In her latest performance for the big screen, Rosamund Pike, an Oscar nominated for Gone Girl (2014) plays the role of a lioness, as she calls herself. An interpretation that reminds us of the film debut of the London actress, 42, in the role of the ruthless press secretary who faces James Bond in Death can wait (2002), but which is still a far cry from the many other roles in which we have admired her so far: the sweet Jane Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (2005), a socialite with no art or part in An Education (2009), the heroic reporter Marie Colvin in A Private War (2018) and a frustrated wife who goes to therapy on the TV series The state of the union (2019), which earned her an Emmy.
And now it’s Marla Grayson in J Blakeson’s dark comedy I Care A Lot, a court-appointed guardian, deeply sadistic and always very elegant, who became rich by defrauding her assisted elderly. With the complicity of her mistress Fran (Eiza González), Marla already has a respectable résumé when she sets her sights on Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), a pensioner with a lot of money, no living relatives and a bit of a medical record ‘anomalous. But when they move her to a retirement home, one of the old woman’s powerful friends (Peter Dinklage) devises a plan to free the woman and eliminate Marla.
Fresh from Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress in a Movie, Comedy or Music, and while waiting for the movie to come out on February 19, we spoke to Pike from impeccable stage clothes, the spinning lessons (which helped her get into character) and the fact that she never cares about being second choice.
Congratulations on the Golden Globe nomination. I have seen that you missed the official announcement, because you spent six hours in a recording studio. How did you feel when you got the news?
“Wonderfully! What an irony, I have often missed important announcements concerning my professional life. I won an Emmy while I was on a plane, and I was away, without my cell phone, when I was offered the James Bond movie. A bit of a recurring theme (laughs). I was so immersed in the work I was doing at the time that I didn’t consider it in the least. I was completely taken aback, and it was very emotional ”.
When you first met the director of I Care A Lot, J Blakeson, and what did you think of his idea?
“J got the idea after reading an article about elder exploitation, and thought,“ We should make a movie, but if I’m telling the story from the victim’s point of view it could be really terrifying. What if I told it instead from the point of view of the culprit? . I read the script and said to him, ‘It’s the most electrifying female role I’ve read in years.’ ‘And he says to me:’ I’ve always liked how you work. Let’s talk about it at dinner. ‘ Five or six months later they offered me the part. It makes you think I probably wasn’t his first choice (laughs), but I was never afraid to be second, or third. In this job, you can’t be proud of things like this. You have to seize opportunities ”.
What fascinated you about Marla Grayson’s character?
“I didn’t understand her, I didn’t understand what drove her to do certain things, and that’s what I found most compelling. My analysis of the character was this, digging until his appetites became mine: his brazen hunger for wealth, for power, and all the things that don’t interest me at all. Marla thinks: ‘I was screwed in the past, and now I play dirty.’ But the system is made to play dirty, that’s the problem. J wrote a satirical comedy about the American dream and the welfare, legal and health systems ”.
Marla is defined by her appearance: the bob hair, the very elegant suits, the heels. How was her look born?
“I wanted the bob to have a very clear line. The hairstylist I worked with also created Amy’s bob (in Gone Girl, of 2014, Ed.). Then, as soon as I put on the blue green suit she’s wearing in the scene with the lawyer, I knew we had found her. J said, ‘I want to see these suits in all colors and all cuts.’ She wears a yellow one when you see her approaching her prey, Jennifer, she looks like a lioness, and then J wanted another yellow suit in the second half of the film, when it’s Marla who becomes the prey. Her look is part of her tricks. We wanted to take some time to think about it, but if you make a low-budget film you don’t have that much time. But we changed her manicure, on the run, because I knew Marla would. They said to me, ‘But is it really necessary?’ and I said, ‘This thing will pay off in the end.’ “
I read that to prepare for the film you listened to TED Talks of Elizabeth Holmes (the CEO of a health services company who was convicted of fraud in June 2018). It’s true?
“Yes, it’s true. I was thinking about how to get people to be on your side, about the art of selling, selling something that is totally devoid of morals, but that people would buy anyway. I didn’t base Marla on Elizabeth, but I was looking for less obvious things, like body language, eyelid movements. There’s her honest side too, and Marla playing with that idea there is very interesting. In court, her arguments are flawless, and she is very balanced. It says, ‘You can’t take care of a person by doing what they want. You have to do what it needs, and I know how to take care of it better than a family member ”. And you think: ‘I know what you mean ”.
I Care A Lot (2021)
Up Instagram you talked about how you trained for the role. It has been difficult?
“For the film I had to be physically strong because there is an underwater scene that would have tested my stamina. I spent two days in a swimming pool. The other thing was the spinning sessions. Marla goes for one, she’s in one of the first scenes and I’ve never done spinning in my life. You’re on the bike in a crouched position, but keep your shoulders up, it’s a predator position. It gave me a different physicality ”.
Another key element of Marla’s character is the relationship with her accomplice and lover, played by Eiza González. Was it important to you that their relationship was presented in such a realistic way?
“It’s not a real twist in the narrative, there’s nothing happening to the characters as a direct consequence of it, and that’s how we should see a relationship, I think. In the same way that we can see one of the main characters with children and husband in the background, and think that that is her family life, here, this is Marla’s family life, and she is therefore treated with the same nonchalance. For Fran we also had the background, she had been a surety for bail in the past, and therefore she was familiar with cops. Plus, Eiza is a real ray of sunshine, so fun, and fun is working with her. He looks different in the film than in the other films, he’s very sexy ”.
What is it like to present the film at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and receive such rave reviews without being able to attend in person?
“I didn’t see the film with the audience. J and I have promised ourselves that one day we will rent a cinema room and invite our friends to watch it all together. I would have been delighted to introduce Marla to the world, but we had some very positive reviews, and I think people needed something a little nasty, and a chance to escape into a world that wasn’t honest or serious. They can have a laugh looking at something terrible, instead of commiserating with each other for the terrible things we all saw last year ”.
Soon we will see you in the fantasy series The Wheel of Time. What can you tell us?
“I can’t wait for the public to see this world, a world where women have the power and create a new status quo. A world in which there is a lot of inclusion, and a series that, I hope, many will appreciate ”.
You went to Prague to shoot The Wheel of Time, with your partner and your children last year during the lockdown. What is it like to spend this particular time in a city that wasn’t yours?
“We loved walking around Prague while it was empty. But we were also very worried because many businesses were in great difficulty, but the city itself remains a magical place. We feel lucky to be in Central Europe even though I wish other members of my family were here with us. From Brexit, England seems further away, even the mail from home here doesn’t arrive that fast. To tell the truth, it is quite disconcerting ”.
I Care A Lot will be released in Italy on Prime Video on February 19, 2021