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ROSAMUND PIKE - RED CARPETS, BREASTS AND BABIES

0119 rosamundpike feature

ROSAMUND PIKE - RED CARPETS, BREASTS AND BABIES

By Jack Wellington

Actress Rosamund Pike helps to celebrate the life-work of war reporter Marie Colvin in A Private War, Matthew Heineman’s biopic of the Sunday Times journalist.

The disturbing film chronicles her tireless work around conflict zones in Chechnya, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and, notably, Sri Lanka, where she lost her left eye in 2001 after being hit by a grenade.

Colvin became known for her distinctive eye patch and kept working up until her death in 2012, when during reporting of the civil war in Syria she was killed in a random rocket attack. Pike is brilliant as she depicts Colvin’s fearless, rebellious spirit – a role long anticipated and finally one to live up to the Academy Award-nominated brilliance of Amy Dunne in David Fincher’s Gone Girl.

The serious subject matter at hand shouldn’t distract from the reality that Pike is uplifting, enthused and one of the sparkiest actresses in the game. After starring as Bond girl Miranda Frost at the tender age of 23 in Die Another Day, then one of the Bennet daughters in Pride & Prejudice two years later, the London-born actress took up smaller but no less exceptional film roles in the 2009 film An Education, then Made in Dagenham and Barney’s Version, both in 2010. Jack Reacher and Gone Girl have been the big earners since then, but you sense Pike is back for good, with Three Seconds and Radioactive to follow in 2019.

Now 39, Pike is a mother to two boys, Solo and Atom, with long-term partner Robie Uniacke – who himself has four other children from two marriages.

