‘Smashed’ Star Mary Elizabeth Winstead on Playing ‘The Best Drunk Ever on Screen’ (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

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After appearing in everything from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World to a remake of John Carpenter’s The Thing and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Mary Elizabeth Winstead has proven that she can transform herself into virtually any character a filmmaker requires.

But Winstead admits that co-writer and director James Ponsoldt presented her with a particularly daunting challenge when he offered her the role of Kate Hannah, a school teacher struggling with alcoholism, in the independent drama Smashed.

“One of the things he said to me was this has to be the best drunk ever portrayed on screen,” she tells Celebuzz. “So it was a lot of pressure, but I totally understood where he was coming from; there is no way of failing this – that’s just not an option.”

How did Winstead find the humanity in the film’s flawed characters?

In Smashed, Winstead’s character decides early in the film to try and stop drinking, a decision which her husband (played by Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul) doesn’t have the strength to support. But the actress says she likes the fact that the film humanizes his dilemma in a way that avoids making Paul’s character “the bad guy.”

“They’re just real people, and that was what drew me to the script to begin with,” she observes. “He could easily be in a sort of villainous role, ruining all of the goals that she’s trying to make [happen]. But all he wants is for her to be happy, but not at the expense of their relationship – and he’s terrified that she’s going to leave him.”

Watch Part 1 of Winstead’s exclusive interview with Celebuzz above, and Part 2 below. Smashed opens in limited release on Oct. 12.

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