The internet is blowing up talking about the enigma who portrays Kay, a character introduced in season two of the chilling Netflix series Mindhunter. Brief Take is the exclusive Canadian outlet to dive in to chat with Lauren Glazier and discover what makes her character on the show so multi-dimensional and lived-in. The B.C.-born Glazier will also soon be seen in the Apple+ series See.
The following is a condensed and edited version of our conversation with the fascinating Lauren Glazier.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for elements of Mindhunter season 2
Brief Take: You were so wonderful in this role! Tell me about collaborating with David Fincher.
Lauren Glazier: First of all, I’m glad that you enjoyed it. Working with David is a treat and I think that, I can only speak for myself, I don’t know how the actors feel, but as far as I can tell, it’s an honour for all of us, he’s an incredible filmmaker. But for me, I love knowing that he knows exactly what he’s going for. It’s not easy, you don’t know if you’re always doing the right thing, but it’s an incredible experience to be able to have more than two takes and move on, to be able to sit in it and feel it and go “huh, that didn’t feel right”, or “that did feel right, why does he want another one?”. But it’s based on the fact that he knows exactly what he wants. I was really lucky that he did a lot of my scenes and there’s a trust there. But I do love the takes, I’d go all day, I’d get disappointed when they said “moving on”, because I loved being there. I loved being in that world, and I appreciated the opportunity to keep playing with it and finding what we could. I think that’s a big reason as to why you see the performances that he gets is because he’s really looking for something specific and you get the chance to find it. I think that a lot of the other times, you don’t get the opportunity to find it because you don’t have the time. For whatever reason, I was really lucky to have that opportunity.
BT: What did you think of the feel of Mindhunter in terms of David’s vision, and what was it like to see the finished product?
LG: That’s a really interesting part of it all. He’s brilliant and he’s so meticulous and he knows exactly what he wants, and it is a really incredible experience for me as an actor. I love how he works because it’s those elements that you go into it and there’s the whole writing process and the blocking and the rehearsal, and then you even discover things when…he’s got a very specific thing which he goes for, but you do have the freedom to discover in the moment as well, so it’s not a rigid set by any means.
It feels very safe to be able to work within the confines that he gives you. It’s always interesting to see what take they ended up going with, and that’s the key of editors and telling a very specific story and getting that vision out that he wants. It’s kind of a fun discovery with Dave because you don’t really know exactly what he is going for, but you trust, and obviously seeing all of his work, how he is incredible and you trust and know: he’s going to get out of you the best thing. I think that if you can lean into that, it was an incredible experience working with him and it was really fun. I did see it, actually rewatched it recently, just to see the final everything, with the colour and music and everything. It’s interesting and I’m actually a fan of the show, so it was fun to see the rest of it all put together, the stuff which I wasn’t involved in.
BT: There are certain connections to Gone Girl, in the bar and you being known as the “cool girl”, and you as well were in that film. Do you see a link in that way?
LG: I see that and I get that and it’s interesting to see some of the comments in terms of how Kay is being interpreted. It’s not something that I had going into my head going into it. I didn’t think of her that way. I thought of her as someone who was living in this new confidence that’s really being her new authentic self, and I think that if that translated as the “cool girl” or the “fun bartender”, I don’t really know exactly, but the adjectives are being used to describe her. I think that speaks to where she is in her life and I’m glad that translates because I think that it’s a nice opposite to Dr. Wendy Carr’s much more structured appearance. There is an ease to Kay.
BT: How much did you feel like Kay, especially wearing her particular costumes?
LG: I think I can say this: I think that the writers and Dave (Fincher) are great about tailoring things to the actors that they find, and I did feel quite comfortable in Kay’s skin. But there is always something to be said for interacting with a whole world, she also has this guard up going into a bar every night full of guys and Marines. That is certainly something, coming on to that set, but it was fun. I had a different look, my clothing was different. I had bangs. [chuckles] It certainly felt the time period and I loved that, I loved putting on that costume. It was a beautiful costume designer that definitely took the time to find the spine of Kay and found out how she moves: she’s easy, she’s relaxed. Let’s put her in some jeans and a t-shirt, but when we dress her up, she’s got something but she’s still not too dressy. So it definitely was fun playing her. I loved getting into her skin.