STRIPLV: You play the acclaimed, late war correspondent, Marie Colvin. How did it feel to play that role?
PIKE: The loss of Marie is very recent; she was killed in 2012. So, for her friends and family, it’s a very, very painful, recent loss and I knew that we had tread very delicately on that memory and win and earn the trust of the people who knew her because obviously, they were going to be our great resource. I couldn’t get inside her mind unless I was inside her body and she had a very strong character in her whole physicality, so I felt the need to shed my own physicality and take on hers. Now, if I do her voice my body changes – it’s very odd. It’s a funny feeling, and it goes part and parcel. I shrunk a centimeter-and-a-half to play Marie because I knew that she carried her shoulders in a completely different way. The weight of what she took on professionally, and I think being primed for that attack that could come at any point, meant she carried a huge amount on her shoulders. When I went for my medical for the film, I saw the doctor writing down my height, and it was wrong. I said: “That’s not how tall I am. Could you measure again?” So, we went back, and she said: “No, that’s what it is,” and I had shrunk a centimeter-and-a-half, so I thought that I’d have to get on a rack. But it’s odd that you can take on somebody who actually does change you semi-permanently, that was quite a weird feeling.
STRIPLV: What did you know about Marie Colvin before you took this role?
PIKE: I made a film with Amma Asante called A United Kingdom, and we were sat there in the editing suite. Anna had heard that a film was being made by Marie Colvin, and if someone says that, you’re intrigued. I realized that while I knew who Marie Colvin was, I—somewhat shamefully, hadn’t put a name to the face. Then, I started reading about her, and when you start doing that, it’s very hard to stop because she’s such an infectious person. I then saw footage of her talking and, my goodness, she was so inimitable and funny and impressive, and when she spoke about what she was passionate about her words were so powerful, and she commanded such attention and respect that you can’t turn away from. So here was this incredibly impressive individual who went to places that other people were fleeing from, but the fallout of all that integrity and all of that fierceness was this very, very complicated personal life, and the effects of witnessing someone’s trauma on your own brain. That paralyzes any sense of status quo that you might hope to find in your home life. And so, it started to really obsess me. Matt Heineman, the film’s director, really encouraged me to talk to as many people as I could so I contacted a number of her friends, and from that realized pretty quickly that she was capable of showing a different side to everybody who knew her. She had very specific relationship;, she compartmentalized people, and really, offered up multiple personalities, many different colors, and sides. So, talking to people as much as possible was absolutely vital. I think it’s about making sure that you get that fierceness when you’re in pursuit of a story, coupling that with an ability to explore the darkest places, particularly in your solitary moments. I thought if I could get those two colors in there then we’d be able to fill in all of the other stuff in between.
STRIPLV: While playing Marie did you feel that you ultimately came to understand why she did what she did?
PIKE: I do, and I felt that really this story is about one thing and one thing only— that somebody who put their life on the line for other people, you know, who had such a strong sense of purpose when she was in that environment and gave her life clarity and purpose. I think the flipside of it was that on home turf, her life lacked that same clarity and purpose. But I think she believed that if she went with people into their pain, then she would shed light to others on that pain. I think that she knew that her words would hit home, which they did. I think that it would be devastating for her to see that the conflict six years later is not resolved and so many other people have died.
STRIPLV: I have read that Matt was on the set in between takes and he would look up and you were constantly looking at your phone. He was wondering what you were doing, and it turns out that you were looking at videos of Marie all of the time. Your research seems to have been meticulous, and also, the casting director Jina Jay wanted to know how you were able to change the whole register of your voice because it matches how Marie spoke in videos.
PIKE: Well, your only cue is to have her in your ear the whole time. I didn’t have what Jamie Dornan had, which was Colvin’s photographer Paul Conroy being there and God, I wish I had been able to meet Marie, obviously. But I poured over the interviews that she did and watched them all again and again. It was like a touchstone, so if I was lost, I’d look to things of Marie and I whole a Dropbox full of files and I remember there’s a scene— it’s very odd—and it’s of Marie by the river talking to her editor and saying in quite an unhinged moment—and quite drunk actually—all of the people she’s seen who have died. I was quite anxious and nervous about doing this scene, and I went into my Dropbox and just opened something in a bit of a panic wondering and it was this moment, very clear, of Marie talking about the dead people who haunt her and it was so uncanny and it was almost a bit of a documentary that I missed and suddenly, there she was showing me how to play the scene.
STRIPLV: In the film, you can see the full cost of what’s happened to Marie, and you know what she’s been through.
PIKE: There is a gulf between her and the people on the ground, and often I think that you’re trying to pretend it isn’t there. I mean, she always joked that she didn’t want to be the one at the party and people looked around and said: “Oh God, here come the stories about Beirut again!” She wanted that people saw her as just one of them.
STRIPLV: The promotion of this film has been understandably sensitive, but does the marketing machine of this industry frustrate you?
PIKE: It’s just how this industry works. It feeds off of that hype and interest, which can potentially help prop up films like A United Kingdom, for instance. Look at it the other way, from a personal level, and I don’t think I could have done what I’ve done without Gone Girl, which sort of changed everything, as did the Oscar nomination. And undoubtedly, you enjoy a freedom because you have that stamp of approval and more roles come your way as a result. You have a wider pool to choose from, and that’s a priceless luxury as an actor. But that is all marketing. It’s reality. Marie’s memory and legacy are still so fresh and raw, and her loved ones have been very careful and protective of her and her memory, understandably. In my roles, I don’t pursue controversy for the sake of courting controversy, but I like where it can lead to. Namely, people thinking, having an opinion, seeing the situation from varying degrees, having my own opinion and instinctual reaction and sometimes changing that while on set or after. I chase the work. I seek out the question, usually to something I have no answer to and I seek out to learn that answer and tread carefully over very skewed lines.
