​I want to die in an environment where my cellular structure can go back in and feed: Frances McDormand

Asha Bajaj
4 min readOct 23, 2020

#TIFF2020; #Nomadland; #FrancesMcDormand; #TrueNomad; #ChloéZhao; #AmericanWest

Toronto, Oct 23:During one of the conversations series organized by the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) held at Toronto, Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director & Co-Head of TIFF discusses the film ‘Nomadland’ with Frances McDormand, winner of various oscar awards, playing Fern in the film and her exploration of the vast landscape of the American West, in Chloé Zhao, director and producer’s intimate portrayal of life as a modern-day nomad. Asha Bajaj, Editorial-Director of Canadian-Media brings you the excerpts:

Image: Nomadland. Image credit: Wikipedia


Cameron to Frances: Frances, one of the first things we learn about Fern is her freedom. We see her peeing on the side of the road, not caring about the world. She follows her own schedule in her job. But as the film progresses, we see more layers including her self-protective sense that may seem to others as freedom. Can you describe Fern at her core?

Frances: In the time that we spent together, I perceived a child-like quality in her that we were interested in for Fern. She has a set of very prescribed rules living in an empire, and once she hits the road the possibilities become open testing her sense of self-sufficiency. Our intention was to make the audience excited about the possibilities of seeing what was around the next corner and leave her alone to become more comfortable testing herself against those her circumstances.

To Frances: How close are you to the character that you are playing do you think?

There is always a part of every character that is true to some part of the actor’s life. But in this, it was more. Chloe and I had created a kind of a baseline about Fern and then every situation had to be used as a trampoline.

To Frances: We see more of Fern’s past life on empire, and her family as the film moves along. I am curious to know if Fern jumped off that middle-class merry-go-round or was she pushed?

My perspective on this situation is completely different because the main difference between me and Fern was that I left home, and an American…



Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women