Danielle Macdonald Opens Up About The Process Of Filming The Tourist - Exclusive Interview

Actress Danielle Macdonald has been charming audiences since the mid-2000s. Her roles in projects like "Bird Box" and "Patti Cake$" got her on the map, but it was her breakthrough performance in "Dumplin'" that cemented her stardom. In the film, Macdonald stars alongside Jennifer Aniston. The pair play a mother-daughter duo navigating the complicated world of beauty pageants — the movie is billed as a comedy, but there are emotional moments throughout that really drive the story home.


Following the success of "Dumplin'," Macdonald went on to star in several film and television roles before landing her latest gig: The role of Helen Chambers in "The Tourist." Set to premiere on HBO Max on March 3, 2022, "The Tourist" is centered around a mysterious character known only as "The Man.". Actor Jamie Dornan artfully plays The Man in the six-part series, and Macdonald's character Helen becomes involved in The Man's quest to find out his true identity.

"The Tourist" is compelling to watch, and it features memorable performances from Dornan and the ensemble cast, but Macdonald's character is the underlying heartbeat of the show. As a viewer, you want Helen Chambers to succeed, which is a sentiment Macdonald shares with the audience.


During an exclusive interview with The List, Danielle Macdonald opened up about the process of filming "The Tourist" in her native Australia, how she prepared for the role, and more.

Danielle Macdonald discussed her character Helen Chambers

Your character in "The Tourist," Helen Chambers, is so kind and endearing throughout the entire series, but I was wondering if there was one scene in particular you read that made you say, "I have to play this role."


I knew I had to play it from the first moment I read it, honestly. As I continued to read, I grew more and more in love with her, to be honest. Honestly, from the first meeting, it was such a crazy scene when she shows up at his [The Man's] hospital bed. It changed over time, but it was originally nine or ten pages of just dialogue, and me just talking at him, really. Filming that was like verbal diarrhea. It was a lot! I remember the crew actually applauded the first time we got through the whole thing because they were like, "We weren't sure how you were actually going to get through that." I was like, "Me neither!" But we got there.

That's acting! You muscled your way through it.

Acted. Got there. [Laughs]. Okay! Now, let's do one that's actually good because now I know that the words are there.


Well, I'm sure that played into it, though! Because if you're nervous, then it works with the scene to be like vomiting all these words out.

When I throw the pen in that first scene, that was actually me accidentally throwing the pen out of actual nerves and not a part of the character, but they decided to use it.

It makes it even better as a viewer to know that. [Laughs].

It was very realistic!

She found the filming process to be rewarding

Helen goes through quite an emotional transformation throughout the show as she gains her footing in the world, both professionally and personally. Which aspect of her journey did you find most rewarding to film?


There were a few moments. For spoiler alerts, I don't know that I'm really allowed to say them, but later on in the series, there are a couple of moments that I found really rewarding because you see Helen go on this entire journey. To see her gain her confidence and to speak up and actually say how she's feeling, it's really exciting in those moments. It's fun to play because you're like, "Yes! She got there."

There was one [scene] in particular that we filmed really close towards the end, and it felt very rewarding to kind of get to that point. That was fun.

I'm sure it's nice to have that catharsis of taking your character through to this more triumphant aspect than what she started off with.


Yeah, exactly.

Are there specific processes that you use to help you get into character before you start filming a new project? Do you make a playlist for your character or you follow specific rituals maybe?

It depends on the character actually. I have done the playlist thing in the past. I didn't with this one. [There] was so much about trying to get into that headspace of thinking positively, about everything. I'm very much someone that evaluates every side of a situation. Not to say I can't do things on a whim, because I do things on a whim all the time, but usually, I like to see everything around me, whereas Helen goes in with, "Everything's going to be great!" A lot of it was trying to live that life a little bit.

Every time I looked at the dialogue or the scenes, it was like, "Okay, what's the positive version of this?" and that was definitely a way in. Getting to play her, I did a lot of prep work playing around. My friends helped me run lines. I worked with Chris [Sweeney], our director. I worked with Jamie [Dornan]. We did one Zoom session and I was like, "Oh, there it is. That's fun!" It's fun when you actually get in the room together, because then you're like, "Okay, I see where your head is at with your character and my head." Then, the rest is chemistry, and you figure it out together. That's fun.


"The Tourist" is now streaming on HBO Max.