STRIPLV: Journalism is completely under fire right now, and it seems like this is coming out at a really good time to remind people about the sacrifice and what she did.
PIKE: I think the story of a journalist who did not put herself at the center of the story, who did what she did because she believed that she could make people understand other people’s suffering.
And I think that people don’t appreciate the physical and mental costs of us getting stories from around the world and what the cost is for those who report on those stories. I think that the business of journalism has never been more threatened. It seems that truth is a dirty word and that everybody is trying to suppress it.
STRIPLV: Did you take a break after Gone Girl?
PIKE: Well if you call creating another human being “a break” then yes, I had a lengthy break. (Laughs) But you’re right. I did intentionally step away after Amy because I was creatively, physically, emotionally ravaged. I experienced a drought of energy and work stamina. We all worked so hard and toiled during eight months of production because it was so important to all involved but it came at cost whereby I couldn’t work on another film. I just couldn’t. I was exhausted. And there’s this expectation that you should indeed keep going, keep the momentum running, never let it lose steam. But I was spent. I needed to regroup. But there’s that anxiety there if you stop working, what disastrous effect will that have?
STRIPLV: What was the reaction like on the street after Gone Girl?
PIKE: Some stares, quite a few stares. (Laughs) I found people in the initial aftermath of the release, they stared and sort of scanned me with their eyes. Looking for Amy, to see if she was still somewhere inside and how I found her, where does she lie within?
STRIPLV: Is she in there still?
PIKE: She’s not someone I would recommend holding onto, but that’s not to say I didn’t find it a highly satisfying challenge playing her. She was one of my greatest challenges.
STRIPLV: What was the most enjoyable part of playing Amy?
PIKE: Wow, gosh, that’s hard. For fear of being vague, you know, it was everything about her and more. And getting to play every facet of being a woman. A woman in love, a woman in vengeance, a woman scorned and then equally deadly. I also enjoyed her originality as a character in a film of this scale— it’s rare to have a woman devoid of maternal nurture and moral compass, whose narcissism was her strength and then also her weakness.
STRIPLV: So your celebrity weight has grown since?
PIKE: No, I don’t actually think it has. I’ve managed to sidestep that with relative ease. Those aspects of my life don’t entice the spotlight, and my relationship doesn’t spark that interest. I don’t fit in that bracket.
STRIPLV: How do you view the conversation of women in the industry?
PIKE: You know, men and women exist in two very different worlds in the film industry. We co-exist figuratively, and yet we don’t occupy the same space. Men live in one where image and looks are not as valuable a currency, and women must trade and negotiate with it through all these red carpet dresses and outfits. And be valued and rated by it. I long to be someone who’s brave enough to rebel against that expectation but I haven’t mustered the courage.
STRIPLV: So a traditional style narrative has little interest?
PIKE: Well yes, I think perhaps the lateral story told does little to arouse my interest, I’m looking for the innovative, the creative, the bold. Lots of layers, please. Lots and lots of layers. Otherwise, it’s just boring really. Whether that works in my favor or not, I can’t really say.
STRIPLV: Where were you when you found out you had been nominated for Best Actress?
PIKE: I was in bed with my children who were crawling all over me. And as I learned the news, one was very stealthily rolling a toy car, a motorized toy car up my body, towards my temple, into my hair. And I’m trying to hear over the noise, and suddenly I’m aware of a tiny engine running, and I realize the car has become entirely entangled in my hair. So that’s what I was doing when I heard.
STRIPLV: Oh god, how did you get it out?
PIKE: I just chopped it out, I had to. (Laughs)
STRIPLV: Really, that’s pretty drastic.
PIKE: It’s motherhood, you adapt.
STRIPLV: What is your memory of that whole experience?
PIKE: I remember it being this hurricane of glamour and breast-pumps and blankets and gowns, I don’t know if I remotely processed what was happening around me. This wondrous juggling act between red carpets and breasts and babies, I was on the most splendid high, so high in fact, I don’t think my feet really touched the ground. I was so high from welcoming this fantastic little human into the world, getting to know him and his unique darling personality, while feeling elated and on cloud nine with the recognition and honor at all these award ceremonies, I’ve never felt more hyper and energized.
STRIPLV: So much was made of how stunning you looked on the red carpet having given birth so recently beforehand.
PIKE: Those moments on the red carpet looking entirely composed and serene and glamorous were preceded by this frantic throwing on of the dress, whipping off the breast pump, passing my child to whoever was nearest and walking out there, attempting to exude serene calm. And then stepping right back into the madness all over again. When I think of these writers, assessing and critiquing your red carpet look, looking at every minute detail, finding flaws or sartorial success, depending on the mood and not having a clue of what’s happening behind the scenes or what got you there in the first place that day and what you’re walking into as soon as you leave that said carpet. It’s extraordinary.
STRIPLV: It wasn’t ideal having to juggle so much.
PIKE: Had I not been so sort of mother laser-focused throughout that period, I believe I could have become too concentrated on my career and having my son at that time allowed me to return to myself in many ways, and step away from that bubble or at least remove my spirit, half remove it and be entrenched in something very human.
STRIPLV: Your life and career feel like this perfect balance.
PIKE: It’s not easy. It’s not. But it’s always an adventure. I feel like we’re a rousing troupe because we‘re always on the move around the world, we’ve all had the chance to see some remarkable destinations and I like to think it’s opening all our minds, not just theirs. But there will come a time soon when a sedentary lifestyle is more befitting for the family. They will need more stability, at the moment they’re still very adaptable but that will change, and they will be the priority. My son’s in school now, so it changes everything. And that will be a balance. No matter what you do in life, in work, in family, there’s always a terrific balance necessary to keep things moving.

