Sarah Paulson Dishes on Her 'Really Hard' Fitness Routine for 'The Goldfinch' Role (Exclusive)

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Sarah Paulson
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Sarah Paulson underwent a big metamorphosis for her role in the upcoming film, The Goldfinch

The film centers on Theo Decker (Ansel Elgort), whose mother dies in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City when he's just a boy, altering the course of his life. Paulson plays Xandra, a prostitute and ex-girlfriend of Larry Decker ( Luke Wilson), Theo's father. 

ET's Keltie Knight spoke with the 44-year-old actress at the film's premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday about becoming Xandra, which included lots of time in the gym in order to tackle the edgy role.

"I worked out really hard. I had a trainer named Magnus who trained James McAvoy for Glass and that's where I met him and I worked out with him six days a week and I put the time in and I ate very, very cleanly, and I, you know, I was hungry a lot and that part was really hard," she explained. "But, I thought, 'You know, this is how [author] Donna Tartt describes this woman as.' Worked-out looking and she cares a lot about that stuff and overly tan and the hair and the square nails and I thought, 'OK, well, I'm not gonna go halfway in. I'm gonna put my full self into this and I can get my body to look like what I can get it to look like and then after that I'll let it go.'"

ET also chatted with Paulson and Wilson together at the film's press day on Saturday, where the actress revealed that her prominent tan in the film didn't come from a can.

"That was a real tan," she vowed. "I swear to god. I was in a lot of tanning beds."

Paulson also discussed what attracted her to the deeply flawed character, stating: "I was very interested in the underbelly of her and a lot of times I think if we are honest with ourselves, we are all self-motivated in particular ways. We spend a lot of time, if you are a conscious enough person, you try to move around those impulses and Xandra doesn't know how to move around any of them. She wants what she wants."

Her character and young Theo are understandably at odds sometimes in the film, which Wilson noted was "interesting to see someone who is competitive with a child."

"And baseline, you're in my sandbox and I want you out of here," Paulson responded. "This is my dance space and that's yours. I just think it's interesting because I think we all walk a fine line and she just doesn't."

At the Abominable premiere on Saturday, ET spoke with Paulson again, where she hinted that, although she doesn't have a prominent role in the upcoming season of American Horror Story, she "might pop up" at some point. Check out the chat below!

The Goldfinch arrives in theaters on Friday, Sept. 13.

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