Interview - Sienna Miller interview
Compiled by Jack Foley
SIENNA Miller talks about the appeal of starring alongside Steve Buscemi in Interview, her relationship to journalists and why she considers it an important profession, and which of her co-stars films she most admires…
Were you intimidated by playing this character, and the idea that people might see Katya as an extension of yourself, with all the surface similarities?
Sienna Miller: If the character convinces them, then I’ve done my job, but frankly, she’s a very different personality. Obviously, the circumstances are similar. She’s an actress. I’m an actress. She’s known more by reputation than for her films and I think that’s something I can definitely relate to, but she’s actually complex – layered and manipulative and fascinating. As an actress, it’s just a perfect role to play, just such an ideal film. And also to have Steve Buscemi in the same room acting opposite you is a dream come true.
You spent a lot of time together. I hope you liked him!
Sienna Milller: I loved him. You can tell we got on when you see the film. You can tell there’s good energy, chemistry and all of those things, but it’s hard not to get on with him; he is such a wonderful man. He had a lot of work on his hands but we had this great intensity in a two-week rehearsal, where he did a lot of directing and so once we got to shooting we were at a place where we were very comfortable with the script, comfortable with what was going on and therefore we had room to improvise and move around.
I was going to ask if you could improvise with something like that? It was so open and with only two people to direct…
Sienna Miller: Yes, we did. You add something, you play around, because it was two of us and we weren’t creatively restricted. It was three hand-held cameras and there were no marks to hit, and there was no continuity, because they were constantly capturing every angle of one scene. So when, for example, I run and dive onto the sofa I just decided to do that in the moment and they caught it.
Is Katya troubled or just a young girl having fun?
Sienna Miller: I actually don’t think she’s troubled. I think she knows who she is, she understands where she’s at and she knows what she likes. She’s very strong, conniving and manipulative but only in retaliation to his sort of manipulation. I think that she is absolutely existentially content with who she is and why she is.
And is that what you liked about her?
Sienna Miller: Well, I just think that’s one of the things she is and I respect that quality. It’s not like me. She’s so layered. It sort of happens instinctually… We were doing eight-minute takes and you forget there are cameramen there, and then there were thirty pages of dialogue a night. It was a nine-night shoot for the entire film, so really it felt like doing a play.
Are journalists sometimes badly prepared, like Pierre in the film?
Sienna Miller: [Laughs] No. I’ve met some who are absolutely completely disinterested in any opinion that I may have but are unashamedly content to ask things that I would find embarrassing to ask someone I didn’t know. That’s just a lack of respect. I have been in those situations, but now I don’t have any time for it. Before, I was so eager to please, but now you know who is interviewing you and I can control which publications I can speak to.
Did the subject matter of the film create any understanding, appreciation or sympathy for journalists?
Sienna Miller: I think that journalism is a really important medium and that it gets abused and therefore has a bad reputation, but journalists have a massive, important and powerful responsibility. Certain journalists abuse that power.
From what I have read you’re quite a good interviewee…
Sienna Miller: Am I? Do you think? I guess that I’m open. I wish I were less open because it tends to get me into trouble a bit! I find, essentially, what you are doing is putting yourself up for judgement so it’s quite a weird dynamic. I’d rather be myself, though. I’ve heard people say, “Just play a role, just talk about the film, just be composed and don’t give them anything.” Frankly, I’d just rather have a good chat, for my own sanity as much as yours, and you know at the end of the day, if someone wants to abuse that openness that’s their decision. I’d rather be myself and I’d be unhappy trying to be someone else.
Do you ever decide beforehand what are the things you’d like to talk about?
Sienna Miller: I like it when people want to talk about things other than the personal. But, you know, at the end of the day if it’s a good journalist, then it is a good conversation. It can be quite thought provoking and interesting, but I’m not mad about talking about myself. I always try to turn it round on someone else. You are being analysed to a certain degree, and some people feel understandably threatened by that. I have met journalists and have had really good conversations, but I’ve also done interviews where I have felt totally taken advantage of and felt really unhappy about the outcome.
Recently or in the past?
Sienna Miller: When I was younger it happened more. I think now I’m sort of more aware if someone is trying to do it. Some are out to get you and there’s a lack of respect and I sense it. I always know when it’s going to come out wrong. I do have a big gob. Sorry! That’s my publicist over there smiling!
Katya says that there’s always a winner and a loser in a relationship. Do you feel there’s some truth in that?
Sienna Miller: I don’t look at life like that; that’s too black and white. I feel like relationships are all about colours and grey areas. I guess when you split up there might be a winner and a loser. I try not to see life in that way. I guess it depends whether there’s game playing involved in the relationship, and with those two characters, I guess there would be. But people who aren’t manipulative wouldn’t be in a game-playing relationship. For the characters it’s a power struggle; it’s like playing with your food before you eat it. That’s how they are with each other, but I’m not that kind of person.
Is there an answer to Pierre’s question, “What makes a man attractive?”
Sienna Miller: For me, it’s a sense of humour. If someone makes me laugh, then I find them instantly attractive, because I want to be around them. That’s the most important thing to me, not scars, not even psychological scars, because everybody’s got them. I know it’s a boring answer, but if people make me laugh, then that’s a big bonus.
What films of Steve’s did you most admire?
Sienna Miller: I loved Fargo; he was brilliant in that. But everything. I loved Trees Lounge, which he also directed, and Reservoir Dogs, and even in Con Air and Armageddon, these big commercial films, he’s always brilliant. He raises the bar in all those films. But I do love Fargo.
This is a big year for you, with the films you’re working on. Does it feel that way?
Sienna Miller: No, I’m a day by day person. I try and live spontaneously. I’m excited that I’ve had the chance to work with John Maybury and with Steve, people I really respect as artists. And Keira Knightley. I feel happy and lucky and things are going well but I try not to analyse them too much.
Have you become friends with Keira?
Sienna Miller: Yes, we’re going to have a drink later. I loved working with her, and having a partner in crime, someone who understands the harder aspect of what we do. I don’t want to sound like a whiner, but it was nice to have someone who understood those things. I love her and think she’s very talented.