‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Devil Ann Dowd Is School Shooter’s Mother in ‘Mass’

How should a mother mourn a murdered child?

That’s a question at the center of “Mass,” a new movie released Friday, October 8, in which Ann Dowd plays the mother of a high school shooter. Dowd said that the emotional intensity of the story was important in director Fran Kranz’s decision to film the psychological drama in chronological order.

“We filmed the beginning and the end within a four-day period, the first — everything that didn’t happen in the room itself — and once we got into the room, we shot for eight days, in order,” Dowd, 65 , told the Post.

The “room” that Dowd refers to is in the basement of a church. It’s where Gail and Jay (Martha Plimpton, Jason Isaacs)—whose son, Evan, was one of 10 people killed in the attack—meet six years later with Linda and Richard (Dodd, Reid Birney), now divorced mothers-to-be. is the father. Shooter Hayden, who killed himself after ending his carnage.

Photo showing Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton as Jay and Gail, sitting across the table from Linda and Richard, played by Ann Dow and Reed Birney.
Jay and Gail (Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton, left) and Richard and Linda (Reid Birney and Ann Dowd) talk it out in “Mass”, a psychological drama written and directed by Fran Kranz.
AP

The bulk of “Mass,” which opened to acclaim in January at the Sundance Film Festival, takes place in the claustrophobic room where four parents sit around a small table and begin talking about, oddly, the event. About – through disgust, empathy and cautious understanding before cycling. In the end, each character experiences a personal episode in an attempt to understand a senseless tragedy.

“I guess what happens [with Linda]Honestly, as a parent. . . The thought of losing a child, not just a child but a child who has brought the tragedy of loss to so many families – not only that, but took their own lives – is unimaginable. It’s impossible to understand,” said Dowd, a mother of three. “Life as they know it is completely over, and I feel like Linda’s life is shattered in a way that you and I can’t understand. There’s no point in any defense, Wall There is no point in making . . . no point in anything except trying to live life one minute at a time.”

Dowd, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of evil Aunt Lydia on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” walks a fine line in “Mass.” Linda, in turn, sympathizes with and sympathizes with Gail and Jay and tries to answer their quest, angrily questions: why the red-flag warning signs were ignored, including Hayden’s building and a The high school massacre before setting off the pipe bomb (for which he was arrested) was removed? She does not protect her son. “The love we had was real,” she says. “I picked up a killer.”

photo.  showing a view of "story of the maid" With Ann Dowd and Elizabeth Moss as Aunt Lydia and June, who are wearing their maid's uniform.
Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia (left) and Elizabeth Moss as June in a scene from “The Handmaid’s Tale”.
Hulu

“She doesn’t expect an apology from these people — she doesn’t expect it. All she wants to do is offer anything to help them understand,” Dow said. “It doesn’t replace love, and I think that’s where she lives in a place of deep honesty: ‘I know this and you won’t understand it, but my life wouldn’t have been better without my son. .’ “

It’s clear from the beginning that Linda and Richard are not on the same page regarding Hayden. He destroyed their marriage and erected a wall between them while battling tragedy; Richard was initially aloof and almost defiant in defending how he raised his son. “It’s everything you can’t see,” he says calmly of his son’s mental state.

“Isn’t it completely understandable? That, of course, [Linda and Richard] Not going to make it,” Dowd said. “She was the peacemaker, interpreter: ‘Honey, he didn’t mean it that way, he wasn’t cruel.’ She was covering for Hayden.

Ann Dowd on the red carpet
In real life, Ann Dowd is the mother of three children.
Chris Pizzello / InVision / AP

On the day of the massacre, we learn that Linda and Richard were alerted that something terrible had happened at school; They returned home, separately, in heavy police presence, but were kept in isolation during their interrogation about their son. Dowd said that, shortly before her interview with The Post, a personal experience reminded her of how a mother treats her children—whatever the outcome.

“Last night, my boy, who is 16, [he] Goes to school in New Hampshire and went to Boston by train alone for the first time, where she was supposed to be picked up,” she said. “I got a call – ‘He didn’t get off the train’ – and everything stopped. That was it. I went straight into a panic. The world stopped. Then I got a call within 20 minutes that he was asleep and wrong Got off at the stop, and they found him and all is well.

“In that period, I thought to myself, ‘Can you imagine Linda and Richard . . . not knowing what happened, but knowing that it’s terrible, and not knowing whether their son is dead or what And why is the police here?’

“Can you even imagine?”

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