CHRISTIAN BALE - VICE INTERVIEW

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CHRISTIAN BALE - VICE

By Skye Huntington

Christian Bale has had a long and productive career in Hollywood. With his childhood entry into the acting profession in Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun (1987), he subsequently distinguished himself in notable films such as American Psycho (2000), Laurel Canyon (2002), The Machinist (2004), The Prestige (2006) and The Fighter (2010), for which he won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor. He is perhaps best known for playing Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, and he appeared in American Hustle in 2013 for which he earned an Oscar nomination as Best Actor.

Recent efforts The Big Short, The Promise and Hostiles have all earned favorable reviews, although expectation levels have climbed again as he prepares to fill the boots of Dick Cheney in new political flick Vice. The film, which hit theaters in December, explores how a bureaucratic Washington insider quietly became the most powerful man in the world as vice president to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways still felt today.

Bale, a Welshman, lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 14 years, Sibi Blazic, their 13-year-old daughter, Emmeline, and Joseph, four.

STRIPLV: You are almost unrecognizable as Dick Cheney.
BALE: Thank you – that was the idea.
STRIPLV: What was the process of physically representing Mr Cheney?
BALE: Putting on a lot of weight (about 45 pounds), having my head shaved and eyebrows done every day, a lot of time in make-up and even attention to detail right down to my gait. It was full on but a brilliant transformation to be able to undertake.
STRIPLV: Did you have to research a lot of political ideas for the film?
BALE: Mostly it was the personality of the man; the script does the rest. It’s an interesting representation because there is humor in there, and there was the license to improvise in terms of what he would be saying and how he’d say it. I can’t reveal too much, but it’s a real character movie.
STRIPLV: You’ve always been quite practical when it comes to your career.
BALE: Practical how?
STRIPLV: Just that you’ve spoken about movies that haven’t done so well or that you weren’t too happy with. Has that attitude served you well do you think?
BALE: Yeah, maybe. But that’s any actor’s career. That’s anyone’s career. I mean, put my hands up, I made some bad choices. Some I thought had legs before I went in and others I thought, “fucking hell, I’m an actor, and I need a fucking job.” Now, I’m at a stage in my career, very gratefully where I can decide when and where and be very methodical in my thinking. But I still remember very vividly needing a job, needing a job to survive, needing a job, so my house isn’t repossessed, needing to pay the bills for my family. I remember hating the job, especially when I was young, I felt trapped in it, and that made me want to shut down. And that’s maintained a realism in my attitude, yes because I’m always aware that at any moment, I could be back there.
At the moment, I think in the moment, of being able to pick and choose and that’s the ultimate privilege in this job, a job that I love and have a passion for, which worked out well because there’s nothing else I know how to do. Wow! It won’t last, I know it won’t. So I’m enjoying my time now, I’m revelling in it.
STRIPLV: It probably will last, you were Batman, you’ve got an Oscar.
BALE: Don’t get me wrong, I am very very thankful for all that, I am, and I’m never going to say otherwise. It’s no guarantee of work [laughs]. I was this; I have that, you know, it’s ephemeral in the bigger picture. You ask other Oscar winners; they will say the same.
STRIPLV: Why did you feel trapped when you were younger?
BALE: Maybe trapped isn’t the right use of the word but there’s suitability there. I’m talking about when I was starting out, acting was a passion of mine, I enjoyed it, but then it turned into a responsibility where I could provide for my family and in cases, where I had to provide for them. It was an unfathomable amount of cash, but when I didn’t want to do it, I had to do it, you couldn’t turn that down. And that made me hate it; I felt like I couldn’t break away. You mentioned there about missing school because of acting, I presume. So that’s why I have this love/hate thing with acting. But that can be a healthy thing. If all you do is love film or love acting, you’re just going imitate what you love. It takes people to hate it at the same time to make any change to what they’re doing. I have a history of wanting to back out of films too. Acting has always struck me as a strange way for a grown man to earn his living. I got into acting as a kid, and it became something that I needed to do to support my family instead of something that I had a burning desire to do and even though I grew to appreciate it and it’s still a very important part of my life.
STRIPLV: Was that difficult to deal with at that age?
BALE: It was, and it wasn’t. I wasn’t particularly academic, so missing exams and all that didn’t feel like too big a sacrifice at the time. And I was going to get to travel around the world by myself, that was an advantage and a disadvantage. But then, it was suffocating to be famous at that age, to have strangers know my name. That should never happen to a 13-year-old. That should never happen to a teenager. Doing interviews at 13, that’s just so off to me. I felt like I was in a cage at a zoo being looked at.
STRIPLV: A lot of child actors fail at making the transition to adult roles, but you didn’t have that problem.
BALE: That was the beauty of the character in Empire of the Sun; he wasn’t the fictional, typical adolescent. There was a complicated, complexity that made him far more grown-up than he was; he had to be in that situation. So I was never put forward for the teenager parts and was, therefore, never seen that way. I started out almost like an adult.
STRIPLV: Do you wish you could have done a fourth Batman movie?

BALE: The discussion never happened. It was a great chapter in my life, but I was happy to move on.
STRIPLV: Because there was all this talk of you doing it?
BALE: And fucking shedloads of cash being placed in front of me. No that never happened.
STRIPLV: What do you miss about him?
BALE: I miss that euphoric feeling, each and every time I took off the cowl. It had this vice grip around my head and neck, and it was releasing this beast of happiness any time it came off.
STRIPLV: Did you keep the suit?
BALE: I kept the cowl, just to remind me of that. (Laughs)
STRIPLV: Apparently your wife Sibi has often called directors to tell them to keep after you and insist that you to play parts in their films after you’ve turned them down?
BALE: I’m very lucky that she’s been there to support me and help me overcome my doubts. I’m always convinced I won’t be able to do it. But thank God I did!
STRIPLV: Your career has had its ups and downs. Do you pay attention to reviews or box-office receipts?
BALE: I can’t control how many people are going to see a film or what the director makes of 20 takes and how he edits the material and what the final product will be. The kick I get from acting comes in doing it. And although I don’t really pay much attention to reviews, I like to hear from people directly what they think, and I never get offended if people don’t like my work.
Sometimes I’ll see a film and hate it and then two years down the road when I’m in a different mood I’ll love it. So much depends on the day you’re having sometimes when you see a film. It’s all opinion. But if people really have a reason for not liking a film I’ve done I’m interested in hearing it. I love getting a pat on the back, though! (Laughs)
STRIPLV: Do you know when a film is going to be good?
BALE: Never. It’s always a leap of faith when you sign up for a film!

EDDIE REDMAYNE - NEWT

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EDDIE REDMAYNE - NEWT

By Lincoln D. Conway

Eddie Redmayne stars in the latest Harry Potter-related franchise film, and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is the second of the Fantastic Beasts run and the 10th in the Wizarding World franchise.

This installment follows Eddie Redmayne’s character Newt Scamander and Dumbledore as they attempt to take down the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Filming took place in and around London, Switzerland and also Paris.

Redmayne is the first and, at the time of writing, only millennial male to win an acting Oscar— which he received for his portrayal of the legendary physicist Stephen Hawking. He also won substantial critical acclaim for his role in John Logan’s play Red at Donmar Warehouse in London in 2009, picking up an Olivier award for best actor in a supporting role. In addition, Redmayne was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to drama.  

