Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. You seem to have made a habit out of taking roles
with corsets. How were the ones in Pride and Prejudice for you?
A: These corsets were fine. For me what was really important
was that you got a sense that these girls could really run around
in a field, walk for miles, do anything they wanted in their clothes.
The corsets in Pride & Prejudice only came down so far, whereas
the corsets for something like Pirates
of the Caribbean are right the way down, which means your
stomach is pulled in and you really can’t breathe.
With these it was like not wearing a corset at all. It was fantastic.
So a very easy corset experience for me.
Q. You have been quoted as saying that you do not want
to be typecast in costume dramas? Has that changed with this and
two Pirates of the Caribbean sequels on the way?
A: I think the thing is not to be typecast if you can
possibly manage it, and what excites me about acting is the idea
of changing as much as possible from character to character, and
piece to piece.
But you’re not going to read a script that has a fantastic
story, a fantastic character and a fantastic director and decide
not to do it because it was set 200 years ago. That would be a
You can only go with what interests you and Pride & Prejudice
has been a book that I’ve been obsessed with since I was
about seven, so the opportunity to play a part like Elizabeth
Bennet was one that I couldn’t miss out on.
Q. And in terms of costume dramas – they're very
A: Yeah, they are. Partly because we were looking for
a kind of freedom with these costumes, we wanted to be able to
really move, to really live in them and be able to run around
in these things.
The whole point of the period costume in Pirates is that you can’t
breathe, you can’t move and all the rest of it. So yeah,
they are very different experiences.
Q. Is Pirates a period film (question from director,
A: That’s the problem. Of course it’s a period
film. It’s not accurate to that period obviously, but it’s
hardly modern day.
Q. The interaction between
the Bennet family on screen seems natural, especially in terms
of your relationship with Donald Sutherland? How was working with
A: We adored him. He was amazing, completely amazing.
Partly because he did love having six women around him all the
We were really lucky, as Brenda said it was an amazing company
to work with and be amongst. Everybody got on, and I think you
can see that when you see the film.
Q. What do you think is relevant about characters and
stories like Pride and Prejudice for modern audiences?
A: I think reason that Pride & Prejudice, as a story,
has been so popular for so long is that fundamentally it doesn’t
matter when you set it. You can see that for Bridget Jones, or
Bride & Prejudice. For me, it’s about growing up, about
making mistakes, it’s about love and it’s about things
that are as relevant today as then.
And it’s one of the most beautiful romantic stories ever
told. I think it has completely universal appeal, and it doesn’t
matter when you set it or when you’re watching or read it.
You can’t not love it.
Q. Was Elizabeth a modern woman for her time?
A: I think so. The reason I was so terrified about taking
her on was that when I first got the part I had women coming over
to me saying ‘you’re not Elizabeth Bennet, I am’.
I think that’s why the character is so loved, because everybody
who loves the book is Elizabeth Bennet. Or she’s what you
aspire to be, she’s funny, she’s witty and intelligent.
She’s a fully rounded and very much loved character.
So it’s terrifying to actually take her on. But equally
because I’d been obsessed, I also believed that I was Elizabeth
Bennet so I was the right person for it.
Related stories: Read
Matthew Macfadyen interview
Brenda Blethyn interview
Joe Wright (director) interview
Pride and Prejudice
feature (Keira Knightley)
Special feature: The
challenge of casting and shooting
Watch clips from the film