Alice Englert, writer and director of Sundance title “Bad Behaviour,” was accompanied by stars Ben Whishaw and Jennifer Connelly in the Variety Studio presented by Audible for an intimate look into the making of her first feature film.

“I did want it to be unhinged; I wanted it to go slightly off the rails,” Englert said, reflecting on her initial vision for the feature. “I wanted the kind of narrative that Lucy thought she was in to blow up, and then the rest of the story to kind of take place in the wreckage and the ruins.”

“Bad Behaviour” sees Lucy (Connelly), a former child actress, join her guru Elon Bello (Whishaw) at a reclusive mountain retreat, where she is forced to engage in mother/daughter role-playing exercises with a young influencer. The introspective experience kicks Lucy’s antics into full gear as she struggles to repress the dissatisfaction she feels in her relationship with her own daughter.

“She really is so convinced that she’s behaving in a way that is so different from the way she actually is behaving — like the world doesn’t meet her the way she perceives herself,” Connelly said of her character. “For me, what made all of her hideous behavior tolerable is the thing that she actually wants most is to be a good mom, to escape the legacy of what she learned from her mom and to love her daughter.”

Prior to her behind-the-screen debut, Englert took acting roles in projects like the Starz series “Dangerous Liaisons” and 2021’s “The Power of the Dog.” In “Bad Behaviour,” the director plays Lucy’s daughter, a stunt performer named Dylan. Englert says her past experience as a performer allowed her to bring a fresh perspective and renewed vitality to the craft of filmmaking and screenwriting.

“The stage directions are the funniest stage directions I’ve ever read in my life,” Whishaw said, admiring Englert’s work. “It was so vivid on the page.”

“Bad Behaviour” premiered on Jan. 21 at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for a grand jury prize.

Watch the full conversation above.