ComingSoon Senior Editor Spencer Legacy spoke to Clock star Melora Hardin about the psychological horror movie. Hardin discussed doing different takes and her directing career. The film is now streaming on Hulu. (Watch and read more interviews).
“Clock is the story of a woman who enrolls in a clinical trial to try and fix her seemingly broken biological clock after friends, family, and society pressures her to have children,” reads the movie’s synopsis.
Spencer Legacy: What was it about Clock that pulled you in when you first heard about it?
Melora Hardin: Well, when I got the script … Alexis Jacknow wrote the script and also directed it, and she had also directed a short called Clock. They sent that along with the script and I really thought her short was just fabulous. It was very eerie and very singular, actually. I just thought, “Wow, this person really has a vision,” and then pair that with the script. It felt like she had a real voice that was a voice that I hadn’t heard before around this topic.
You’ve worked with a lot of directors over your career, so what really stood out about Alexis to you?
Well, first of all, I love supporting young directors, but also female directors in particular that really have a strong point of view. I felt like this was really fresh and got on the phone with her. She was really smart, she was really warm, she was really good at communicating, and I kind of thought, “You know what? This is someone I want to work with.”
Throughout the movie, there are a lot of both psychologically and physically intense scenes. How did you prepare for those or get in that headspace?
The character sort of tells you — speaks to you as the actor. Like as you’re embodying that person, that character, you’re personifying their truth. It all felt like it was in the writing. It was all there for me. I didn’t really have to go very far. [Laugh]. It was all right there. What Alexis and I talked about in terms of where Dr. Simmons was coming from and what her vantage point was … I think Dr. Simmons feels like she’s really doing a really good thing for women, and that was something I could really understand about her and where she’s coming from in this — her truth.
The character of Dr. Simmons has is very multifaceted. She can be very intimidating or very almost nurturing towards Ella, so what were some challenges that came with balancing those different sides of the character?
I think we did a few different takes sometimes, where we would do a little more intense or a little more maternal, just so that Alexis could have some choices in the editing room where she could play around with that. When she got in there and saw the arc of Dianna [Agron]’s character — Ella — how Ella kind of was transforming and morphing and how that needed to be balanced by Dr. Simmons. So yeah, we usually did a couple versions just to kind of give her something to play with in the editing room.
Speaking of Dianna, the scenes between you two are so engaging. What was it like to film together and do those scenes?
She was great. We had a wonderful time. She’s [a] really talented actress, really warm and lovely person. I think we both just were really enjoying ourselves and enjoying being part of something that we thought was quite fresh and different.
You directed You back in 2009 and an episode of the Bold Type. Do you want to do more directing in the future? Is that something you’re interested in?
Yeah, definitely. I’m hoping to be directing a movie coming up soon — a romantic comedy that, right now, we’re kind of trying to get going. I’m always looking for something that’s going to spark my interest that way. I love stretching and I love directing. Directing is really very satisfying for many reasons,
Did directing inform your acting process at all? Did it change anything about how you go about performing?
I think that, actually, maybe more the other way around, just because I’ve been acting since I was six and I’ve been on set since I was six years old. So I’ve worked with good directors, bad directors, mediocre directors, and you learn something from every single one. So I think directing was quite natural for me. I think I’ve always kind of directed myself sometimes. Sometimes you work with directors that really can’t direct you, especially when I was younger, there were times like that. I think that they do … they work hand-in-hand for sure.
Plus, I understand actors really, really well and I think actors feel safe being directed by me because they understand that I understand their process. As far as it affecting my acting process, I suppose it has in the sense that sometimes, as an actor, there are things you just do not want to hear from a director. Like, “You’ve got to do it faster because we’re losing the light.” And you’re like, “But why am I doing it faster?” And once you’ve directed, you’re like, “Oh, we’re losing the light. I’ll do it faster!” [Laugh]. “I don’t care why you need me to do it faster, I’m going to do it faster!”
A big role of yours was as Jan in The Office. To this day, that show gets so much love. How do you look back at that experience now and how it’s endured to this day?
It was such a great experience. The fact that I ended up being on a show that is so loved and my character’s so iconic at this point … it’s just a real wonderful thing. My mom always said, “Luck is when opportunity and preparation meet,” and I think that that would be a great definition for the luck of The Office. Yeah, it’s pretty incredible to be a part of a show like that.
Finally, could you tell me a little bit about your wallpaper line, Storyboards?
Yes. So my wallpaper line is called “Storyboards by Melora Hardin.” It’s something I’m just launching and you can find them on my website. They’re an extension of my collage art, which I’ve been doing all my life. It’s just expanded into this whole line of wallpaper that has come from a documentary that I’ve been directing for the last six years and been developing and working on.
I just got kind of obsessive about making the collages and they became part of the healing of my subject. Right now, the documentary’s called Hunter’s Thunder, and so Hunter’s Thunder and the Hunter in Hunter’s Thunder helped inspire me to take it to this next level of creating art for the walls.