Since her Oscar-nominated breakthrough performance in Mike Leigh’s Secrets And Lies, Marianne Jean-Baptiste has been a reliable presence in film and television, often playing stern keepers of the law in projects like Without A Trace and Broadchurch. But she gets to show her more vulnerable side as Sheila in In Fabric (the latest from Duke Of Burgundy director Peter Strickland), which quite literally puts her through holiday shopping hell as she deals with a haunted red dress purchased from a probably satanic department store called Dentley & Soper’s. We say “probably” because In Fabric deliberately keeps details ambiguous while emphasizing a more bizarre, sensory moviegoing experience, as Strickland is wont to do. At its core is Jean-Baptiste whose grounded, tenacious performance as Sheila offers the audience a welcome tether to reality—until it doesn’t. We had the pleasure of sitting down with the actor to untangle the film’s unique blend of the hilarious and the macabre, and to discuss why Jean-Baptiste would never even dare to step foot in a department store like Dentley & Soper’s, especially during holiday shopping season.
In Fabric is playing in select theaters now, and is available on VOD services as of December 10.