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Rosamund Pike Made in Dagenham Interview

From Bond girl to Pride and Prejudice, Rosamund Pike has a part of the international film scene for more than a decade. View’s Matthew Turner catches up with the renowned English actress to chat about sixties Brit flick Made in Dagenham as Rosamund Pike talks picket lines, equal pay for women and how even the smallest part can be significant in the right film.

The character you play isn't really involved with the factory, so presumably you didn't see a lot of the strike stuff being filmed. What was it like when you finally saw the film for the first time?
Rosamund Pike (RP): Well, I'd read the script. It was one of those films where the script has kind of appeared on screen – it's a very good script and so the spirit of it is on the screen, completely. It was sort of everything I wanted it to be. It's a really satisfying film, I just think it really works, right from the minute they play The Israelites, as soon as the bikes come in, you feel you're in safe hands.

Did you ever wish you were on the picket line?
RP: Yes, because they had a lot more fun. But that was never an option. [Producers] Liz and Stephen came to me and said, 'Look, we really liked what you did in An Education. Could you play this part?', so it wasn't like reading a script and thinking, 'Ooh, which one would I like to play?' All you look for, really, is somebody who influences the film and isn't going to be cut out. And her role actually sort of changes the film, I think. It changes the film from being a working class struggle to being a film about all women's fight for equal pay.

I think it just elevates it to another level. I mean not that that sounds like making grand claims for a small part, but it does, I think, open up the scope of the film in quite an interesting way.

Do you have a favourite scene in the film?
RP: Yes. I really like two scenes. I really like the scene where Sally takes Jaime out of the fashion shoot and gives her a pep talk and says, 'The thing is, I know that you think that this is about as good as it's going to get, but actually you're too good for them'. I forget what the words are exactly, but that really moves me, that scene, because you can really feel Jaime's desire and fear that this is as good as it's going to get and her need for it and the desperation. And I think the scene is brilliantly written with Sally Hawkins and Danny Mays, about rights and privileges, where he's saying 'I don't go to the pub, I don't knock you about, I don't shout at you' and she says 'And that is as it should be'. I just think that's a great scene.

What was it like working with Sally Hawkins?
RP: I loved working with Sally. I loved it. We really got on and we want to work with each other again. I suppose it was like chemistry, but you don't really talk about that between women. It was just a really nice little arc. I just believed in her and I think she believed in me, just in terms of kind of being those people. That's why you're so indebted to the casting director on films like this, because your only chance of giving a decent performance is if you believe in the whole world and the whole world is created by whether you believe all these people around you. You forget who they are and get immersed in it.

Was there anything cut out that you hated to lose?
RP: Oh no, I didn't lose anything. I knew that when I read the script. I knew all her scenes were going to stay in. But that's another important thing, because everything is directly influencing the main action. I thought it was a really well devised little part. And it has an impact, right? It does have an impact and I'm only in it for about ten minutes.

The speech you have about having a degree from Oxford is really good too.
RP: Good. I'm glad. No, I hear that it kind of gets people, that, so that's really nice. Because that's the only reason I do this job. You want to move people in some way – it can be to make them laugh or whatever but you want people to recognise something in what you do, to recognise themselves in the performance you give. That's the only reason I do it, because that's what used to excite me when I was an audience member.

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Content updated: 28/10/2016 05:25

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