EXCLUSIVE: ‘Patti Cake$’ Stars Danielle Macdonald & Bridget Everett on Rapping, Karaoke and Crying at Cannes

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Bridget, in your cabaret act, “Gynecological Wonder,” you have a number about how wonderful a mother you would be if you ever carried a pregnancy to term. Between Patti Cake$ and Fun Mom Dinner, was it easy tapping into your maternal side?

BE: Yeah, but because it was Danielle. I don’t know that I could just do it, you know what I mean? I’m not skilled enough to do that. It really had to be that I cared about her, and you meet Danielle and you just immediately love her.

For everybody else, you would just visualize Poppy.

BE: That’s true! I did that on Fun Mom Dinner. And there’s a scene in the movie where Cathy [Moriarty, who plays Patti’s Nana] dies or whatever, and they’re just like, Action! You just have to start thinking about something to sort of get you over the self-consciousness of whatever the thing is, and I thought of some Poppy sh*t that [snaps fingers] got me f**king right there. And then you have to, you know, live in the moment, but it helps you–

DM: Get into that headspace. Oh my god, I totally thought of my dog. I’m not kidding.

Danielle, you are formally trained in acting, right? You studied in Australia?

DM: When you say “formally,” it’s like, there’s Mamoudou [Athie, who plays Patti’s love interest, Basterd the Antichrist] who’s a Yale graduate. [Laughs.] Like, no. He’s formally trained. I’m trained, but differently. I did afterschool classes and I did an hour of improv every week and I did onscreen camera classes and I did workshops. I took any kind of class and every class I could, and I took what worked for me from each of these classes. But I didn’t go to school-school for it.

Bridget, had you taken any acting classes before?

BE: No, I’ve never taken an acting class. I’m more, like, street trained. Just in the clubs, you know? And karaoke bars, honestly, just as a way to access rage and joy and things like that. But I’ve never taken an acting class. I’d love to! I want to.

What is the learning curve like, then, when you arrive on a set?

BE: Like, I still don’t really know how to read a call sheet. I don’t know, like, what a grip is. And I ask every single time! But really, just asking questions and letting people know that I rely on the actors around me to help me and guide me. I do this show called Lady Dynamite now and I’m like, Am I too big? Too small? I’m trying to be me… And to have people tell you, “Just get the eff– Get out of your head and just do it! You’re fine!”

DM: A lot of the time, you’re your own worst enemy. It’s just getting out of your head, honestly, and that goes for everyone. And also, I did take a lot of classes and I didn’t know how to be on a set. It’s a whole other thing. Acting class is nothing like being on a set. And auditioning is nothing like being on a set. It’s a completely different ball game. I remember my first film, I didn’t know anything. Luckily, I was with actors who had done a lot of work and they would be like, “That was action. You speak.” That genuinely happened once, because [the director] was far away and I couldn’t hear, so I didn’t know to go! You feel embarrassed when you’re doing that, but everyone has to learn somewhere!

BE: Right.

DM: And I still don’t know necessarily what everyone’s jobs are either! [Laughs.] I’m like, I see these words and I know what they kind of do, but I don’t know what they do at the same time.

BE: Danielle’s the kind of person that’s going around like, “Hey Steve, how’s your mom? Oh, Renée, your birthday! I sent you some cookies! John, can you believe it? Oh my god! Anyway, I’m going to go back over here with Ralph and– It’s tacos! Yeah, we’re doing tacos! Anyway, you guys have a great day!

DM: OK, calm down.

BE: She knows everybody’s name, whereas I’m like, I’m gonna go take a nap and Facetime Poppy.

DM: No, you’re the person that, like, gets your P.A. and sits on his face.

BE: Oh…there’s that.

DM: That happened! It was one of my favorite moments ever, in history. Let’s put it that way.

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