Fracture - Rosamund Pike interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
BRITISH actress Rosamund Pike talks about appearing in legal thriller Fractured, working alongside Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins and why she found her character intimidating at first.
She also talks about her forthcoming appearance at London’s Old Vic, appearing as a Bond villain in Die Another Day and why she now has a taste for Hollywood filmmaking…
Q. Did the prospect of making a solid legal thriller appeal to you?
Rosamund Pike: Absolutely. It’s the kind of film that I love to see and as soon as I read it I thought I really wanted to be a part of it. It’s the kind of film that people haven’t seen in a long time.
Q. Your character, Nikki, is very career-driven. I understand you found that aspect of her intimidating at first?
Rosamund Pike: Yeah, I find them quite shocking actually, these women that seem to be motivated entirely by career and money, and have no real intimacy with anybody or personal involvement with what they do. It’s all a kind of professional kick. It doesn’t sit very comfortably with me. I watched myself at the premiere the other day and I thought: “My God!” I come across so cold and ruthless.
Q. How did you go about giving her some sense of humanity? I gather you were keen to do so?
Rosamund Pike: Well, she thinks she’s justified in making the choices she makes, so I had to find a way of approving what she did. She’s someone doing a job and doing it to the best of her ability. She’s been employed by someone else, so she’s going to work for them and not let her personal life get in the way. That’s the way you take it because you can’t play a character if you dislike them – I learned that from Brenda Blethyn.
However morally dubious a character she plays might be, she always sees why they’re doing it. They’re doing it for a good reason as far as they’re concerned.
Q. Did you do any research into that kind of career-driven woman? Did you talk to any lawyers? Or perhaps base Nikki on someone you know?
Rosamund Pike: I kind of thought about someone I was at university with in terms of the grooming and the way she always kept up this incredibly glossy appearance that is quite intimidating to other women especially. You know, someone who’s just always well turned out down to their toenails and hair. I also met some LA attorneys, including some of the people who were on Johnnie Cochran’s team in the OJ [Simpson] trial…
Q. I bet that was fascinating?
Rosamund Pike: Absolutely. There were some tough, tough cookies. I remember this one woman, she was incredibly impressive, who actually does a lot of work for good causes – she came from the District Attorney’s office originally and often defended the underdog. But I asked her: “What happens if you’re defending someone who you fear is guilty but who gets a verdict of innocent?” She replied: “Well, the prosecution didn’t do their job well enough.”
I thought that’s it, you know, don’t let personal things come into play at all. It’s like checking your conscience at the door and playing by the rules on an open playing field – if you win you win and if you lose you lose. But it’s interesting that Ryan Gosling’s character in this film is all about winning. He only takes on cases he knows will get a verdict of guilty, and if not he won’t take it.
Q. How did you enjoy working with Ryan?
Rosamund Pike: I enjoyed it very much. He’s extraordinary. I’ve admired him for so long, so I was nervous about him too…
Q. Was this before or after his Oscar nomination for Half Nelson?
Rosamund Pike: Way before. He’d just come off Half Nelson. But he’s not like any other 25-year-old; he’s incredibly politically astute and very impressive. You feel that everything is sort of morally completely true. He’s right on. He’s going off to direct a film about child soldiers in Uganda or something. But everything he thinks of is independent and leftfield. It’s really admirable.
But he also questions the script so much. He takes it to pieces and throws that line away that he doesn’t want to say. I come from a theatre background, of course, where you just wouldn’t dream of taking a writer’s line and saying I don’t want to say it. But it’s made me re-think how to go about film because he’s really, really good with a script.
Q. It must have been an amazingly inspiring set as not only do you have Ryan Gosling, but also Anthony Hopkins and David Strathairn as well…
Rosamund Pike: I know. It was a joy just going to work and watching Anthony Hopkins work. I thought that if I never make another film this was about as good as it gets.
