Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q: I read on the Internet that you gained weight to play
Clara by eating doughnuts – true?
A: That’s one of the few things on the Internet
that’s true. I did. I ate a lot of doughnuts! I was thrilled
at the idea at first. No exercise and I could eat anything I wanted.
My favourite food group happened to be doughnuts, so I just let
myself have a good old time. I enjoyed it. Getting it off was
tricky because I had two days off before I did P.S. They were
very concerned abut the weight I gained. They wanted me to lose
it, and I was like, ‘I’m not going to be able to.
22lbs is not going to come off in 48 hours!’
So what happened was that I gained the weight for the early sections
– as it was important to Bill that her body was seen as
not a contemporary one. Then when the fat suit started to go on,
I was able to lose the weight.
Q: Did you also wear something to change your skin?
A: She ages, so there were a lot of prosthetics. And
it was painted. They did a beautiful job. There were three different
wigs and fake eyebrows. That’s what was most impressive
to me – those eyebrows. No-one could tell! The eyebrows,
the brown contact lenses, the prosthetics. It was a lot of fun.
Q: Are you glad it wasn’t as extreme as say Charlize
Theron’s effort in Monster?
A: Yeah, you don’t want it to distract. It’s
also difficult when you’re playing someone whose ageing
but isn’t that old. Early fifties isn’t that old.
She’s a woman in her early fifties who didn’t dye
her hair, didn’t wear make-up…she’s just an
athletic, mid-western, solid feet-on-the-ground type of gal.
Q: What did you know about Kinsey before you started?
A: I knew the Kinsey report existed. I’d heard
of it and I’d heard of Alfred Kinsey, and I knew that when
it came out, things changed. But I knew nothing of the politics
or the evolution of that research or anything about them personally.
Q: How do you think the report changed America?
A: It changed our culture completely. Yes, America has
a Puritanical background. It’s part of the national character,
in a way. Whether you like it or not, it’s part of our history.
When he published that information, he changed our culture completely.
But what was so interesting to me about making the movie was taking
a look at America’s history with its relationship to sex
and sexual behaviour, to see the history of that. Pre-Kinsey,
post-Kinsey, now – and the schizophrenic relationship America
has with sex.
Q: Why does it have this?
A: It just does. Sexuality has been laid claim to by
morality in a way. But at the same time, it is used shamelessly
to make money – an enormous amount of money! So it’s
a very schizophrenic relationship this country has to sex.
Q: If Kinsey hadn’t existed, what would’ve
happened, do you think?
A: I think it would’ve happened. If it hadn’t
been Kinsey, it would’ve been someone else. Probably. It
would’ve happened much later – but who knows? You
Q: The film takes a very clinical view of sex…
A: I think that’s what they were doing. It’s
a look at what this man did, how he did it and what happened.
It’s not a sexy movie, if that’s what you mean. Nor
should it be.
Q: You’ve worked with Liam before. Did you actually
share scenes on Love Actually?
A: No, but we saw each other occasionally on the set
of Love Actually, which was fun.
We had done The Crucible together on stage in New York. We always
joke that it’s the Proctors reincarnated as the Kinseys!
To have that close relationship with someone on stage for a good
solid amount of time, and then be able to make a movie with the
soon after that, it’s Heaven. There was trust, humour and
good will…and we work really, really well together. We don’t
even discuss a lot. It just works. I can’t imagine it with
Q: What does Liam bring to
A: Well… his talent! That’s not a facetious
answer, either. Liam’s a real actor. He behaves, acts and
conducts himself like a real actor. He does an enormous amount
of work, and his priorities are in the right place. He’s
one hundred per cent committed and he’s as fascinated with
the complexities of the human condition as I am, as Bill is. He’s
just a great person to work with.
Q: You often work with real actors anyway – is
this by luck or choice?
A: Probably both. I don’t know. I don’t mean
to sound like a snob when I say a ‘real actor’. You
hope to do as many things as you possibly can, in as many different
circumstances with as many different people. I’ve worked
with some people who’ve had very little experience and are
amazing. And I learned an amazing amount from them. So I don’t
mean to sound like a snob.
But this part required someone who could sculpt something and
really put something together. Not many people could pull off
what he did in this.
Q: What did you think of Kinsey as a man?
A: He could be extremely difficult. He’s awkward,
obsessed and his mind worked in a very particular way.
Q: Did you meet any of the Kinsey family?
A: We met Kinsey’s granddaughter. She came to the
set and also to Toronto, when the film screened there. The children
themselves kept a respectful distance, which is prefectly understandable.
I’m sure it’s never easy – but it’s my
understanding that they have seen the film and like it very much.
Q: In your other new film, P.S., you play a very sexually
liberated woman. It’s as if she’s read the Kinsey
A: True – but the thing about the report is that
it’s really boring! It is not fun to read. It’s a
scientific tome. It’s full of graphs. There’s nothing
sensual about it. It’s dry, dry, dry…
Q: Can you talk about your P.S. character?
A: She’s a contemporary woman, living in Manhattan
at the age of 39. She’s lived a bit. She’s so complex.
It was fantastic. To look at a woman who has really hit a moment
of life panic, and doesn’t understand what’s happened
to her life and why it’s gotten to the place that it has.
Shattered expectations…she’s paralysed by that.
Q: You’ve worked with Clint Eastwood twice. A big
A: I’m a Clint groupie… I love him, love
him, love him. I loved making Mystic
River. I loved working with Sean. He’s divine. I just
loved it. I was making Love, Actually at the same time, so I was
flying between London and Boston the whole time. Fun, fun, fun!
Q: You once said your motto was ‘do not expect
anything’. Do you still follow this?
A: I try to. I still try and keep my feet on the ground.
With all the travel, it’s hard to feel centred. I don’t
really live anywhere at the moment; that’s part of the problem.
I’m travelling so much, that I don’t have a place
in Manhattan, which is very strange for me, because I’ve
lived there my whole life. It’s very odd not to have a place
there. It was a rental and it was a time for me to go.
When I’m not filming, I’m promoting stuff. It’s
been a very hectic three or four years. It’s very hard to
say ‘no’ when Clint Eastwood wants you to do a movie,
or you can work with Liam Neeson.
Q: Are you exhausted?
A: I don’t feel drained but I need to have the
time to enjoy it and not just work at it all the time –
but actually have the time to also enjoy it. To be able to go
out with friends and do normal things…
Q: So how do you relax?
A: It sounds terrible but there hasn’t been a whole
lot of relaxing. Honest to God. I don’t remember how I did
it. I’m going to have to learn how.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: The Exorcism of Emily Rose. I don’t know what
it’s going to be. It’s a courtroom drama. It’s
about an exorcism, so it does flashback to that.