We all know John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln. But have you also heard the tale of Mary Surratt, a boarding-house owner who was convicted of participating in the conspiracy to kill him? No? Well, don’t worry, neither did Alexis Bledel, who co-stars in “The Conspirator,” a Robert Redford-directed film based on the true-life tale of Surratt and the plot to assassinate our 16th president.
“I had no idea. I had never heard this story!” laughed Bledel during a recent interview. Luckily, she got up to speed once she stepped into some Civil War-era petticoats.
Is this your first time appearing in a period film?
It’s the first one I’ve done that is a true story, that’s historically accurate with so much attention paid to detail. It was interesting to build the character and to make sure her social habits and speech were accurate.
Your wardrobe also must have helped. Did you get stitched up in a corset?
I did! The corsets and the petticoats and the skirts are made from really thick fabric; it was pretty uncomfortable.
How was it working with Robert Redford?
He was so incredible! He’s made such beautiful films that I really admire and he has this sort of magnetic presence to him. He’s a hard worker and he just has all this knowledge to impart.
As you move into adult roles, what’s the one piece of advice you’ve gotten about how to tackle the transition?
My agent did tell me that if I wanted to be a serious artist, I had to put that out there and take myself seriously. I really responded to that advice; I think he’s right.
Follow Dorothy Robinson on Twitter at @DorothyatMetro.