In conversation, the 36-year-old is impossibly polite and wonderfully earnest. Though he finds fame and all the accompanying attention at times “weird and disconcerting,” sitting down with the immensely talented actor is an entirely pleasant experience. Brutally self-critical, what continues to worry Redmayne most is his admittedly “dodgy sense” and “lack of imagination.” The sequel again requires extensive work in front of a green screen where the actor would pretend to interact with all manner of computer-generated creatures that would only come to life much later in the visual effects department. Again, as he did with the first movie, he asked to see as many preliminary drawings and storyboards as possible in order to have a clearer mental picture of J.K. Rowling’s magical beasts, even going so far as to ask the lead animator to imitate their way of moving. This new Beasts film is again directed by Harry Potter helmer David Yates.

The 36-year-old lives in Bermondsey, south London, and is married to wife Hannah; they have two children.

STRIPLV: Is there anything as embarrassing for your character as the “mating dance” which happened in the first movie?
REDMAYNE: There was something when it was looking like it could head that way, but I think that it’s been plucked back. So, there are no huge animal cries or noises. There are some moves, but it’s not quite as humiliating. There may be a tracking move or two, and there’s always some sounds! There is a Chinese creature that you see in the trailer, called “The Zo.” So, I was trying to attempt to speak some Mandarin to The Zo, but I think it has been cut because my attempt at speaking Mandarin was so appalling, even though we had this wonderful woman working behind the camera and she was helping me train. We’d literally say one word, but that has been cut!
STRIPLV: If you could play a different role in the film, who would it be?
REDMAYNE: Well, I think “Queenie” is the hardest part. When you’re working with Ally, and you realize that she’s doing about seven different things at the same time, that’s amazing. Try to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time. Even if you do that, you’re not even close.
STRIPLV: I believe that you were one of the unfortunate ones who didn’t get to go to Hogwarts to films scenes.
REDMAYNE: Yeah, I was. The rest of us just went and looked, and maybe took an illegal selfie. Maybe. The younger version of Newt Scamander, played by the lovely Joshua Shea, got to go, but I didn’t. So, I may have stolen into the set just to make sure that I got to have a look around just to linger. However, there was this one scene in the film that David Yates wanted to shoot at “magic hour,” which is this amazing 12-minute moment that happens when the sun is setting. We were shooting it in Watford, just outside London where there’s not much sun, generally. So, basically what would happen is that we would shoot these long days on different scenes and then, suddenly, for these 11 minutes we would all schlep across to try to change costumes for this one scene, to try to get this tiny window. And we did that for maybe a month and, err, it’s been cut.  
STRIPLV: I’ve been told that the audience can expect something a bit different from this new film.
REDMAYNE: Well, what is interesting is that the first film introduced you to these new characters and I always thought that there was a sort of “caper” quality to it. Now, what Jo (J.K. Rowling) is doing is making the connective tissue between who those people are and the world that we’re familiar with – it all really begins to tie in. There’s an intricacy and a darkness in the storytelling, which is fun. I found it amazing, so, touch wood the audience will… and I am also looking forward to seeing it. It’s amazing that when you make the films in a vacuum, and you’re just working so hard on telling that story when you get to go to the premiere, you forget how treasured the characters are and also how treasured Jo’s imagination is.
STRIPLV: How do you assess Newt’s time at Hogwarts?
REDMAYNE: He’s an outsider lured to a place that holds such mystery. In many ways, it was the place that always kept him there, not the people, although he has bonded with Dumbledore, obviously. The glimpses that you get of Newt in Hogwarts in this film are that he is certainly the outsider and he still has a passion for his creatures. You’d want to go there, wouldn’t you? Beautiful countryside, Escher staircases, talking portraits and you don’t have to do physics. Through all of this, Newt remains a very capable wizard whose great passion in life is animals. He feels more comfortable in their world than he does with human relationships. He doesn’t connect with people very easily, and he’s not sure why people don’t seem to understand him. But it doesn’t bother him that much because he’s also someone who is very comfortable in his own skin and is quite happy to spend his time with all these incredible animals. He enjoys his solitude.
STRIPLV: We’ve seen you take on some very interesting roles recently that required very specific research into real-life people such as Stephen Hawking and Lili Elbe (The Danish Girl). Remind us how you approached playing Newt?
REDMAYNE: What I love most about Newt is that he is an incredibly passionate guy, and I am the kind of guy who, if I’m focused on something, I am focused on that thing. I also had the opportunity of discussing the character with J.K. Rowling, and she took me through his life and everything about his background that she had worked out in precise detail. Even though I might not have been able to research the character the way I did with Stephen, from right at the start I had a very deep impression of Newt and his world felt very real to me.
STRIPLV: It must be an added task to develop a relationship with creatures that you need to continually keep imagining, though?
REDMAYNE: That’s why I asked David to give me all the artwork and all the designs that the visual effects department had been preparing. I worked a lot with the animators to have a very specific idea about each of the creatures. As an actor, I needed to understand all of that in order to make Newt’s relationships with those animals appear very natural and real.  
STRIPLV: Newt is a wizard. Apparently, you were an amateur magician while you were growing up?
REDMAYNE: I was weirdly into magic as a child and I spent a lot of time working on several tricks that I would perform for my little brother, who was the perfect audience. I remember when I was nine or so my mother would take me to this wonderful little magic shop in central London called Davenports, which was a proper magicians’ shop next to Charing Cross tube station. You could buy anything there - even a box where you saw someone in half! I would buy all my magic props there, and it was like being in a Harry Potter world where I felt like I was a real wizard.  
STRIPLV: You’ve been the subject of immense attention and recognition in the past few years. How do you keep your head screwed on straight?
REDMAYNE: (Laughs) I try to keep everything in perspective. I’m aware that actors often see their value go up and down. I was very lucky to play Stephen Hawking after several other actors had turned the part down and I’m not taking anything for granted.
STRIPLV: How would you describe some of the chaos and constant traveling that comes with demands of the film business?
REDMAYNE: I once made a movie called My Week with Marilyn, in which I play an assistant on a film set. There’s this moment when Kenneth Branagh (playing Lawrence Olivier) turns to my character and says, “Are you glad to have joined the circus?”. Actors are constantly living this nomadic, circus-like existence and you have to adapt to it.
STRIPLV: Now that you’re a fully-fledged wizard, is there any magical power you would most like to have when it comes to parenting?
REDMAYNE: I would like the “sleep through the nighters” spell to be able to sleep through the night. Also the power to get my wife to be on time. I’ve tried everything to stop her from being late including changing the time on clocks in the house, but she’s too canny! She’ll ask me, “why have you changed the clocks?”.

