Sixteen years after getting her big break in Dallas, Molly C. Quinn has tried to put a positive spin on the turbulence of living in the public eye.
She’s carved out a successful career as a producer and actor on both the big and small screen, from a regular role on the series “Castle” to her new film, the supernatural comedy-drama Agnes.
Playing a grieving young mother who joins a rural convent after losing her young son, then tries to start over again in the outside world, recalls Quinn’s ability to confront private struggles — such as sobriety — in a public way.
“I hope people realize that they’ve got issues that they keep pushing to the back of their brain, that maybe they should unpack,” Quinn said. “Maybe have a conversation with your friend who you haven’t talked to. Life is better once you start to deal with your baggage.”
That’s certainly the case with Mary, her character in the film who must navigate demons both literally and figuratively that complicate her efforts to find closure.
“It’s the loss of her son that sends her on this journey,” Quinn said. “Having people around you saying to move on — I can’t see that advice ever coming from a kind place. Mary just completely rejects it. Rather than face it, she just runs away because she just wants to live with the memory of her son. But the world keeps interfering.”
Quinn, 28, isn’t a mother herself, but reached out to friends in order to spend time with their children prior to filming, to experience some of that parental bond.
“The most important moments were getting to play with kids and watch how excited they are to see the world,” she said. It helped me to see what that joy is, and how gut-wrenching it would be to have that taken away.”
Quinn is a Texarkana native who met her eventual agent at a Young Actors Studio showcase in Dallas when she was 12. After living locally for about a year to taking more intensive acting classes, her family moved to Los Angeles.
“Coming from a smaller town, getting the opportunity to go to Dallas gave me a wider view of the world and showed me how much was out there in the world,” Quinn said. “I was so excited about that four-hour drive.”
In 2009, she started on “Castle,” which ran for eight seasons before ending in 2016. Quinn also had a memorable role in the big-screen comedy We’re the Millers.
As for Agnes, the latest project from indie director Mickey Reece (Climate of the Hunter) was shot in January 2020 in Oklahoma, with post-production taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It marks the first feature to be completed by QWGmire, the production company formed two years ago by Quinn, Matthew Welty, and Elan Gale.
“Producing is really rewarding, because you get to be part of the entire vision,” she said. “It helps me as an actor. I love being in a position to connect all of the other creatives who are involved in making a movie.”
After debuting this summer at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York, the movie will be available to stream via on-demand and digital platforms this weekend.