in theaters everywhere now.

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