DAKOTA JOHNSON - QUIET CALM

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DAKOTA JOHNSON - QUIET CALM

By, Skye Huntington

Initial supporting roles in the likes of The Social Network, The Five Year Engagement and Need for Speed saw her cut her teeth pre-Anastasia Fifty Shades, but these days Dakota Johnson has moved on to new territory. With that heady combo of nudity and S&M successfully launching her into the stratosphere, now everybody wants a piece.
In 2015 she rounded out an ensemble cast that included Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Depp in the gangster epic Black Mass and she followed that up by holding her own against titans Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton in the psychological drama, A Bigger Splash.

After her first romcom How to be Single, Fifty Shades again made headlines with the Darker and Freed sequels dominating much of her time up until last year.

But now she returns to a fully-clothed project with Suspiria. In the fantasy/horror remake, directed by Luca Gudagnino, darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company; one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare; others will finally wake up.

Away from the big screen, Dakota has been happily dating Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin. She recently admitted to being “very happy” with her love life, with the couple frequently jetting off to the English singer’s Malibu hideaway.
In this interview, she speaks about family, relationships, social media and why she feels freer to be able to explore more artistic film choices.

STRIPLV: Suspiria seems as though it was a huge artistic undertaking for you?
JOHNSON: That line, “When you dance the dance of another you make yourself in the image of its creator.” is really very pertinent, and I felt that in everything leading up to this, the huge amount of research I had to do to make sure I was not only fully equipped for the role but fully respectful of the great dancers and choreographers who had gone before. Suzy is a dancer who has never been formally trained, so that was a challenge to try to represent that in a way. So we had to come at it from a way that would infer and form the way she dances. She comes from it from left field and isn’t conventional, so the complicated influences of the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Carpenters, Nina Simone are all there, all clashing together, and they play themselves out through their movement.
STRIPLV: Was it a punishing schedule, physically?
JOHNSON: Yes, I had to dance every day for five weeks, and six months leading up to that was regular classes and a lot of research. But the last few weeks were very tough— they really required a lot of patience, both from myself but in those who taught and trained me for that amount of time. It was really intense, and a huge undertaking for me, but to go through that and to really immerse myself in that life and that choreography for so long was such a special thing. It was a real privilege to really take myself into this world.
STRIPLV: You speak in the sense that this was a real education.
JOHNSON: It was— it’s probably the most satisfying thing I have done, for the subject and the story in one sense, but then also for what I had to invest in it to be able to pull off this character. And it carried on throughout the film— it wasn’t just a case of doing the right preparation; I really had to fight to keep learning all the way through, and I guess at the end of filming I was the best I was ever going to be at these incredible forms of expression. It’s a project where you finish it even though, ultimately, wish you could carry it on and take it on a new level.
STRIPLV: You sound entirely moved by the whole thing.
JOHNSON: I was, and I still am. Ultimately now I want others to be moved by it, and if they are then all the effort, everything is absolutely worthwhile. I have said in other interviews that this feels like a real passion project for me, so of course, I value it highly.
STRIPLV: Do you think the very art/horror nature of this film will put people off?
JOHNSON: Well it depends what audience you’re talking about. There are dark, sinister elements and it’s a very complex, slightly disturbing take on relationships and feelings. Of course, it is very arty, and I think that’s important, and yes it won’t appeal to the broadest spread of filmgoers, but at the same time, it’s not supposed to.
STRIPLV: The original 1977 film certainly had a feel of that era, and much of that has been created here.
JOHNSON: Yes, it has, but I think Luca’s ability to shift the whole idea of the film is a masterstroke. There is a very different emotional narrative and what you are looking at here is a much more focused and intensive angle. It’s not as wide in terms of approach, and that extra intensity really comes across.
STRIPLV: Can you feel your film choices evolving?
JOHNSON: Definitely. This is an example of being at a point in my career where I am freer to express myself; perhaps I can take more chances than I did before, and certainly, I can choose projects that I feel I have a real vested interest in and speak to me. That’s very exciting.
STRIPLV: Have you always wanted to follow in your parents’ footsteps?
JOHNSON: It was what I always dreamed of; it’s what makes me happiest. My grandmother, (Tippi Hedren) I have always counted as one of my biggest inspirations; someone whose words in my head can guide me through almost every insecurity or doubt. She has only ever said very simple but very sensible things to me— trust myself and believe in the goodness of others. That still sounds good. She’s also been someone who has pushed the idea of being happy and content in myself— in fact, my whole family has. And to be liberated to enjoy and cherish that time before getting married and having kids because it’s a really special window.
