Describing the inspiration for his work during an "Indiewire in Conversation at Chase Sapphire on Main" panel at the Sundance Film Festival last week, writer-director Jason Lew remarked, "I'm always attracted to characters that dwell on the outside and feel very uncomfortable in the world."
That would probably be the best way to describe his directorial debut, "The Free World." The film premiered at this year's Sundance, where it was quickly described as an extremely intense drama featuring by two amazing performances from leads Boyd Holbrook and Elisabeth Moss.
Holbrook plays an ex-convict who used to be Martin Lundy but now is a devout Muslim going by the name Mo (short for Muhammed). After being locked up for a crime he didn't commit, Mo has been exonerated and tossed back into a society that is completely alien to him now. Mo spends his confused days working at an animal shelter operated by Linda (Octavia Spencer). His life takes yet another dramatic turn when an abused wife (Moss) arrives to the shelter after her dog was beaten to death by her husband. Their encounter transforms into a relationship that leads Mo to a path of violence and redemption.
As part of the "Indiewire in Conversation at Chase Sapphire on Main" discussion series, Lew was joined by Indiewire's Editor-in-Chief Dana Harris and his cast -- including Holbrook, Moss, Spencer and Waleed Zuaiter -- and crew (cinematographer Bérénice Eveno and producer Laura Rister) to discuss the making of this haunting character drama. Check out the video above to see Moss discuss how she created her raw, no-holds-barred performance, and get all the highlights from the exclusive chat below.