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since Nov 29, 2003


Hotdog Magazine (UK)
December 2002
Issue 31


You know Miranda Otto, she was the girl in those Aussie movies, Doing Time With Patsy Cline and Love Serenade. No? How about Michelle Pfeiffer's strange neighbour in What Lies Beneath. Need more? Okay, she's Eowyn, a major player in the next two Lord Of The Rings instalments, The Two Towers and The Return Of The King. Up until now, the 35-year old has been Australia's best kept-secret...

Two years ago, when you went to New Zealand to film Lord Of The Rings, you'd just broken up from a long-term relationship with Richard Roxburgh (Moulin Rouge, Mission: Impossible II). Was six months abroad a good tonic for coming to terms with it?
I think that it's always good if you break up from a relationship to be in a different country! [laughs] It's better than living round the corner. You know, you both need some space to kind of get on with the rest of your life. If you're still around each other then it's much harder to move on, so in that respect it was definitely a good thing.

Was it easy to focus on the role?
It was great ro have a role that was so involving, that I could commit to and dedicate myself to it and, you know, I had things to fill up my life with.

Eowyn strikes me as a real kind of Joan of Arc role...
Yes, I guess, but in some ways it's not like Joan of Arc, because she doesn't rally troops. But there is the aspect of drag, of her dressing as a man. You could draw a parallel, but there are so many things that are not the same as well.

She's definitely the strongest of the few female characters in Lord Of The Rings.
Yes. She's in despair about what has happened to her country, Rohan. Then Aragorn [Viggo Mortensen] comes along and she sees him as a saviour. But he doesn't fall in love with her, so she dresses up as a man and then goes to war. I thought, 'This is a story where a woman becomes her own knight in shining armour.' That's a great role model, because most mythic stories we're told as children are about women being saved by men.

Was it a more physical role than you've done before?
Parts of it were physical. There's a bit of sword waving, but not all the time. If you read the book, there's a whole part of Eowyn that is repressed, she's not allowed to do all those kind of things even though she's good at them. She's expected to be a woman; she's expected to stay back. But the sword fighting was actually good fun, despite the fact I did actually stab somebody in the leg. You can't lose your concentration!

Internationally, you've fairly anonymous, but after The Two Towers you're going to be part of movie legend and attract obsessives, and probably have 10-20 websites...
Er... I hope not...

I don't mean stalkers. Are you prepared for it?
I must ask the other guys sometimes, I haven't spoken to them in a while and I don't know if they've had that feeling or if they've just carried on with their normal lives. Everyone keeps talking about the effect this film will have on my life, I just can't really fathom it.

Career-wise, you'll probably now get different kinds of script offers...
It would be fun to dress up in medieval costume again and run around the countryside. I wouldn't mind that! [laughs]

You've recently finished an Italian film, The Three-Legged Fox. Didn't you also do some Italian diamond ad with Brad Pitt?
That's right, I did. That was for Italian television. There was no dialogue in it; it was like a little silent movie really. It was with Michel Gondry [Human Nature].

It sounds quite a surreal call to get.
It was very strange, but it was because we were going to work with each other anyway, and he rang up and just said, "Do you want to do this diamond ad with Brad Pitt?"

Did you get free diamonds?
Are you kidding! Nah, it actually wasn't a fabulous paying job or anything. I got to kiss Brad, but it was more a good chance to come over and work with Michel - a lot of the production people who would be working on Human Nature were also going to work on the diamond commercial. So it was a good chance to do some talking about the film and just start working together.

Speaking of Charlie Kaufman, you originally auditioned for Cameron Diaz's role in Being John Malkovich; was your role in Human Nature a kind of sweetener?
I don't think Michel had even known that I'd been to see Spike Jonze for that film until after he had cast me in Human Nature. It sort of came through different avenues, producer Ted Hope told me that I should go and meet him.

Charlie Kaufman is rare in that as a writer he has a status akin to a director. Was he around set a lot?
He came in a bit, as he was a producer as well. I think he probably wants to keep a close eye on who he gives his work to, not just being on set, but I don't think he just wouldn't sell his work to just anyone. He wants to believe in the process, he's not someone who's going to write just for money. I think he'd like to direct some of his own things as well. I think he'd always planned to direct Human Nature and Michel convinced him to give it to him.

You filmed Lord Of The Rings two years ago and you've done a slate of other films since (Human Nature, Julie Walking Home, Doctor Sleep, Danny Deckchair, Three-Legged Fox), but you haven't been on a cinema screen for two years. It's a weird position...
Yeah, but it's great. I can just kick back and do nothing for ages now, because I'll have all these films being released all the time and I won't need to work again!

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