Watch the actress talk about her brilliant performances in EW's latest Awardist interview.

For the psychological thriller Black Bear, Aubrey Plaza had to explore some pretty dark places. Literally. "We were shooting all nights for three weeks in the woods and one tends to go crazy that situation," says Plaza of the Lawrence Michael Levine-directed indie. "[But] in some ways the hard nature of the shoot ended up being really good for the movie."

Not to mention Plaza's stunningly raw performance, which if The Awardist had its way, would get some much-deserved love this season. She stars as Allison, an enigmatic artist who comes to stay at a couple's secluded lakehouse; her presence heightens the already-simmering tensions between the pair (played by Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon). But what starts as seemingly one kind of film abruptly turns into another, with the boundaries between the characters — and reality — increasingly blurred.

"It messed with my mind," says Plaza, 36, who — as she did with fellow Sundance premieres Ingrid Goes West and The Little Hours — also produced Black Bear. "It messed with my life but that's what I was signing up for and I wasn't really afraid of that because the nature of that warped reality [and] the levels of meta-ness were all helpful to make this particular film." Some of the meta-ness was perhaps inevitable; Levine, who is friends with Plaza, wrote the character (or is it characters?) with her in mind.

"I think there was an element to my character that was his interpretation of me and his projection of what my persona," says the actress. "It's very obvious to me when I read that script that he feels that I'm hard to read or I'm operating on some other level of social awkwardness but I guess that's just kind of how I was born."

Watch the full conversation above. Black Bear is available to rent or purchase on digital and on-demand platforms.

Check out more from EW's The Awardist, featuring exclusive interviews, analysis, and our podcast diving into all the highlights from the year's best films.

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