Press Archive

Now Magazine (UK) | January 7th 2004

The Lord Of The Rings star Miranda Otto hopes she'll never be as famous as fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman.

Miranda Otto, who beats men at their own game as an action woman in the Lord Of The Rings: the Return of the King, was just as ruthless when she fell in love with former Neighbours star Peter O'Brien.

Miranda wanted to be with him from the moment that they met - but on her own terms. She already knew of TV hunk Peter by the time they were chosen to co star on stage in The Dolls House in their native Sydney, Australia.

She'd watched him in his two year stint playing Shane Ramsay in Neighbours and knew he had gone on to enjoy a film career. But nothing could have prepared Miranda, 36, for their first meeting.

'I knew right from the first rehearsal that we were right for each other,' she recalls.' I instantly found him attractive, interesting and a funny man- and he reacted as if he felt the same about me. It was an impossible situation, though, because we had to be on stage together every night.

'I had to tell him very early on: '' Nothing's going to happen between us yet. This play runs for three months and it is important that we don't get together until it's over.'' The cast was fabulous, we all got on really well and I didn't want to muck that up. I didn't want any private stuff to come on stage during the play. There's always some added tension if two people are in a relationship when they're together. We were supposed to be man and wife, so we could have got into a right mess. I waited until the very end - the last day, actually. I'm not going to say who did what to whom. But it worked.'

After a year together, Miranda married her man on New Years Day 2003. 'We organised everything ourselves and had a great day.' she says. 'It was worth the wait- and the effort.'

Miranda, a pretty, blue eyed blonde best known for playing the beautiful murdered girlfriend who haunts Harrison Ford's character in What Lies Beneath, made her Lord Of The Rings debut a year ago in the second film The Two Towers.

But her role as Eowyn has been beefed up in the spectacular new three hour film The return Of The King, the third and final instalment to be adapted from the classic JRR Tolkien stories.

She plays the niece of the much threatened King Theoden [ Bernard Hill] and is seen in a succession of long- flowing robes. But she has to swap her gowns for armour and swords to fight against evil as she becomes the saviour of the human kingdom of Rohan.

'Eowyn is the only real human heroine in The Lord Of The Rings.' says Miranda. 'Although there are very few woman in the books, Tolkien did make them strong characters.'

'The other two females Galadriel [ Cate Blanchett] and Arwen [ Liv Tyler, were introduced in the first film as elves, but this new film is dominated more by humans, with their strengths and weaknesses.'

'My character is no sleeping beauty.' say Miranda. 'She rides horses, uses swords and fights men at their own game. I dress up as a man, go to war and kill the king of the witches. It suited me perfectly. I loved all the action and learning how to use the sword. It was like going to the very best teachers because they also improved my horse riding about 100 per cent. You need good balance to use a sword properly and it was a matter of training every day for several weeks to get it absolutely right. My husband jokes that he needs to keep me away from the knife drawer!'

The role has finally handed Miranda her big break, after years of starring in a succession of little known Aussie movies. She's been in more than 20 films but is largely unknown outside her home country.

'I've had a good career, without giving up much of my private life.' she says. 'When I look at the sacrifices some actresses have made to live their lives, I feel lucky. When I spilt up with my ex boyfriend Richard Roxburg, who worked with Nicole Kidman on Moulin Rouge [ he played the Duke], it took the papers a year and a half to realise that we were not together. Compare that to the reaction when Nicole and Tom Cruise announced they were getting a divorce. It became international news. I 'm not sure I could ever deal with that. So I don't resent the fact that it has taken so long to get a role like this. I know that I look younger then I am - I was still playing teenagers until a few years ago. But it wasn't particularly mature. Being in my thirties is much better because I was pushed around in my twenties. I wouldn't go back to those years thanks very much.'

Recalling her first meeting with Harrison Ford, Miranda says 'I thought he was one of the carpenters! The producer introduced me to this guy who was so low key, wearing a denim shirt, jeans and a cap, and I didn't really see who he was because he kept his head down. He just mumbled one word: ''Harrison.'' I just said ''Hi.'' Then he was off. When the cameras rolled, we just did it then that was that. There was no contact before or afterwards.,

'In contrast, when I first arrived on the set of The Two Towers on a night shoot, I saw Liv Tyler in the distance, looking radiantly gorgeous at four o' clock in the morning, even though she was wearing elf ears. She came over to me, gave me a hug and said 'Thank god, there's another woman at last! We can hang out and do things.' Unfortunately we only had a couple of weeks when our work overlapped, so I was back to being the only girl in the cast.'

Miranda and husband Peter, 43, now known in Australia for his staring role in the TV series Whit Collar Blue, are now set for an adventure of a different kind- moving to London.

'We both love the UK and we believe that London is the place to be,' she says 'It'll be a new life and a new challenge.'

Thanks to Danae for typing up the article.