Lily Gladstone Explains What Makes Her ‘Under the Bridge’ Co-Star Riley Keough’s Work So Singular

In Entertainment
June 04, 2024

On June 6, the 2024 IndieWire Honors ceremony will celebrate thirteen creators and stars responsible for some of the most stellar work of the TV season. Curated and selected by IndieWire’s editorial team, this event is a new edition of its IndieWire Honors event focused entirely on television. In the days leading up to the event, IndieWire is showcasing their work with new interviews and tributes from their peers.

Ahead, “Under the Bridge” star Lily Gladstone — who previously won an IndieWire Honors Award for “Killers of the Flower Moon” — tells IndieWire about the many qualities that set our Maverick Award winner, multi-hyphenate Riley Keough, apart from the crowd.

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As told to Erin Strecker. The following has been edited and condensed for clarity.

I first became aware of Riley when she did the Joan Jett piece with Kristen Stewart, because I was doing my due diligence, getting ready to work with Kristen on “Certain Women.” And then that same year, “Certain Women’s” assistant director Chris Carroll, who became a good friend of mine, immediately left “Certain Women” to go shoot “American Honey.” And he was talking to me about that, and said Riley Keough is in it, and I’m like, “Oh, yeah, that’s cool.”

Then the next year when both of our films had come out, I thought she was brilliant in that movie. And we were both nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Indie Spirits. We were kind of in each other’s orbit through that whole year.

Once that all settled down, I saw she started following me on Instagram and I kind of freaked out. It was back when I had maybe two, 3,000 followers. The name “Riley Keough” with a blue check pops up you’re like, “Oh, my God!” So we kind of developed this Instagram friendship of likes and emojis and every once in a while she would reach out. When she was gearing up to make “War Pony,” she asked if I knew any native crew that she should reach out to.

Under The Bridge -- “Blood Oath” - Episode 103 -- Upsetting news shakes the small town of Victoria, and as rumors surface, Rebecca and Cam reconnect. In the past, Reena enters Josephine’s mafia fantasy world. Rebecca (Riley Keough) and Cam (Lily Gladstone), shown. (Photo by: Darko Sikman/Hulu))

‘Under the Bridge’HULU

I’ve just seen Riley for years as one, an incredible actress, and I loved the way that she handled the character she played in “American Honey.” And then the way that she approached working in Pine Ridge [for “War Pony”], she made an impression there. Indian country is small, word gets around about how people conduct themselves when they come into your community. So we know which celebs come on to the res and act appropriately and which ones don’t. And everybody loved Riley. So I’ve always seen her as not just like this incredible actress who does wonderful roles, but she’s also just an incredible ally. You know, a lot of Indian country loves to claim Elvis because there’s ancestry there. She doesn’t make that her identity or personality. She’s an ally to helping stories be heightened in Indian country.

Riley is what caused me to lean forward and want to take the meeting [about “Under the Bridge”], knowing that she was acting in it and producing it. I knew “Under the Bridge” was going to be something really special not just because she wanted to act, but because she felt like she wanted to produce it as well. Maybe it’s because she’s so close with her teenage siblings; the twins are such a huge part of her life. She has such a compassion for teenagers and the teenage experience. The way that she worked with all of those girls and with Javon Walton, who plays the character Warren, was really beautiful. Riley’s advocacy for these young actors and her celebration of them was really, really moving. And she just always very plainly and very compassionately keeps everybody focused on where the focus should be. She’s very protective of the kids themselves and the characters that they portrayed, the way [her character] Rebecca was.

Under The Bridge -- “The John Gotti of Seven Oaks” - Episode 102 -- Cam is thrown by a shocking discovery, and the police rush to unravel what really happened under the bridge. Josephine makes a deal with Rebecca, while a look into the past reveals Reena’s first rebellion. Rebecca (Riley Keough), Kelly (Izzy G.) and Josephine (Chloe Guidry), shown. (Photo by: Jeff Weddell/Hulu)

‘Under the Bridge’HULU

She’s so immense. She can do the smallest, most contained little movements. And even when you’re in a scene with her, when you’re in character and your character is not privy to what’s going on in her head the way you are when you’re watching it, you can’t see the choices she’s making through those blinders that you put on for the character. Then getting to watch the scenes later, watching her performance as the character where she’s hiding things from me that I’m not supposed to see, in the scene I didn’t. But then going back and watching it in the show, it’s like, “Ah! There it is! That was only for the camera.” It’s a pretty incredible power that she wields in that way.

Also, she’s goofy as hell. She’s very giggly. She’s very sweet. She can strike you as maybe not assuming, but she’s got a little bit of a trickster spirit in her.

Read Riley Keough’s IndieWire Honors profile.

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