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The Pearl Scene That Terrified Mia Goth To Film

In Ti West's "X," Mia Goth plays two roles: aspiring actress Maxine Minx and, in old age prosthetics, Pearl, the old woman whose property Maxine and her friends are using to shoot a pornographic film. After "X" was released to theaters in March of 2022, it was revealed that West and Goth had co-written a prequel focusing on the character of Pearl as a young woman and shot it directly after shooting "X" (via Los Angeles Times).

Aptly titled "Pearl," the prequel film sees Goth reprising the role. Also directed by West, the film follows Pearl as she becomes increasingly frustrated with her life stuck on her parents' farm while she dreams of Hollywood stardom. "Pearl" opened to rave reviews. It currently holds an 87-percent Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes. Goth's performance has been widely praised. For instance, Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times writes, "Goth delivers an electrifying and truly scary performance." There's one moment in particular that critics are praising — and it's the same one that terrified Goth to film.

Mia Goth was nervous to perform the seven minute monologue

"Pearl" has an unexpected moment during its climax: a seven-minute monologue in which Pearl, while speaking to her shocked sister-in-law, Mitsy (Emma Jenkins-Purro), expresses her insecurities — and confesses her crimes. In a September 2022 interview with W Magazine, Goth reveals that she and West were inspired by Michael Fassbender's extended monologue in the 2008 historical drama film "Hunger" and that Goth wanted the audience to revel in Pearl's vulnerability (despite her many misdeeds). Wanting to get it right, Goth was nervous to film the long monologue.

Goth explains, "I was really terrified to shoot that because I never went to film school," she says. "I didn't have any tools to gear myself up to something like that."

One thing that helped was West's decision to wait until the end of the shoot to film the monologue. Goth continued, "That was a great move because of the emotional turbulence Pearl had gone through up until that point, and the intensity of what that shoot required from everyone helped and informed the monologue that came that day."

Ti West wanted the monologue to subvert the expectation of a flashy climax

In a September 2022 interview with Bloody Disgusting, director and co-writer Ti West explained why he decided to use the extended monologue as the film's climax rather than something more action-packed. West said, "Well, the goal is always to take a relatively flashy, showy movie and have the climax be something not that. The climax of this movie should be about her psychological and emotional state, not about something blowing up or some crazy thing like that."

The director then went on to describe what the atmosphere was like on set while they were filming the scene, which they did about six takes of. West explained that everyone on set was hyper-aware of not interrupting Goth in any way, likening it to a dangerous stunt. He was also nervous about the possibility of having to interrupt it if Goth stumbled halfway through.

In the end, he never had to and has nothing but praise for Goth. "This is just a complete tour de force and credit to Mia, who A, could do it six times in a row in a day, and B, all of them were good, and she didn't mess it up. She came in so ready and prepared that we just got out of her way."