‘Promising Young Woman’ Star Chris Lowell Opens up About Filming *That* Agonizing Scene

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*Warning: Spoilers Ahead*

*Trigger warning: This film deals with potentially distressing subject matter*

If you haven’t seen Carey Mulligan’s new film, Promising Young Woman, we recommend you do. Luckily, the film is already out now on digital and is coming to Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, March 16.

In anticipation of PYW’s home entertainment release, PureWow recently chatted with the film’s star, Chris Lowell, to talk about the experience of working on the movie. During the interview, Lowell revealed his most challenging moment from being on set, which just so happens to be the most intense scene of the entire film.

“I don't know if I have a favorite memory, but one of the most memorable things about that shoot was the death scene with Carey,” he revealed. “I remember Emerald [the director] walking up to us and saying ‘I heard that it takes two minutes for someone to die of asphyxia, so we’re just going to roll for two minutes and I’ll yell out every 30 seconds so Carey knows when to die.’”

And the scene was no easy task, both for Lowell and even more so for Mulligan. Turns out, during one of the takes, the 36-year-old almost suffocated Mulligan in real life.

He continued, “We had a stunt coordinator and he came up to us and told us that we were going to be exhausted and being in that struggle with her for over two minutes was agonizing. We did it four times—the first time Emerald loved it and suggested we do one more for safety. The second time she was like, ‘That’s the one, lets just do one more so we have it.’ The third time we made it like 90 seconds in and then there was a problem with the camera and then the fourth time we did it, I actually started suffocating Carey. You know, it’s hard to know that you’re doing that because the scene is one where she’s flipping out. We had a signal that we worked out with the stunt coordinator and she tapped me really lightly on my leg and I got off of her immediately. And she sat up and took the pillow off and tears just exploded out of her eyes. She knew that she was safe and OK but it was also terrifying because she was living that moment. I remember everyone flipped out and Emerald come out and made sure everyone was OK and asked, ‘Can we do just one more take,’ and I was like, ‘absolutely not, that’s it.’ I couldn’t kill the lead of this film.”

While extremely disturbing to watch, the scene helped make the film one of the most incredible—and devastating—of the year.