So what's it like to portray a crackhead alcoholic who'll never win the Mother of the Year Award? That's what we ask Amy Ryan, star of "Gone Baby Gone," who's got Oscar megabuzz as a supporting-actress contender for portraying a character she describes as "a single mom struggling, doing the best she can without the help of any social services.
"It's not my job to judge this character," Ryan adds. "I just have to add up the math in her world and not bring in my own prejudice. You've got to see all angles of this woman. She's not just black and white, not just a demon. She's trying to survive in a tough neighborhood and get by."
But she is enormously frustrating. "Just when you think she's learned a lesson, she slaps it away," Ryan says.
And what was it like working with Ben Affleck as a neophyte director? He "really loved" the true drama that occurred behind the camera, she said. He told Ryan, "I'm thriving on the problem-solving. As much as you plan your day on a movie set, something is always going to come up and surprise you."
Now she says, "I wonder what it'll be like for him to go back to being an actor now that he's been on this side?"