STRIPLV: On that note, do you feel there’s a pressure on people and, in turn, on yourself, to couple up, settle down? Does society look down its nose at single people?
JOHNSON: There is an expectation— maybe on women more than men because of the whole biological clock ticking et cetera, but it’s nothing new; it’s always been there. Getting married and having babies— there’s a certain measure against a woman to do this, and if she doesn’t do it, it goes against what society expects. Relationships, for me, take the same sort of form as a career when it comes to the decisions I made, and that is to say, “Whatever’s in your heart. That’s the only way to go.”
STRIPLV: That’s lovely. Is it entirely realistic?
JOHNSON: Well it’s a very holistic and natural way of looking at things, and perhaps in these days we are too influenced by convention or expectation. What’s the alternative? Is it that side of me that goes, “I love you! I love you, I love you” and leave it at that. But then it would go, “Why haven’t you written back? I love you. Are you coming over?” And then I’d get really intense. “When will we get married? Hello? Are you there?” And then go a little more intense with, “This is too much for me, I can’t handle this anymore.” And then the middle finger emoji. The final text. The middle finger. (Laughs)
STRIPLV: Is that your go-to emoji?
JOHNSON: Thank god they added that one. (Laughs) And that would be it for me, all within five minutes. Less. The way we meet people these days is still very strange. I don’t like it; it freaks me out. I don’t know. I think it’s creepy, uncomfortable. I’m not the kind of girl; I don’t have Twitter or Facebook or anything like that. I am on Instagram, but I do very little on it. I rarely check it out. I take things from quite a traditional, romantic steer. I believe men should be gentlemen. And pay for things. Of course, one day I would like to settle down and have a family. I don’t necessarily believe that two people can stay together for their entire lives. If that happens, it’s magic, but a marriage can also be beautiful even if it doesn’t last forever— people change over time, and sometimes that means you wind up taking different paths. You can love more than one person during your lifetime. The important thing is to be honest.
STRIPLV: Are you comfortable with the idea now of being a movie star?
JOHNSON: More than I was, definitely. I’ve been working so much, so it’s been really busy, but I’m am so grateful for the opportunities that have come my way. I get to travel the world a lot more which I love and be in some amazing places with some really inspiring people. That to me is so wonderful, and I still don’t really have the time to dwell on what’s been happening.
STRIPLV: You’ve now worked with some of Hollywood’s greatest actors. Do you still have ”pinch me!” moments?
JOHNSON: Oh wow— Johnny Depp, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Rebel Wilson, Leslie Mann, this list goes on, and you find yourself a bit, “What is going on? How did I get here?,” but it’s great.
STRIPLV: Do you feel pressure?
JOHNSON: No, I never really feel that pressure. Was there pressure? (Laughs) Yeah, it’s fine.
STRIPLV: Has fame changed how you live your life?
JOHNSON: Not really no. I pretty much do the same things. But I stay home a lot, and sometimes I get really paranoid about people taking my picture, but gradually that’s changing.
STRIPLV: You’re now very settled in New York City. How are you enjoying the city life?
JOHNSON: I love it. I like that it’s taken me a long time to feel like I live there and I belong there. I feel like I’ve earned that. But I’m happy in the countryside too. I grew up in Colorado in the mountains.
STRIPLV: Do you prefer the city or the countryside?
JOHNSON: I spent my summers growing up in our home in Aspen. I have so many good memories of that time in my life and especially all the wonderful Christmases where the entire family would come together.
STRIPLV: What fascinated you most about the film business growing up?
JOHNSON: The whole thing really— it’s the world I grew up in. I always loved being on a film set as a child, and I knew that acting was what I wanted to do with my life. There was never a moment where I actually decided to become an actress; it was just something I felt deep down. For me, it was like a playground where my imagination could run wild. When my dad (Don Johnson) was working on “Nash Bridges,” I used to spend a lot of time on the set in San Francisco, and I loved it so much. A film set is like home to me. It’s the place where I belong and where I feel most comfortable.
STRIPLV: Do you still turn to your parents for advice?
JOHNSON: I’m my own person now. What I had was a beginning. If you decide to follow in your parents’ footsteps, you naturally feel very anxious about establishing your own identity in the business. Even now, I’m always trying to find good roles where I’m going to be judged on my acting alone and nothing else. My parents have always been very supportive of me but the fact that I’m someone who likes to take things one day has helped me be calm about decisions and things that happen. My parents always taught me to take a careful distance from everything that gets written about you and never let the hype play games with your head. I try to stay very calm. I also grew up knowing what actors go through because of stories that would get written and the paparazzi. I remember going out with my parents to restaurants, and sometimes I would get upset when people would constantly come to our table to shake hands or ask for autographs; although to be fair, I was a lot more upset than they were about it!

