Method Actress

"We were shooting the sequence where Abby, my character, runs into the bathroom to hide," Frances McDormand recalled of Blood Simple. "I had never made a movie before, and I'm standing in this warehouse, it's 8:30 in the morning, and my character is hysterical. She's just seen her lover shot. She thinks her husband has come back from the dead and is chasing her. And I had absolutely no idea how to prepare.

"A year before, at school, a director had felt I wasn't emotionally connected enough to some scene, and she told another actor, 'Hold her and don't let her go until I think she's where she needs to be.' It pissed me off! I was hysterical. So now, I look around the room, and I see Tom, this grip with biceps like sides of beef, and I say, 'Please hold me from behind. I'm going to struggle to get away, but don't let me go until Joel says, 'Action.' He proceeded to do this, and then I realized I was basically just running into the bathroom. That was the whole shot. I thought, 'Not only do I have to stay hysterical all day, I have to stay hysterical for the next two weeks!' So I crawled under this table, and I just sat there like [sobbing], 'What am I going to do? Oh my God!' And the makeup artist, Jean Black, shoved a little Kleenex box under the table.

"A few minutes later, I heard Joel say, 'Where's Fran?' And Jean whispered, 'She's under... the... table.' Not one split second later, he crawled under, sat there, and said [matter-of-factly], 'So, we're going to be set up in about half an hour. You all right? Do you want to stay here until we get ready?' And I'm like [sniffling], 'Mm-hmm.' Not only did he not think I was weird, he got under the table with me. That's what we've based our relationship on for the past 18 years. And, you know, I'll crawl under the table to find out where he is, too."

[McDormand later remarked that the reason she spends so much of the film standing around with her mouth open is that she was scared out of her mind.]

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