Sydney Sweeney On The “Honor” Of Speaking To Real Whistleblower For ‘Reality’ Role — Berlin Film Festival

Sydney Sweeney passed through the Berlin Film Festival Saturday evening alongside playwright and director Tina Satter to debut their new feature Reality.

The film follows the story of real-life U.S. whistleblower Reality Winner, a former intelligence officer who was given the longest prison sentence ever imposed for the unauthorized release of classified material (five years and three months). Winner had passed documents to the media in 2018 about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.

The Euphoria actor portrays Winner in the film, and she told press corps in Berlin that she studied many clips of Winner’s past interviews to nail her mannerisms.

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“When I was auditioning, I went and found as many interviews as I could of Reality so that I could watch how she speaks, moves, and her different mannerisms,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney continued to say that she took all of her visual research into her audition, which helped her land the part. However, she added that it was the private conversations she was able to have with Winner that best equipped her for the role.

“I had the honor and the privilege of being able to communicate with Reality,” Sweeney said. “I was able to Zoom with her. Tina connected us, and I would text her throughout the process.”

She added: “When Tina connected us, I was like, ‘Omg, this is a dream for an actor because I’m actually getting to speak with the real person and dive into their mind and what she’s gone through in her life.”

The film opens on a Saturday afternoon in June 2017 when 25-year-old Winner was confronted at her Georgia home by the FBI. The film continues by following the cryptic conversation that took place between Winner and the FBI agents.

The film is an adaptation of Satter’s own play Is This A Room. Satter wrote the screenplay with James Paul Dallas, a process that she told press in Berlin was laced with inherent difficulties due to the mystery surrounding the real-life Reality Winner.

“There were so many factors that made it hard to make her legible,” Satter said.

“This blonde woman named Reality Winner comes onto the news, and no one can really understand what she actually did; they don’t even understand how it went down and how she was captured. So there’s always this weird enigmatic thing about her.”

Reality debuts in the Panorama section in Berlin tonight. The Paris-based mk2 films is handling international sales.

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