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“Do Everything You Can and Then Trust What Happens” | Alice Englert, Bad Behavior

Actress Jennifer Connelly stands in the center of the frame, her hair tied back, wearing a black sweater. She is in a yellow-walled room with a window behind her. It is a dull environment, she looks perplexed.Bad Behavior, courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Every production faces unexpected obstructions that require creative solutions and conceptual rethinking. What was an unforeseen obstacle, crisis, or simply unpredictable event you had to respond to, and how did this event impact or cause you to rethink your film?

I spent close to three years alone with my story, researching, imagining it, and writing it and I loved that. I treasured that it was a secret that was mostly just interesting to me. It’s freeing but I longed for companionship too. It’s a strange thing when something that feels so inside you, so private becomes something that belongs to all the people who make it real, with a life of its own in some ways—and stranger than that, was that the first day of making it real, I  wasn’t there at all! I was again alone in a room—with a Zoom link and a rising fever, coming down with COVID.

The usual constraints had already existed—time, resources, cast availability, location availability—and we couldn’t lose this first shoot day. I knew that my crew and my cast were more than enough, that they were amazing, and out of necessity, I had to believe that my disembodied directing would also be enough. When I saw Jennifer Connelly as Lucy through the sputtering live feed, I knew we had a movie no matter what happened next. 

The rest of the shoot (in the flesh) was one of the happiest times of my life, even though logistical fiascos could strike us down at any moment. All our wiggle room had been destroyed by COVID hits (there were more) in the first week of shooting despite best precautions. Somehow, as a crew, we just adopted the belief that no matter what happened (unexpected snow, wind, rain etc. and no overtime), whatever we managed, would just have to be enough. What was beyond our control was beyond and what was in our control we tried to make fun as hell. Weirdly the film’s main character’s journey to enough-ness was forced upon us. The experience really made me believe in trusting hardcore. Do everything you can and then trust what happens. It was stupid fun. We were enough (you are definitely enough).

See all responses to our annual Sundance Question here.

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