JENNIFER GARNER

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JENNIFER GARNER

By Skye Huntington

Jennifer Garner is a Hollywood A-lister with multiple film credits to her name. She shot to stardom on her successful turn as Sidney Bristow in the hugely successful television series “Alias” written by J.J. Abrams, who wrote the show with Garner in mind. After that, she caught the eyes of Spielberg who cast her in Catch Me if You Can. Then she took one of her more memorable roles in the iconic rom-com 13 Going on 30. Now this Charleston Virginia native is a household name. She’s also returned to her roots by buying her family’s farm near Locust Grove, Oklahoma. She’s cultivating the land to use for her new line of organic baby food Once Upon a Farm.

She’s returning to the action genre again in her starring role in the movie Peppermint. We got the chance to talk with this powerhouse actress about what attracted her to the role, and how she trained to become the badass she is in this project.

STRIPLV: What appealed to you about this project?

GARNER:   I was super excited the first time I read the script for Peppermint. Because it’s an original story, it’s not based on anything, and that just doesn’t happen anymore. It’s with a strong woman in the middle. I’ve felt for a long time I’ve done action before obviously, but I haven’t done it in so long. I kind of feel like it is a missed opportunity because what would you fight for more than your own family? And I’ve never gotten a chance to play a character with that visceral need to defend or protect or take care of someone in your own family.

STRIPLV: Tell us about the movie.

GARNER: Riley’s husband Christopher is a mechanic, and he is working his tail off. But he so desperately wants to give his family what they don’t have which is financial security. Because it’s right around Christmas, it’s their daughter’s birthday, he flirts with the idea of taking a job that would put him with some unsavory characters, and he would be breaking the law. He ultimately decides not to do it but by the time he’s made that decision the unsavory characters on the other end of the transaction have found out about his possibly doing something against them and then they kill him and his daughter Carly on her birthday night. So, my character Riley watches this happen in front of her. She sees the people who kill her family she loses her mind of course. She is herself injured when she comes to; she immediately wants to make sure that those people are brought to justice and are put in jail.

STRIPLV: Riley goes through a drastic transformation in this film. Can you tell us a little about it?

GARNER: She goes into hiding, she shuts down her heart and she spends the next five years becoming a machine with MMA skills, gun skill, knife skills, the ability to stitch herself back together, the ability to set her own bones, the ability to not feel pain emotionally or physically, to get out there and fight for her daughter. On the fifth anniversary of her daughter’s passing which is also her birthday, she just shows up in LA and is ready to do whatever it is that she needs to do avenging the death of her daughter and her husband.

STRIPLV: Were you looking forward to working with the director Pierre Morel?

GARNER: I was super excited when I first read it. I had a great first meeting with Pierre. I had loved his movie Taken. Because I feel like he had infused all of the action and all of the scenes with a sense of drama and realism.

STRIPLV: So what was it like to work with him?

GARNER: Pierre knows exactly what he wants he is very clear and he has a real eye for action, and for the camera. He and I are always on the same page about the realism. Which I love.

STRIPLV: What was it like returning to the genre of action again?

GARNER: I had not shot a fight since The Kingdom, and my first daughter was starting to crawl on that movie. She’s 12 now so that was 11 plus and that’s a long time to hang up your action chops and try to pull it all back together. But I knew that I could do it. I know how to train. I know the discipline you need. And I knew exactly what I needed to do in order to make it happen.

STRIPLV: Tell us what your training was like.

GARNER: I had never trained in boxing. There was a boxing trainer. I saw him every day for a different hour, and I would box with him. And on the weekends, I would do a few hours with the stunt team. They would come over and take me through the paces. That was boxing, kicking, punching, and then slowly a little choreography was incorporated. And on the side, I was also spending time with the Navy Seals at the gun range. I had worked with them before for different films. So, I had a base understanding of how to use a weapon, how to change a mag. But still, for the fluidity of it, it had been a long time. I just needed to get back out there and do a lot of work.

STRIPLV: How did you identify with your character?

GARNER: I think an empowered woman, someone who takes things in their own hands and fights for what she needs to do. In the end, she leaves quite a bit of carnage. It’s not something I would ever want to emulate, but what’s behind it the fact that she is like I don’t need any of you. I’ve got it. I’m taking care of this. I’m a mom. I’m going to do what I need to do. That was what I was really inspired by. And I feel very much the importance of us doing a good job, me doing a good job and of us selling the hell out of this movie so that people come and see it so that we can continue to stories like this.

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