A few weeks ago at the Toronto Film Festival, there was one disturbing scene in William Friedkin's Killer Joe that had everybody buzzing: the moment where Matthew McConaughey's psychotic killer beats up Gina Gershon and then forces her to fellate a fried chicken leg that he dangles in front of his crotch. Tough stuff, but also oddly campy, right? And last night when Vulture ran into Gershon at the Dior-hosted premiere party for My Week With Marilyn, we had to know exactly how that scene went down. "It's pretty gnarly, isn't it?" Gershon laughed. "I've never been in a movie where I had a hard time watching the scene ... I actually turned away, which I've never done. And in my movies, I've done some crazy stuff, but this is the craziest!"
"That scene was definitely something I was not looking forward to," she continued. "It wasn't a very funny scene. It's one of those things where you're like, 'Let's just go for it and do it' and in one take, you're done, you know? A long time ago, [writer] Tracy Letts offered me the play version, and I was thinking, 'He's such a great writer, he writes such incredible characters, and what a great part,' and then I got to that scene, and I was like, 'Oh my God, I cannot do this eight times a week.' It's the only project I've actually ever been nervous about or scared thinking I can't go there. So when it came up again, ten years later, with Friedkin directing, I was like, 'Arrgh! There's that part again!' And I kind of had to do it. It was such a great cast, and William Friedkin, how do you not do a movie with him? And Tracy's an amazing writer." She laughed heartily, adding, "And luckily, I like chicken a lot!"
In fact, when it came to the fellated piece of fried chicken, Gershon had a few script notes. "I made sure they got Coop's Chicken; that's my favorite chicken in New Orleans," she told us. "There are many chicken places in New Orleans, and I said it had to be Coop's. It's just really good chicken! And luckily, we just did it one take — you know, me and Matthew, we're professionals — but I had thought, If we're going to be doing this take after take after take, I better like the chicken. It's just the right texture, the right seasoning, not too greasy."
If you're getting hungry just reading that, Gershon says it's by design. "I should be their spokesperson," she said. "I want to become their spokesperson. It'd be nice to get a gig from this movie. I should be someone's spokesperson, I think, right? It'd be a whole new job."