Anatomy of an Emmy-Worthy Scene: Mare of Easttown's Julianne Nicholson and EP/Writer Brad Ingelsby Dissect Lori's Big Series Finale Explosion

In the seventh and final episode of HBO’s Mare of Easttown, Julianne Nicholson‘s Lori unloads on her BFF Mare (Kate Winslet) for arresting her 12-year-old son Ryan without even the courtesy of a heads-up. Below, TVLine Dream Emmy nominee Nicholson and Mare series creator Brad Ingelsby, who penned the closer, take us inside the visceral, heartbreaking scene.

JULIANNE NICHOLSON | It felt like it was my scene to f–k up. [Laughs] Part of acting is magic; you do the work and hope for [the best]. So I was very nervous. But I also felt like I knew this character. And I knew her relationship with her son. And I also trust Kate implicitly — as a friend and as an actress.

BRAD INGELSBY | It was very quiet on set. It was the last scene of the night. And it was very cold out.

NICHOLSON | I remember being very aware of the [temperature]. I don’t love the cold because I feel like it physically tightens you. Ideally, you feel looser in your body to be able to access things.

INGELSBY | I gave Julianne and Kate a wide berth. I didn’t want to get too involved because we knew what that scene would require emotionally. A lot of the scene was [performed] as written, but one line Julianne added was when [Lori screams], “It’s Ryan! It’s Ryan! It’s my Ryan.”

NICHOLSON | Brad is such a great writer, but he’s also not precious about it. So he always gave us the freedom to change a line, add a line, drop a line. The “my Ryan” line just happened in the moment. I was imagining this friendship between these two people. Mare knows Ryan since he was born. We’re not just talking about any kid. We’re talking about Ryan. My Ryan. [The words] just sort of came out.

INGELSBY | That was my favorite part of the scene. I’m honest enough with myself to be like, “When someone has a better idea than me, I will happily steal it.” Julianne created that moment.

NICHOLSON | At one point, after having done a [few takes], I needed a little extra shot of something so I just went and gave Kate a big hug… because to feel that comfort and trust and love reminds you of what it feels like to have it [taken away].

INGELSBY | I didn’t say too much to her afterwards because when go through something that emotional it’s hard to just turn off the switch, I would imagine… The emotion out of Julianne — the heartbreak on her face — was just so incredible. She knocked it out of the park.

NICHOLSON | I remember getting back in the van after the scene and I just started crying. And my makeup artist — or I should say my non-makeup artist [Laughs] — Debbie Young, who I’ve worked with before and I deeply love, said to me, “You brought it, honey.” She made me feel like I did what I needed to do.

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