Dale Dickey talks Regression, working with Emma Watson & Ethan Hawke, and Jennifer Lawrence’s equal pay essay!


Alejandro Amenábar’s latest psychological thriller “Regression” arrives on Blu-ray and DVD this month.

The film stars Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson, David Thewlis, Devon Bostick and Dale Dickey and, as Dickey tells us, takes place in Minnesota in the year 1990…

Can you tell us a bit about REGRESSION and your role?

At it’s core, REGRESSION, is a suspense thriller set in rural MN, dealing with a young girls cry of rape by her Father, leading a detective (Ethan Hawke), along with a psychoanalyst and a priest, to uncover the possibility of a satanic cult. Stemming from the mass ‘cult’ hysteria in the 1980’s, it questions the use of regression therapy in helping to unravel the mystery.  I play Rose Gray, mother of the accused, and grandmother of the victim Angela (Emma Watson). Dealing with poverty and alcoholism, and an already vulnerable mental state, she is faced with the distress of her family being pulled apart, and fingers pointing at her family’s involvement. As accusations fly, all involved are left trying to discern what is real or imagined, true or manipulated.

How did you became attached to the film? Why did you decide to take the role?

Alejandro Amenábar, the director, asked for a meeting with me. After seeing my work in other films, he thought of me as ‘Rose’, and I was very honored and grateful. I found the script, the role, and subject matter intriguing and jumped at a chance to work with this brilliant, creative man. Had been a huge fan of his other films especially THE OTHERS and THE SEA INSIDE. Working with Ethan and Emma, especially, was also an incentive. But pretty much Alejandro’s name alone was enough to sell me.

How was it working with Ethan Hawke, Emma Watson and David Thewlis? Between the four of you, the film boasts such an established cast! 

Just wonderful. We had a few days of rehearsal – a luxury – discussing and exploring the script. All such smart, inspiring and generous actors. Ethan especially set the tone on set. He’s a lovely human being and we were able to have fun comaradie and laughs when outside the gloom of the story. Can’t say enough about David Dencik and Devon Bostick – who just blew me away as my son and grandson. Oh, and Lothaire Bluteau!!

Did you experience any particular challenges in shooting the film or preparing for your role?

Perhaps the biggest challenge was keeping folks from finding out where we were filming. Hoards of girls were on the hunt to find Emma. I suppose having to react to a blank space throughout one very long sequence, not knowing exactly what the special effects were going to be, was difficult. but Alejandro guided me through. Fear of the devil or the unknown monster casing you is terrifying enough. Plus the property we filmed on was extra spooky. 

The film is so gripping and intense. Does working on a project of that nature differ in any way from working on a more light-hearted project?  

Sure. I’ve played a lot of intense roles and am comfortable ‘going there’. But I am a chatty person who likes to mix it up with the crew. Easier to do when it’s a comedy, but when I have a darker role, it definitely requires non stop focus and committed quiet time, so I spend a lot of time to myself when not on camera.

You’ve been a part of some really well received projects throughout your career, from your work in film to TV shows such as My Name Is Earl and True Blood, which have such strong fan followings! Do you find that fans still recognize you  from those past projects? Do you ever get called Patty in the street?!

Thank you! Yes, I used to get  ‘you’re the hooker!’ shouts all the time. Now, I get the ‘skank’ from “Breaking Bad” and Martha from “True Blood” the most. Especially when I’m working out of town and walk into a store in a small town. People freak out sometimes unsure what I’m doing there. I like to stand next to an ATM machine and wait for them to recognize the skank! Lots of folks run from me, as my characters have been known to be violent and nasty. I’m from the South. So I am pretty friendly in real life.

You won an Independent Spirit Award for your supporting role in Winter’s Bone. Tell us about that.  Was that a career highlight?

Absolutely a highlight in every way. One of the best filming experiences I’ve ever had. Beautiful people in cast and crew and everyone was in love with bringing that story to life. It’s almost hard to speak about cause it was so unique and special.  It was my first time doing the whole awards season stuff and what a wild ride that was. The Spirit Award was totally unexpected and I was so nervous up there. I have no idea what I even said, except I forgot to thank Jennifer [Lawrence], the main reason I was even up there – she gave me so much heart and soul to work off of during the shoot. I remember when I left the stage I instantly broke into tears and collapsed into Mark Ruffalos’ arms as he had been the presenter. I was a mess backstage with all those interviews. In shock. But very happy and proud that the film was so well received.

You mentioned working with Jennifer Lawrence in that film. How do you feel about her recent comments on equal pay for men and women in Hollywood? Is it an issue that you feel passionately about?

Oh yes, I am passionate about equal pay for women, in every arena and Jennifer’s comments were spot on. She is so humble and down to earth, the farthest thing from a brat that you could ever get to. I adore her talent as well as her person and spirit. I do agree with her that women are conditioned in a way to not rock the boat etc., because we are seen in a certain light if we do. It sucks. It’s wrong. And I hope change is on the move! She tells it like it is, without any kind of manipulation or agenda behind it. We could all learn from that.

Thanks for your time Dale!

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