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Duplicity - Clive Owen interview

Clive Owen in Duplicity

Interview by Rob Carnevale

CLIVE Owen last worked with Julia Roberts on the British hit Closer. He reunites with her for romantic espionage caper Duplicity and talks to us about the appeal of working with a familiar co-star, getting to keep a Georgio Armani wardrobe, tackling the awkward love scenes and why every scene in the film counts as a favourite.

Q. Was part of the appeal that you wanted to work together again with Julia Roberts, after Closer?
Clive Owen: Yes. We have got on very well on Closer, so I was always very keen to work with Julia again.

Q. Do you prefer acting with people that you already know?
Clive Owen: I just think that on a movie like this if you’ve worked with somebody and you know you get on, then you can get to the fun bit much quicker.

Q. Does it also help when it comes to the bedroom scenes?
Clive Owen: Whatever anybody tells you, those scenes are always awkward. You go into a room, you’ve got 15 guys standing around, you take off your clothes and you get into bed… it’s never going to be comfortable and easy! But it really does help if you keep it light and keep some sense of humour in the room.

Q. Talking of clothes, did you steal any of your wardrobe?
Clive Owen: Actually, in this movie Georgio Armani made everything and it only fits me, so… [laughs]

Q. Is it hard to keep a track of what your characters know in any one scene, given that it’s not shot in sequence?
Clive Owen: That’s a good question but Tony gave us a chronological script where it was laid out exactly as it did happen. So, we had that to help us keep track.

Q. Which was your favourite scene in the movie?
Clive Owen: Generally, on most films that I do there’s a couple of scenes that you always think “I really look forward to doing this scene”, either because it’s very well written or because it’s a pivotal scene for your character. But I can honestly say on this that every single scene was so well written that I’d finish one and say: “Oh great, we’ve still got these to come.” So, I literally loved every scene in the movie.

Q. Do you think that we have any reason to believe your characters will remain happy together given that they are professional liars?
Clive Owen: I think that the lovely film about the film is that it’s about two people who are used to being on top and deceiving everybody, and yet they’re very vulnerable because they’re crazy about each other. Ultimately, it’s about them finally admitting that and laying themselves open.

Q. How difficult was it to maintain the rhythm of the script?
Clive Owen: To be honest, I didn’t think it was that difficult really because it’s so well written that you just don’t want to mess it up. It’s like driving a really good car. You sit in it and make sure you adhere to the rhythms that are in front of you. All we do is play along with that, try and refine it and bring some sort of juice to it. But I think it’s actually very clearly in front of you how you’re supposed to play it.

Q. How hard is it to find a script that’s as intelligent as this?
Clive Owen: I think it’s really hard to find great dialogue. You tend to find that a lot of writers can write great stories and great characters, but it’s really rare to come across dialogue that’s as good as this.

Q. Being a parent, do you build your career around the kids?
Clive Owen: I just make sure that if I go off and am spending a serious amount of time away from the children that I immediately take considerable down-time and hang with the kids for a while. So, if I’m doing a film like this, which does take me away from home because the kids are entrenched in school, I just make sure that I take a serious amount of time afterwards to be with them.

Read our review of Duplicity