Q. Did you get to hang out with Anthony much?
Rosamund Pike: Not really. But I just did the LA junket with him where I got to sit at the press conference and hear him talk. He’s a great inspiration on how to live life. He really lives a good life and he has fun. He tries his hand at anything. Nothing seems too difficult. He’s a painter. He’s writing music now. He said: “I don’t really understand music but I can sort of think of something in my head and get someone else to write it down. And then I’m going to conduct it with the LA Philharmonic…” It’s incredible what he’s actually said – that he’s written a symphony and he’s going to conduct it with the LA Philharmonic [laughs]. That sort of ability makes you quake; it’s incredible to be around someone like that. He’s a real sort of renaissance man.
Q. Did he have any good anecdotes?
Rosamund Pike: None that I can think of apart from having a penchant for chocolate biscuits and not liking to rehearse.
Rosamund Pike: Yes, he can’t bear them. He thinks they’re so boring. I know he was worried when he saw some of the first close-ups in the film that they were going to look too Hannibal Lecter-ish, so he got the lighting to be changed. Some of the close-ups were a bit too close to the bone.
Q. Given the quality of the cast, it must have been extra gratifying that [director] Gregory Hoblit fought so hard to get you after seeing Pride & Prejudice...
Rosamund Pike: He campaigned and it was really flattering. I hope it leads to more American roles because I think my American works in this film and came off.
Q. How hard did you find the accent?
Rosamund Pike: Well, it’s all very well to be able to do a good American accent, but it’s another level when you actually have to pass it off in a film. But actually, very nicely some of the journalists from America said they assumed I was American and had been putting on an English accent for Pride & Prejudice.
Q. Will you continue balancing theatre work with film work. You seem to be having fun doing that at the moment…
Rosamund Pike: So much fun. I’m about to do another great role in the theatre this summer, but I want to do another film because I’ve now done two plays in a row and I want to put that new knowledge to the test. I can’t wait to get my teeth into another film role.
Q. You have Gaslight coming up on the Old Vic stage. Are you looking forward to that?
Rosamund Pike: Yes, until August and then I’ll be free again. But I am very much looking forward to it even though following in Ingrid Bergman’s footsteps is slightly intimidating. She won an Oscar for it but it’s a wonderful role.
Q. Kevin Spacey is doing a terrific job at the Old Vic isn’t he?
Rosamund Pike: He is now. The last three shows have really been impressive. I didn’t go during the period when he was getting criticised but The Entertainer, which is on now, is just fantastic.
Q. But he’s certainly doing his bit to raise the profile of the West End because he’s consistently attracted great casts… It’s exactly what the West End needs, isn’t it?
Rosamund Pike: Absolutely, but it’s the only way now to get people to go to the theatre really – get people that they recognise from film and television. That’s also why I want to carry on doing films. I would love to be able to be in a position where I could sell out a West End show because people have seen films. It definitely helps.
Q. Your profile has been steadily rising since the James Bond film and Pride & Prejudice. Did you enjoy your Bond experience [on Die Another Day]?
Rosamund Pike: Yeah, it was an amazing introduction to the world of films and also this very glamorous lifestyle. The thing about Bond is that they keep the glamour going and everything about it has something extra special. They do it so stylishly. I also think Daniel Craig has done a fantastic job [since taking over the role]. I couldn’t have imagined a better or more original way to do it. It was right that he should be truly original and not follow in the footsteps of anyone. It [Casino Royale] was brilliant.
Q. And Pride & Prejudice must have been a similarly great experience for you?
Rosamund Pike: Absolutely, yes. It was really happy. But that’s the thing about rehearsing [going back to the Anthony Hopkins comment]. If we hadn’t rehearsed on Pride we wouldn’t have been able to capture that kind of atmosphere on film. We wouldn’t have seemed like we knew each other; we had to be a family by the time we started to film. And it really worked.
Q. Finally, you’ve just finished working with Ewan McGregor on Jackboots on Whitehall?
Rosamund Pike: Well, just doing the voice for the animation. Actually, Ewan hadn’t done it by the time I did mine so it’s very exciting if he is doing it. I wouldn’t be surprised because when I saw the short film that these brothers, Edward and Rory McHenry had done before, I just thought it was so original that I wanted to be part of this movie.