Ti West Focused On Staying Out Of Mia Goth's Way During Her Pearl Monologue

In Ti West's second installment of his "X" slasher trilogy, "Pearl," Mia Goth solidified herself as a force to be reckoned with in the horror genre. After playing aspiring adult film star Maxine Minx in the first film, Goth went back in time to play a young version of Pearl, the serial killer that wreaked havoc in "X." 

"Pearl" tells the origin story of a naive girl living on an isolated farm with her parents, whose continual rejection slowly shapes her into a vengeful killer. Not only does Goth give perhaps her best performance yet, but she delivers a movie-defining monologue that spans eight minutes.

After an unsuccessful dance audition, Pearl vents to her sister-in-law Mitsy (Emma Jenkins-Purro) about her seemingly unfair life and gets shockingly honest about her own violent tendencies. For much of the scene, we are just as terrified as Mitsy is, witnessing Pearl confess to her crimes and justify them in the same breath. On the other hand, it's easy to understand why Pearl did the things that she did. The monologue goes a long way to explaining her perspective on life, and the film lets Goth transform into the Pearl we see in "X" right before our very eyes. For director Ti West, who co-wrote the script for "Pearl" with Goth, filming the scene meant staying out of his star's way as much as possible, from start to finish.

'She nailed it every time'

In an interview with Bloody Disgusting, Ti West discussed filming the 8-minute monologue, revealing it was paramount for him and the crew to stay out of the way as Mia Goth delivered her performance:

"There was a six-minute chunk in the middle that, once she said a certain string of words, began what I was hoping not to have to cut from. If anything was going to go wrong on set, it had to go wrong before she said those words [...] There was this intense focus on set to stay out of her way. As soon as she started the monologue, it was like, if anyone had a problem, you had to say it then [...] We probably did it maybe six or seven times. I think the fourth one is what's in there, and she nailed it every time."

I think it's safe to say that most people would get out of Goth's way if she was going off like that. But to West's point, it makes sense to ensure that there were no distractions while shooting the intense, dialogue-heavy scene. Although there are a few cuts during the first parts of her speech, "Pearl" does not cut away from its star for nearly six minutes straight, so any interruptions during that time would have made the take unusable. Everything in the film leads up to this moment, and it's clear everyone behind the scenes understood its significance, too.

Goth has said that "MaXXine" will be the best installment of the "X" trilogy, but it's going to be hard to top what "Pearl" accomplishes — especially in that outstanding monologue.

A well-defined serial killer

Pearl goes through what a lot of people do in her situation. Her fears about missing out on a lifelong dream are propelled by a mother who takes out her own mistakes in life on her daughter. The isolation of the farm plays into those doubts in a crushing manner, with Pearl's only escape being daydreams about what it would be like to roam the world. When that dream gets crushed by a casual rejection over the color of her hair, any sense of hope gets thrown out the window. In turn, the monologue helps show how her perspective of the world makes her react in the most violent ways possible.

Let's be clear: "Pearl" never attempts to morally justify the titular character's actions. However, the reasoning behind Pearl's actions lets us appreciate the thematic messaging of the film without losing the fact that the protagonist is as crazy as advertised. Goth's monologue sets everything on the table for the audience to ingest all at once, a culmination of heartache that will no longer sit idly. And once the credits roll, we meet the final form of Pearl featured in "X."

"Pearl" is available to watch/rent on Blu-ray and DVD, as well as on digital through VOD.