Julia Garner on ‘Ozark’ and Her Character’s Fate

Warning! Major spoilers for the last season Ozark

Julia Garner apologizes for talking in the third person, but she swears it’s the only way she can tell the story of how she learned her character Ruth Langmore’s fate on the final season of Netflix’s Ozark. Before each season of the drama, which looks at how Jason’s Bateman’s mild-mannered financial advisor Marty Byrde began laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel, Garner meditates to center herself. “I know this sounds crazy, but [while meditating] I try to remove myself completely and become Ruth,” she told TIME. “I’m half-asleep, half-awake [while doing this] so it’s this subconscious-type thing and I ask myself, as Ruth, questions.”

One of the questions Garner asked Ruth as she prepared for the show’s fourth and final season was what she was afraid of. “She told me she was afraid to die,” Garner says. “Which was very weird because Ruth is never afraid to die. Ruth thinks she can handle anything.” Less than a minute after finishing that unsettling meditation session, Garner got a phone call from OzarkChris Mundy, producer asked if they would talk about the last season. “I said, What will happen to me? He’s like, What did you do to know this?He was honest, I said so. I didn’t know, but Ruth knew that she wasn’t going to be an old lady.”

Second half of season 4 is available now on streaming. Ruth sets out to kill Javi, a Mexican drug cartel leader and unhinged enforcer who killed Wyatt (Charlie Tahan). It concludes with Javi’s mom Camila (Veronica Falcón) shooting Ruth for taking her son’s life. It’s a bittersweet end for a beloved character who evolved from a small-time criminal into Marty’s money laundering protégé and then into a legit businesswoman.

Making the series felt like a transformative experience for Garner, who also stars in Netflix’s hit series Invention of Anna. “Ozark is not just a page in my book, it’s chapters of it,” she said. “It’s not just a job. It’s a part of me.”

Garner talked to TIME before the streaming of her last season. Ozark Scene, Anna Delvey is a real-life fraudster and her reasons for believing that the Byrdes are doomed to fail.

Please Filming is complete Ozark In January. How are you feeling now that fans will finally learn Ruth’s fate?

It’s really bittersweet. This is probably my favorite way to end the night. You don’t ever want to be the last person leaving the party. Personally, and selfishly, I could shoot this show until I’m 70 years old. It’s something that I am certain every actor involved in promoting their projects says. It felt like being a member of a family. However, this is not the case. Actually Like a member of a large family. [Laughs] Jason [Bateman]Laura [Linney]Everyone on the show are so talented, they respect each other artistically as well as personally. It was an amazing experience. It was such an intimate experience. Because I am a type of person, it makes it more difficult in certain ways to be on another set. OzarkStandard in a manner.

Was it the most difficult part about saying goodbye to Ruth

You almost feel like you have lost a piece of yourself. Ruth has given me so many things, both as an actor and as a person. She gave me a sense of confidence that I didn’t have before. I was able to tap into that confidence. It’s weird because in the middle of filming I have more in common with my character than with myself. I’ll wonder, Why is this happening to me? and I’ll think about it and go, My character has this feeling!. Do you think that makes any sense?

Like that barrier between your true self and the version of you that people see on screen is less defined when you’re filming?

Yeah, it’s weird. Emotions can be contagious. It is important to recognize the signs of emotional distress. [Ruth’s cousin] Wyatt died [in the season 4 part 1 finale]A part of Ruth may have died, according to me. Although she was alive in body, her soul had died. It’s not depressing to say, but this was my mentality for one year. [while preparing and filming the final season]. It was very depressing to feel like that, but that’s why they’re so amazing on set. Because everybody was so light and wonderful that it made it easier to wake up the next morning knowing that you’re surrounded by people who love you.

Can you talk about filming Ruth’s final scene?

It was like I was in death. It was the final scene in my life. Ozark.My last shot was on the ground. Ruth must have died at Wyatt’s death, I believe. My belief is that her body was still here. She wasn’t going to voluntarily quit life, but I think she was so dead inside that if given an opportunity to die, she wouldn’t say no. In the end, it’s not her going over to death, it’s death coming over to her. By the end of the season, she didn’t care about living. After killing Javi, she felt like a ghost.

Ruth dies, but Ruth’s life is not the same as hers. But Ruth and her family seem to be happy. The Byrdes found a way for them to get straight and still break bad. Are you sure the Byrdes were victorious?

I don’t view it as the Byrdes winning, even if they think they’re winning. I think they’re lying to themselves. They might have won the battle, but they didn’t win the war. You can’t get your hands clean if you do. People are not meant to do things like they’ve done, you know? The simplicity of an animal is what I see. They love, fight, have sex and hate. Similarities exist in people, except that they have money, which makes them less simple. Money is not simple.

You can see your paper. Invention of Anna character, scam artist Anna Delvey, and Ruth couldn’t be more different, but do you think those characters have anything in common?

They’re both ruthless women. People love women who are ruthless and have an uncompromising attitude. That’s a sense of confidence, and there’s nothing more attractive than having full ownership of yourself.

Would you agree that Anna and Ruth are friends?

In the beginning, they were likely to judge one another, as if it was hardcore. Anna is such a girl’s girl, but Ruth is not. I think Ruth always longs to have that female validation and kind of secretly wants to be a part of the girl’s club in a way, but she only knows how to talk to men. She’s like a bossy girl on the playground bossing all the boys basically. They would soon realize they could work together, as Are you a fan of surprising people? It’s also my favorite thing to surprise people. Let’s surprise people together! [Laughs]

Some have wondered if Anna felt any remorse after what she did. In preparation for the event, we spent some time together. Invention of AnnaLet us know your thoughts.

It was traumatizing for everyone, I think. I think it’s a trauma for Rachel [Williams], Anna’s lawyer [Todd Spodek], [journalist] Jessica Pressler. I also think it’s a trauma for Anna Delvey. For me it’s a trauma. [the question of], Are you able to sympathize with her? That’s black and white. Every person on the planet has experienced trauma. It might not seem like a trauma to us, but we’re not in that person’s shoes. I play people, I don’t play caricatures, and as soon as you play a caricature it’s going to be one-note and one-dimensional. Ruth killed her uncles during season 1. [of Ozark]People forget that it was an ongoing series. People had more time to forget about that character. You could have said that Ruth was a sociopath, but no one’s saying that. People don’t have to like the characters that I play. It is enough for them to understand that character.

Anna has been to and She shared her viewOnInvention of Anna Since its premiere in February. Have you reached out to her to discuss the series?

No, I haven’t heard from her personally. When I met her for the first time, she wanted to know how I would play her. I told her, ‘My job is not for me to make people like you or hate you.’ At that time, she had no voice at all. I said to her, ‘My job is for people to be willing to understand why you did what you did. Whether it’s good or bad. I’m not saying what you did and how you went about it is a good thing, but I want people to be willing to question how you got to that place and why. That’s going to humanize you because right now, people are not viewing you like a human and you are. I want to remind people of that.’ I think that meant a lot to her.

The following interview was edited for clarity.

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