Her role in Jeremy Podeswa’s movie adaptation of Anne Michaels’ novel Fugitive Pieces requires Rosamund Pike to play something like a ray of light in human form. The stunning blonde had recently come off a Bond film when she was sent the script for Podeswa’s film, and was immediately taken with the role of Alex, a vivacious young woman who briefly but unsuccessfully tries to bring some heat and light into the life of Jakob, a man who was orphaned by the Holocaust and who found his refuge and shelter in books and the past.
“The way Jeremy wrote the screenplay,” Pike recalled during an interview at the last Toronto Internation Film Festival, “I had an instinct about her before I read the book, and it was backed up by the book. I love the way she’s written. She’s fun, but some of the wordplay, the wit, doesn’t translate onto the screen because you can’t get that in a script. She’s always playing with palindromes, but you have to read it and think about it to realize the humour. We found that we couldn’t be too reverent – you’re dealing with these huge subjects, the Holocaust, all of this pain, and we realized that the secret was that you couldn’t be too reverential with it. For Alex to cut through it, she’s allowed to feel some impatience, and not be awed by it. Which is not a very politically correct thing to say, but we realized that we couldn’t be too politically correct with it.”
Pike, the fiancée of Atonment director Joe Wright, is riding the steep curve upward in her career right now, but took a year off to do plays in London’s West End, including a production that saw her walk nude across the stage. She and Wright recently moved to Los Angeles, where she arrived with a short list of directors she’d like to work with, including David Lynch and Terence Malick, though she doesn’t have a clue how to get to such famously reclusive names.
“I do it in the theatre, I have to find the same guts to do it. If there’s a theatre director I want to work with I steal their numbers off of people’s phones and call them up. I don’t know anyone who’s got any of those directors’ numbers on their phones yet, but maybe I’ll do something bold. I make bold moves in London, but I’m still finding my footing in America.”
Playing a Bond girl – the icy double agent Miranda Frost in Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan’s last shot at 007 – was an indelible introduction to Hollywood, and Pike says she’d do it again if she got the chance.
“I just think about it as a fun ride. It was a wonderful time and I look back at it now and I can’t really believe it. The first class travel, the hotels. It was like being picked up on this magic carpet. It was incredible. But it couldn’t be the only thing. If you’re an actor, all these parts come to you and you do them all in some sort of order. She’s certainly not in me anymore, Miranda Frost … It was a magic time. I’d do another Bond film if they asked me. You can’t be afraid of stuff like that or else you don’t have any fun.”