Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. Was Alfie your first movie?
A. Pretty much. I did a movie called Layer
Cake which was just before this. I did that in June last year
and Alfie in September. I got both roles at the same time, but
Layer Cake was only five days [laughs] it doesn’t count.
Q. Nikki is a very demanding role to state the obvious.
Were you worried about the scenes when you are wearing very little?
A. Well the physical stuff I didn’t find difficult
necessarily because I think it was relevant for the character.
We talked about it and I had the option of not doing it if I didn’t
feel comfortable with it. But I felt that in that scene that it
was so desperate, it would be such a desperate thing to do for
this girl who is trying anything to make him stay that it would
make people uncomfortable, so if I felt uncomfortable I think
it was relevant for the scene.
I think it works in that scene, because you are kind of like ‘oh
God, don’t! Oh no...’ So I don’t necessarily
find that difficult if it’s not gratuitous.
I’ve made some mistakes in the past but I think that with
this film it’s relevant and that’s fine.
Q. And the emotional vulnerability?
A. That’s hard. It was hard and the film was hard
because the character is so complex and I wanted to do her justice
and not be cliché about nuttiness. You want to keep a certain
The break-up scene I think we shot a Thursday, Friday and then
had Saturday and Sunday off, and then again on a Monday and Tuesday,
so this thing dragged on and on.
For some reason, we did a lot of coverage, we wanted to get it
from a lot of angles. And I just remember feeling crap for that
I mean, it penetrates, it does, you are sitting there going over
and over this hideous break up with someone and yeah it definitely
gets under you skin, it’s hard and it did get a bit manic.
But I do think that the environment on that set was very conducive
to make it as real as possible. It did affect me, it’s tough
but it’s fun.
Q. Have you ever met anyone like Nikki?
A. No. Actually, maybe I have met a few people who have
shown signs of it but I would normally bolt if I saw too much
of Nikki in anyone.
Q. But she is obviously very seductive...
A. Yeah. A lot of men have said that they have met women
like her and I guess men would meet it more because women wouldn't
necessarily reveal that side or have to unless they are in a relationship
but I’ve seen when people get drunk and they get a bit,
Q.Charles, the director, was saying that he actually
knew someone like Nikki...
A. Oh yeah, Charles has met women like that, definitely.
It’s the kind of thing you can imagine that women aren’t
on the receiving end of it as much as men when they are in a relationship
with a woman like that. But it’s sad, too, because she is
trying so hard.
Q. Have you met guys like Alfie?
A. Oh God, I’ve met them but but I have not stayed
talking to them very long. I’ve got a good radar...
Q. Your fellow actresses were talking about this. The
attraction to the bad boy..
A. Treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen [laughs].
But it’s true, I think it’s this sick thing that some
women have, that they are kind of drawn to men who don’t
treat them very well.
I think it’s something you have more when you are younger.
I remember going out with some complete schmucks when I was a
teenager, but you kind of learn.
But there is something seductive and the character, Alfie, is
so charming, and does make you think like you are the most important
thing in the world, but he’s not that nice, is he?
Q. What kind of guys are you attracted too?
A. Oh God, that’s a difficult question. I’m
not particularly fussy. A nice guy that makes me laugh.
Q. Women always say that...
A. It’s true though, if you can sit there and piss
yourself laughing with someone, I’ll tell you what it’s
the best thing in the world. Get your joke books out boys...
Q. What do you think Alfie
A. I think for Nikki there is this guy who is very handsome
and they have an instant attraction. That’s the first thing.
And then there is some outrageous flirting. I just think he is
her match in a male form, she doesn’t mean to fall for him
like she does and reveal everything she does.
But then she genuinely believes it is going to work and that she
doesn’t need to take her medication because here is this
guy that will save her. I just think that she believes that they
are the same kind of person but then she can’t really cope
Q. The director said that he wanted your character to
be a kind of homage to Julie Christie in Darling, did he discuss
that with you?
A. No he never really told me that. But we wanted to
keep an element of the Sixties with my character and the styling
It was a big collaboration between the make-up and the wardrobe
and Charles and me and we all discussed what kind of things we
wanted and I kind of thought it would be great if she was this
And he did mention Julie Christie and we did cut my fringe (that
way), but I don’t think he wanted to scare me off, or put
me in a category that might limit me.
He has mentioned it since, but at the time he said ‘you
do what you are going to do...’
Q. Are you fashion-conscious?
A. I love clothes. Not particularly fashion-conscious.
I know what I like to wear and and I’m a girl and I enjoy
shopping. But I don’t like to look too ostentatious or too
glamorous, I’m a bit scruffy....
Q. There’s a lot of buzz around you right now.
How do you feel when you are described as the new ‘it’
A. I’m not very happy about it, to be honest. It
makes me uncomfortable because I don’t think it’s
as a result of having a film come out, I think it’s as a
result of being scrutinised because of the relationship I’m
If it was because of work, I think I’d feel more justified
and more comfortable with it, so I can’t wait for the film
to come out, if it’s received well, for that reason.
Q. When did you first become interested in acting?
A. I know it’s a cliché, but I can’t
remember honestly wanting to do anything else.
Q. What was your first taste of the stage?
A. Angel Gabriel, aged three (laughs) that’s true,
in the nativity play that was my first role.
I was brought up in a very creative environment. I always went
to the theatre and ballet with my Mum, so I knew I wanted to do
something creative; my sister is a designer and we were very much
drawn to artistic things, and it was embraced by our parents and
I think I wanted to do it because I could.
Q.When did you actually articulate that?
A. Apparently, aged 3! I did, I watched Some Like It
Hot and said ‘that’s it, that’s what I want
to do!’ I was quite outspoken as a child and I think I wanted
to be a ballerina and everything but acting was the thing that
seemed to stick.
Q. Did you go to drama school?
A. No I was far too lazy. I think at the time I was a
year younger, so when I left school I was actually 17 and it’s
normally 18 in England, so at that time I just couldn’t
commit to being in one place for three years.
At that time, I was so relieved to be out of school, which I loved,
but you know it’s your first taste of freedom and the outside
world and I didn’t want to say that I would be in London
studying for three years.
So I came to New York and I went to Lee Srasberg, the drama school
off Union Square, for six months and then did a play off Broadway
And that was great and I thought that because I was young enough
I could do a year of having an agent and see how it went, and
then if I wanted to go back to drama school I always could.
But I was very lucky actually and I’m quite glad, for me
I think it worked that I didn’t go (to drama school). I
think you are quite unconscious of any competition if you haven’t
been round drama schools and all of that. It’s a great experience
actually doing it..
Q. What’s it been like filming in Venice for Casanova?
A. It’s wonderful. They have a Venetian set in
Luxembourg, so we could have easily ended up there and thank Christ
It’s great, it’s really hard work but it’s wonderful.
It’s a corset and a wig, so it’s very hot and initially
we were struggling with having camera equipment on boats and with
no studio stuff and the light in Venice changes every day, it
looks like a completely different place.
But I’m thrilled we are there because I think there is an
authenticity you can’t recreate and there is something about
being in Venice. If ever you needed anything to help you get into
character, it’s being in a place like that..
Q. Is it funny going from Alfie to Casanova, you might
say they are similar characters?
A. It’s great though. I suppose the similarities
between those characters are there, but for my characters, they
couldn’t be more different. I have a big brown curly wig
and keep my corset firmly tight....(laughs)