Rosamund Pike : 'Why Don't People See Me as I Really Am?'

By Synnot, Siobhan | Scotland on Sunday (Edinburgh, Scotland), October 5, 2014 | Go to article overview

Rosamund Pike : 'Why Don't People See Me as I Really Am?'


Synnot, Siobhan, Scotland on Sunday (Edinburgh, Scotland)


ROSAMUND Pike is not the woman you think she is. Not the coolly efficient Bond Girl Miranda Frost, who we met in her first film Die Another Day in 2002. Nor the serene beauty who tantalises Johnny Depp in The Libertine, Paul Giamatti in Barney's Version, or Rowan Atkinson in Johnny English Reborn.Instead, Pike directs us to her appearance at the 2011 Bafta awards, when she presented the award for best screenplay in front of a malfunctioning autocue and tried to fill the gap by bantering with co-presenter Dominic Cooper about the nature of writing, before almost giving away the award without first running though the list of nominees."I screwed up so badly," she groans. "I think people assume that I'm very composed, but I just go to pieces in that sort of environment. Yet even though people have that evidence on screen, there's still this idea that 'she's so cool, she's reserved, nothing can fluster her', even when the evidence is there that contradicts this. It puzzles me that this bundle of adjectives has escorted me through my career in film. I think, 'Why don't people see me as I really am?'"You can watch that Bafta episode on YouTube if you want to see a more chaotic side to Pike, but I think it's her look that makes people type her as an intimidating beauty. She entered our hotel room purposefully, wearing a pristine black shift dress that skims the fact she's seven months pregnant. Her words are just as polished and precise, but the stories she likes to tell are peppered with klutzy moments, like the time she almost kebabbed Halle Berry during a fencing scene on Die Another Day, or her grand entrance to Los Angeles some years back, where she came to conquer movies and discovered a writers' strike had turned the city into a ghost town.She also has a nice, innocent story about auditioning for Die Another Day. For the second round of auditions, the producers asked her to wear an evening dress, so she turned up in an elaborate opera gown her grandmother had made for a stage appearance, with a bell-shaped skirt and a long train."They were very polite about it, but apparently Bond women tend to dress in something more slinky," she says, drily.At the age of 21, and just out of Oxford, the early Frost gave Pike a career spike, but Bond girls are the equivalent of Hogmanay programmes; everyone watches them, but few linger in the mind. She went on to play Hedda Gabler on stage, the most beautiful of the Bennet girls in 2005's Pride And Prejudice but also, like many other gifted actresses, did yeoman service playing under-written spouses to annoying British actors. This summer she waited patiently for Simon Pegg in Hector And The Search For Happiness, and is currently on screen in the BBC comedy drama What We Did On Our Holiday, trying to hide her faltering relationship to David Tennant from her in-laws.Gone Girl is also about a married couple with a rocky marriage, but David Fincher's sly thriller takes marital meltdown to alarming, darkly funny and sometimes moving places. Pike gives a star-making performance as Amy Dunne, married blissfully, then bitterly, to smug, shady Nick (Ben Affleck). When she disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary, her husband becomes the chief suspect, scrutinised by family, police and the media. To say much more than that would betray the film's satisfyingly serpentine twists but it's a gamechanger for Pike, making full use of her sometimes inscrutable, ethereal beauty, but also a gift for black comedy, only glimpsed in previous roles.Pike was in Scotland last summer filming What We Did On Our Holiday when word reached her that Fincher wanted a chat to her over Skype. To get a reliable internet connection outside Glasgow, she had to join a gym, where conversations evolved into acting exercises for Pike among treadmills and abductors. Yet after reading Gillian Flynn's best-selling book, she was sure Fincher's interest would eventually peter out. "There I was with Billy Connolly and David Tennant, doing something light, easy-going and maternal, while David was looking for someone to appear with Ben Affleck in something dark, corrupt and unknowable," she says. …

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