CS Interview: Margo Martindale Talks Blow the Man Down
In Amazon Prime’s Blow the Man Down, Margo Martindale plays a tough-as-nails brothel owner who becomes intertwined with murder, mayhem and the local townsfolk. It’s a truly astonishing performance by the veteran actress and, luckily, Martindale was kind enough to spend some time discussing the role with ComingSoon.net! Check out the interview below, and click here to watch the film on Amazon!
In Blow the Man Down, Welcome to Easter Cove, a salty fishing village on the far reaches of Maine’s rocky coast. Grieving the loss of their mother and facing an uncertain future, Mary Beth & Priscilla Connolly cover up a gruesome run-in with a dangerous man. To conceal their crime, the sisters must go deeper into Easter Cove’s underbelly and uncover the town matriarchs’ darkest secrets.
The film is led by Morgan Saylor (Homeland) as Mary Beth Conolly, Sophie Lowe (Above Suspicion) as Priscilla Connolly, and Emmy Award-winning actress Margo Martindale (Justified, The Americans) as Enid Nora Devlin. It also features Oscar nominee June Louise Squibb (Nebraska) as Susie Gallagher, and Annette O’Toole (It miniseries, Superman III) as Gail Maguire along with Gayle Rankin, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Skipp Sudduth, Will Britain, and David Coffin.
Blow the Man Down is directed by Bridget Savage Cole, who also serves a co-writer along with Danielle Krudy. It is produced by Alex Scharfman, Drew Houpt, Tim Headington, and Lia Buman.
ComingSoon.net: What made you choose to tackle this role and what kind of a challenge was it for you?
Margo Martindale: Well, it’s an enormous challenge because it’s a whole different world. I loved the script and I loved that it was all women … The two young women who wrote and directed it, they wanted to tell a story about strong women. Hats off to them! And I think these gals have incredible talent and incredible style.
CS: How does this role differ from other roles you’ve played in the past? Like, say, The Rocketeer?
Martindale: The Rocketeer was 1991, something like that, and that was still my warm and fuzzy, loving phase. Which at some point, around 2006, changed once I was given roles that were diverse, which was something that suited me fine. I started getting offers of more and more diverse roles. Here’s the thing, a lot of people are able to do more than they are given, but you have to prove yourself somehow. And I guess somebody just gave me a chance — Clint Eastwood [on Million Dollar Baby] was who it was, I think. I love the challenge. For example, Mrs. America [the upcoming TV FX series by Dahvi Waller], that was an enormous challenge. But I worked very hard on it and I’m hoping it turns out very well.
CS: As you stated, Blow the Man Down is a very gritty film that deals with a lot of heavy themes. How comfortable were you with the subject matter?
Martindale: Let me just say, there’s nothing I like more than murder. Murder is a lot of fun, so I was extremely comfortable with the subject matter.
CS: What were some of the challenges this role presented?
Martindale: The accent was a strange accent. And then the look of the gals, what they should look like. And then they handed me a cane and I was off and running. I loved having a cane.
CS: Is that something you added specifically?
Martindale: It was in the script. Now, how I dealt with the cane was all from me. But yeah that prop was already in the script. [Enid is] a character on a page. I knew she was an outsider. I knew she had been good friends with the town’s people, and they had all did this thing together to help the women and girls of the town. And I guess that Enid just sort of broke away from that and then they broke away from her. If that makes any sense. They kind of pushed her out. They turned their back on her.
CS: The town of Easter Cove, Maine certainly plays a huge part in the film. How important was it to film on location?
Martindale: It’s an integral and important part and character in the film – the landscaping, as well as the men singing the sea shanty. It was the so clever and so fun. The look of the film is phenomenal – the cinematography is just phenomenal. It was rough and just freezing, freezing, freezing. The scene at nighttime where my friends are on the porch waiting for me, it was three o’clock in the morning and very deep snow. Just really brutal circumstances. [Laughs]
CS: Ultimately, what do you want people to take away from the film?
Martindale: I want people to love these two young filmmakers and to have fun with the story. It’s a wonderful tale of love and loss.
CS: Switching gears here. You’ve played so many different characters over the years. Any favorites?
Martindale: I have several favorite roles, and this is definitely among them. I really enjoyed working with Alexander Payne… Loved [Mags Bennett] in Justified, loved Claudia in The Americans. I’ve got several, but those are the ones that I’m thinking of.
CS: How difficult is it to jump into another character after playing someone as tough as Enid?
Martindale: Oh, it’s easy. I was doing four movies at the same time when I made [Blow the Man Down]. I was shooting in Maine, doing this — Enid — and then I would fly to Atlanta to shoot Instant Family where I played Grandma Sandy. And then I flew back to Maine to finish Enid and then I started something else — two other things I can’t even remember now. So, I was going from comedy then back to this and then back to comedy. It was fun, because [Instant Family] was such a wonderfully sweet movie with a great group of people. So, that was joy all the way around.