In the seventh and final episode of HBO’s Mare of Easttown, Julianne Nicholson’s Lori unloads on her BFF Mare (Kate Winslet) for arrest her son Ryan, 12, without even the courtesy of a warning. Below, TVLine Dream Emmy nominee Nicholson and the creator of Mare series, Brad Ingelsby, who wrote the closest, take us inside the visceral and heartbreaking scene.
JULIANNE NICHOLSON | I felt like this was my fucking scene. [Laughs] Part of the game is magic; you do the job and hope [the best]. So I was very nervous. But I also felt like I knew this character. And I knew his relationship with his son. And I also implicitly trust Kate – as a friend and as an actress.
BRAD INGELSBY | It was very quiet on the set. It was the last scene of the night. And it was very cold outside.
NICHOLSON | I remember being very aware of the [temperature]. I don’t like the cold because I have the impression that it hugs you physically. Ideally, you feel more loose in your body to be able to access things.
INGELSBY | I gave Julianne and Kate plenty of room. I didn’t want to get too involved because we knew what this scene would require emotionally. Much of the scene was [performed] as written, but a line added by Julianne was when [Lori screams], “It’s Ryan!” It’s Ryan! This is my Ryan.
NICHOLSON | Brad is such a great writer, but he’s also not valuable about it. So he always gave us the freedom to change a line, add a line, delete a line. The “my Ryan” line just happened at the time. I imagined this friendship between these two people. Mare has known Ryan from birth. We’re not just talking about just any child. We’re talking about Ryan. My Ryan. [The words] sort of came out.
INGELSBY | It was my favorite part of the scene. I’m honest enough with myself to say to myself, “When someone has a better idea than I do, I’ll gladly steal it.” Julianne created this moment.
NICHOLSON | At one point, after making a [few takes], I needed an extra little pic of something so I just went and gave Kate a big hug… because feeling that comfort, trust and love reminds you of what it’s like to have it. [taken away].
INGELSBY | I didn’t tell her too much afterwards because when I’m going through something so emotional it’s hard to turn the switch off, I guess… Julianne’s emotion – the grief on her face – was so unbelievable. She took him out of the park.
NICHOLSON | I remember getting back in the van after the scene and started to cry. And my makeup artist – or should I say my no makeup artist [Laughs] – Debbie Young, whom I have worked with before and whom I love deeply, said to me, “You brought it, honey.” She made me feel like I had done what I had to do.