Glass Onion's Jessica Henwick And Madelyn Cline On Quit Vibes And Wild Turkey [Exclusive Interview]

While the story in "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" has been kept tightly under wraps (as it should be!), we've known for a while that the movie has a large ensemble cast full of a lot of ridiculous characters. Two of those characters — Peg, played by Jessica Henwick, and Whiskey, played by Madelyn Cline — have close relationships with two of the "disruptors" invited to billionaire Miles Bron's island.

As such, they often are the ones who clearly realize that everyone else around them is, well, ridiculous, and they react accordingly. I had a frenetic conversation with Henwick and Cline in the lead-up to the film's week-long theatrical release about where they drew inspiration for their characters, what Whiskey's favorite drink is (you won't be surprised), and what little backstories (or not) they created.

'Quit vibes only'

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity (as much as it could be).

Henwick: You sit like the Queen.

That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me! So, I love the movie and both of your characters. Jessica, I thought that Peg was almost like the audience's eyes because you're always in the back, making faces, acknowledging how ridiculous everyone else is in the scene. Is that how you approached Peg, in terms of how you wanted to portray her, in contrast to everyone else on the screen?

Henwick: Yeah, I mean I think that you hit the nail on the head — she is normal. And so honestly, her reactions are very similar to what my reactions would be in that situation. A lot of it is in the script as well, but the key to playing her was really cracking the relationship with Kate [Hudson, who plays Birdie]. And I did pull [inspiration from] some assistants who I have met in the past. She's an amalgamation.

Was there a big takeaway or was a big piece of advice for you from those assistants?

Henwick: No one gave me advice, but I wanted her to feel like she's always two seconds away from quitting. A lot of assistants I meet throw out that vibe. Quit vibes only.

Cline: Quit vibes only. No thoughts, just quitting.

Henwick: It's just quitting.

'Peg has quit several times'

It is! Madelyn, Whiskey is a very different kind of character, I'd say. She's big into influencer culture. Did you go to social media at all to do any research?

Cline: Totally. Yeah, I did some research on the YouTube, Instagram.

Henwick: The YouTube?

Cline: The YouTube. I went to –

Henwick: The worldwide web?

Cline: The Instagram. Oh, God. And then also just kind of stealing from people that I've seen in real life and just taking pieces that I felt would fit. Whiskey is a little bit of satire, for sure. So, that was really fun to play with.

For both of you, did either of you develop any backstory for your character that wasn't in the script, just to help you connect with the character?

Henwick: I think you have to, yeah, that's part of the job.

What are some examples of that?

Henwick: I discussed with Kate [Hudson, who plays Peg's boss, Birdie] the fact that Peg has quit several times and the next day she goes back into work and they both act like nothing has happened, and they never discuss it.

Got it. What about you, Madelyn?

Cline: Oh God, I feel like I did have a backstory for Whiskey and I have it in a notebook somewhere, but I can't remember.

Henwick: Drunk, question mark?

Cline: Drunk, question mark? I don't know.

Henwick: What do you think Whiskey's favorite brand of whiskey is?

Cline: Wild Turkey 101.

Henwick [to Cline]: What's your favorite brand of whiskey?

Cline: You know ...

Henwick: Wild Turkey 101?

Cline: I'm not an amber fluid kind of girl.

Henwick: Fact.

Cline: That's not my thing. I'm a wine girl. I know Wild Turkey because one of my best friends drinks it, like strictly that and whatever, the rest is history.

'She's also playing a game of her own'

Whiskey is in many scenes where she's in the background, just like Peg. We talked a little bit about how Peg was always like, "You all are ridiculous people!" in the background. When you had those scenes, Madelyn, how did you approach portraying Whiskey?

Cline: Oh yeah, totally. That was kind of where I felt like a lot of Whiskey lived, too, because Whiskey's —

Henwick: A gremlin, in the background.

Cline: But no, I felt like a lot of Whiskey's little snapshots of her actual character came through, because in my mind, she's also playing a game of her own, she has a façade. And so, I think she also has reactions to these very pompous people around her. I felt like it would be fun to incorporate some actually very real reactions from her, because there is more to her than what we originally think. So, I felt like that would be really fun to throw in little Easter eggs of how she actually feels.

"Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" is in theaters for one week starting November 23 and arrives on Netflix starting December 23, 2022.