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'The Wilds' star Rachel Griffiths says she's inspired by Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes when playing 'evil clown' Gretchen Klein

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Rachel Griffiths and Elizabeth Holmes.
Rachel Griffiths and Elizabeth Holmes.Quinn Rooney/Getty Images; CNBC/Getty Images
  • Rachel Griffiths told Insider she draws inspiration for her "The Wilds" character from Elizabeth Holmes.

  • Her character Grechen Klein is "a slightly evil clown," the actor said.

  • "You can really suck as an older actor," Griffiths said, adding actors don't benefit if they're too "self-aware."

"The Wilds" star Rachel Griffiths plays Gretchen Klein in the hit drama. She's the mastermind behind the Dawn of Eve experiment that provides the premise of the show, which finds teens stranded on an island.

Anyone who comes up with the idea to strand male and female teenagers on separate deserted islands after staged plane crashes in order to study their behavior is certainly villainous, and Griffiths told Insider during an interview in April that she draws inspiration for her performance from surprising sources, like the Elizabeth Holmes story.

"That documentary...was probably singularly the thing that was my hook," she said, presumably referring to the 2019 HBO film "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley."

Holmes is the founder of the disgraced healthcare company Theranos, which claimed to use advanced technology that could produce blood test results for patients using a single drop of blood. An investigative report by the Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou later uncovered that the technology was flawed.

Holmes was convicted of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on January 3. She's currently awaiting sentencing.

Rachel Griffiths
Rachel Griffiths attends the L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Ceremony.Sam Tabone/WireImage

Griffiths told Insider that she uses Holmes' "crazy certainty and need to be extraordinary" to similarly motivate the character of Gretchen.

"Everyone is like, 'The box isn't working.' She's like, 'It's working, it's working perfectly,'" Griffiths said. "You know, 'It's working, it's really working!'" That kind of craziness."

The "Muriel's Wedding" actor explained that "Gretchen is a true sociopath, in that she justifies all the collateral impact on any other humans for this greater cause," which is to prove that women are the stronger sex.

"So for that, I probably drew more from looking at public figures around the world at the moment, who promote ideologies and don't look in the mirror and think they're evil but have a cognitive dissonance about the impact of what their policies or ideas might be doing," she said.

As far as the technique she used to get into character, it's an unexpected one.

"I think for me, Gretchen is kind of like a slightly evil clown in a way," Griffiths said. "I approach her more from a clowning perspective."

"And I often start my first take wildly absurdly big," she continued, saying that it's a goal of hers to make"The Wilds" creator Sarah Streicher and showrunner Amy B. Harris laugh.

Griffiths said that sometimes actors who have been in the business a long time 'can really suck'

Rachel Griffiths.
Rachel Griffiths.Amazon Studios

After learning the plane crash was a setup and watching a group of young girls on their island throughout season one of "The Wilds," the finale of the first season revealed that Gretchen and her team were also monitoring a group of young men on another island.

In scenes set in the present when all of the participants are off of the island, Gretchen and others interrogate the teenagers about their experiences on the island.

Though scenes with the young actors are few and far between, Griffith's recalled for Insider a bit of advice she gave to an unnamed actor who joined the cast in season two and was "nervous" to work with her.

"I remember saying, the thing about acting is you can be in the business for 30 years and someone walks in on their first job and blows you off the screen and grabs the Oscar," she said. "Actually you can really suck as an older actor. You can be self-aware and it's too easy and you know where the light is, and you know where the camera is, and you start making all these, adjustments that don't make your performance actually any deeper or better."

Season two of "The Wilds" is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Read the original article on Insider