BT: What was it like trying to craft a relationship with Dr. Carr’s portrayer, Anna Torv? The plotline wouldn’t have worked as well as it did without your chemistry.
LG: Yeah, I agree. I felt a chemistry with Anna meeting her and that really helped, having a generous actor to work with really helped to put me at ease. I think that Kay also comes from a place in which she’s wanting to be open and wanting to live very authentically, “This is me, take it or leave it”, to the best of her ability in the circumstances, so I think that helps with the ease that she has about her. She’s working in that bar, she’s allowed a lot of her personality, she hears every story [chuckles] coming out of those guys. I think that she’s someone who’s able to feel comfortable in a lot of different situations, even considering the time period. She is able to be comfortable and roll with it as she finds herself.
BT: What did the contrast and dynamic between Kay and Wendy feel like?
LG: It felt like a relationship. It felt like getting to know someone. She’s an amazing actor! Our camaraderie off screen was easy and great and those first couple of scenes working with Anna as Wendy Carr was really interesting, and it was almost like little butterflies going “Oh wow!”. This very distinct person, who’s very specific, and I would use the word uptight, perhaps, [chuckles] but I love that character. I was a fan of Wendy Carr from season one and then to come in and interact with her in season two as Kay, it was butterflies. It was “Wow, who is this? How does this person operate in a world?”. It was fun in that way to discover her through Kay.
BT: In terms of that relationship, how much of it do you take with you?
LG: A lot of it. I certainly felt like I was massively invested and that’s also specifically to their relationship. You’re not able to walk out on the street and meet someone every day, to find someone like that and connect strongly with her and to feel safe and for her to open up to her. I would think on the other side, for Wendy, I would think that specifically was so important. I was definitely allowed to get immersed in it and really feel that because of the importance of what that was for them, to be able to find each other in this world, specifically in that time period. They’re very different, which I loved.
BT: What about the matter that Wendy and Kay are drawn apart by their fear in how others will view their same-sex relationship?
LG: It’s interesting because this is, sadly, such a relevant thing that we are still fighting about in the world, and it’s just these two people that find each other in these very specific circumstances. I think that there are certainly elements of…but do we know that that is a reason for anything? I’m not sure and I think that’s the great part that the audience gets to decide based on the relationship that they’ve seen portrayed.
BT: Your screen time is spent with Anna Torv mostly. Did other elements of the series feel separate?
LG: We weren’t kept separated, but yes. We all shot in a big stage out in Pittsburgh but as far as my interaction, I wasn’t in that world of serial killers [pauses] but it was certainly felt. And these characters do, they come into the bar and it’s all woven together in a beautiful way that the writers and Dave and everyone made that nice mix of things. It’s like we get a little bit of a break from the heaviness of the serial killer with the Kay and Wendy storyline, but it’s also so important to Holt and Jonathan’s characters both have their own personal lives into which their work lives is seeping. I think that they do have a really nice seamless back and forth into how it is really a part of this energy of the show.
BT: This season was all about the masks that we wear in private and in public. How much did you feel like you were wearing a mask to play Kay, or did you wear none at all?
LG: I think that it’s twofold. I do like that analogy because all of us in our daily lives do have a mask that we put on, depending on what we’re doing. But through Kay specifically, she’s also taken off a mask in her life and she’s living a very real, vulnerable, exposed existence right now and she’s feeling that skin out. But the time period and having to deal with her [inhales] managing her being gay and Dr. Carr being in the closet, that’s certainly a mask that they’re both wearing. I think that it’s interesting because they have an ease but it’s also how much do you reveal to this person as you are getting to know them – that kind of mask, I think that there’s a lot of layers to it, so I think that’s actually a good analogy.
Mindhunter seasons 1 and 2 are currently streaming on Netflix