independent films like 'The Station Agent,' starring Peter
Dinklage, Michelle Williams has proven herself to be more
than a WB Network clone.
Williams does not want to act in mainstream film.
working on six seasons of the WB Network’s prime-time teen
soap “Dawson’s Creek,” Williams is working on
the smaller, independent films like the ones she did on the side
during the last four years of the show, and doesn’t plan on
doing anything similar to “Dawson” for a while. Her
lack of glamour comes to the surface when she says that her favorite
work is her theater work because she hasn’t had to watch it.
can’t imagine, can’t imagine, imagine, imagine, ever
doing it again,” she said of her chances for working on another
don’t mean to be snobby about my choices,” she said,
“but I just like the scripts better, and I like the people
that are involved better. Being on ‘Dawson’s Creek’
for seven years was like doing a giant blockbuster. I really have
that totally out of my system. I’ve done my big movie for
the rest of my life.”
recent roles include a supporting part as a shy librarian who befriends
Peter Dinklage’s train-enthusiast, shut-out dwarf in “The
Station Agent,” written and directed by Thomas McCarthy. While
it’s a small part, Williams performs a heartfelt bar scene
with Dinklage that has much more substance than an actor often finds
in an entire film.
said that she doesn’t take a lot of credit for the film’s
critical success, but is proud of McCarthy and the film’s
became interested in Williams through some of the side work she
did while on “Dawson’s Creek.”
think that Tom McCarthy…saw the play that I was in and sent
me the script and it took me a little while to read it. But then
I got a phone call from Mary Beth Peil, who played Grams on ‘Dawson’s
Creek,’ and she’s a really good friend of mine. And
she said that I ‘must must must’ read it at my earliest
possible chance because…I think she said that he was a genius.”
up after reading the script, Williams found herself on set after
much of the film had already been shot with the three leads, Dinklage,
Patricia Clarkson (who won a special award at Sundance for this
and two other films) and Bobby Cannavale.
said that she relied heavily on these actors’ talent and insights
because she was on a tight schedule. “It all happened quite
quickly because I had just finished a play and I was doing ‘Dawson’s
Creek’ and going out to New Jersey to do the film.”
never thought or dealt about dwarfism prior to the film, Williams
found that Dinklage’s confidence and personality helped him
with some of the alienation from society that the film portrays.
“He handles it beautifully. He’s comfortable and he
adjusts and he knows how to take steps to make himself comfortable
and safe,” she said.
I’m chicken to take the lead role because I…sort of
like working in miniature, in a small, intertwined way with other
characters. I sort of want to do something different now.”
Williams says that the two films that she just finished shooting,
due out next year, feature one small, supporting role and one large
the standard slasher film “Halloween H20” (which didn’t
take place under water) and the underrated Nixon/Watergate-era satire
“Dick” with Kirsten Dunst, both of which Williams said
she appeared in to help build her career, Williams has been doing
smaller, more independent-minded films.
include the intriguing and moving British film “Me Without
You,” about intensely connected teenage adolescent girls,
and the campy satire “But I’m a Cheerleader,”
which sends up the “homosexual-reformation” organizations.
projects that Williams have appeared in have just as interesting
and/or ambitious as “The Station Agent.” “The
United States of Leiland,” which premiered with “The
Station Agent” at this year’s Sundance Film Festival,
was a heartfelt ensemble about a pointless murder.
finds that skepticism from critics and filmmakers toward her acting
has decreased over the years: “I used to come up against that
more than I have now. I also never really thought too much about
it because [I don’t want to give the opinions] too much credence…but
it’s changed a lot over the years. People aren’t as
judgmental as maybe they once were.”
upcoming films include “Imaginary Heroes,” in which
she plays a daughter in a family coping with the suicide of its
favorite son, and German director Wim Wenders’ (“Wings
of Desire”) “Angst and Alienation in America.”
her plans for the future are unclear (she failed to name any directors
she would like to work, but cited Philip Seymour Hoffman as a favorite
actor), Williams looks to stay away from her TV roots and continue
to work in smaller, personal films.
just trying to be honest with myself about picking things for the
right reasons and getting things for the right reasons.” Williams
said that the filming she just finished is the sort of role she’s
been working toward. “Now I’m sort of at this place
where I don’t really know what I want past that…Now
I don’t know what’s going to happen.”