Danielle Macdonald | If It's Evil, but Clever, It's Probably Fine
Australian actor Danielle Macdonald has taken the reins of her ascending career as she tackles one challenging role after another. Her roles in groundbreaking films such as Dumplin’, Patti Cake$, and Bird Box, have unlocked new opportunities and cemented her prowess as an immersive and versatile actor. She has acted alongside renowned actors such as Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock, all the while bringing her fortitude toward roles that explore the many conflicts laden within society.
Amongst the many impressive roles in her repertoire is that of Julie Price in the 2018 Academy Award-winning “Best Live Action Short Film” film, Skin, a biographical drama centered around a young man who decides to leave the white supremacist group he was inducted into as a teen. Directed by Israeli-born filmmaker, Guy Nattiv, the film asks difficult but important questions about forgiveness and redemption in the face of hate. “That is the question we had to ask in this movie,” Macdonald says. “Can we allow people to change? If we don’t allow people to change, how do we change anything in the future ourselves? How can we be a part of the conversation?”
Skin analyzes the origins of hate, the circumstances that bring someone towards the brink of humane sensibility, and force them to cast it aside. “The reason behind a lot of the people that get involved in these hate groups is because they’re children just looking for some kind of love, and the people already in these groups see that, and they use it,” states Macdonald. “That is something that I really didn’t know about, just the fact that a lot of these people grow up in these organizations.”
For Macdonald, a project like this has been an eye-opening venture, helping her further understand the importance of having a platform to tell these stories. “Being a part of these projects was a way for me to continue the conversation, and to get the message out there,” Macdonald shares. “It was kind of terrifying. At the same time, I wanted to do it because I wanted to be able to have a voice in this, or to try and help those people that don’t have a voice.”
Macdonald’s newest role is in the new Netflix miniseries Unbelievable. The series is based on the true story of Marie, a teenager who is accused of lying about a sexual assault, and the two female detectives who work to unearth the truth.
To prepare for the role, Macdonald gave special attention to the events that transpired, as well as the different effects they had on the victims. “The show really explores how everyone experiences trauma differently. There is no one right way to react,” Macdonald ruminates, sharing the extensive research she conducted. “There is no one set motion in which trauma occurs. It is long-lasting, and can stay with people forever.”
Due to the intricate subject matter that is sexual assault, the creators have worked hard to ensure the show handles the subject with respect, without resorting to sensationalist retellings. “It never felt exploitative,” Macdonald muses. “When I spoke to the producers and creators, and they were explaining how it was going to go, it felt like they were doing it in the right way, in a way that I agreed with. Even in the more difficult scenes, they always made sure it was never gratuitous, but always what was necessary, which I think is great.”