Explore Time Out’s exclusive interviews with the great and the good of film. From Kate Winslet to Bill Murray, Daniel Day-Lewis to Woody Allen and Carey Mulligan, we speak to Hollywood stars and the world’s most respected film directors.
Tom Hiddleston is in superbrain mode as he tries to make sense of some of the ideas in his brilliantly loopy new film, ‘High-Rise’, a disturbing vision of urban living gone horribly wrong. ‘My point is, what is reality in the end? Look at us: we’re both in rooms on our own, talking to computers – which is weird when you think about it!’ We’ve spent the past 90 minutes on Skype (with him in Australia, where he’s shooting a movie, and me in London); it’s the second part of a conversation that began in a Bethnal Green café just after Christmas. Hiddleston has been recapping his short, brilliant career that includes playing Loki in the ‘Thor’ movies, starring in ‘War Horse’ and ‘Crimson Peak’, and proving himself a master of Shakespeare on TV and stage. He’s a big star with a big brain; an actor equally at home in out-there arthouse films and mega-budget action movies. Now he has also captured the Sunday-night-TV crowd, playing Jonathan Pine, a hotel worker-turned-MI6 operative, in the thrilling BBC series ‘The Night Manager’, based on a John le Carré novel. He’s clearly hungry to try everything and anything. At one point in our interview he even suggests he might learn a new language just so he can work with foreign directors. Hiddleston, now 35, was educated at Eton, Cambridge and RADA, and occasionally finds himself in the sights of those who bash ‘posh’ actors. Which might explain the note of caution in his voice. He doesn’t speak in soundbites and is careful to back up a
Brie Larson is laughing at the number of people who’ve asked her if she’s read the novel on which her new film, ‘Room’, is based. ‘That’s a such an odd question!’ she exclaims, eyes widening. Yes she read the book. She also spoke to a trauma specialist and a nutritionist, and took a month-long vow of silence before playing the role of Joy, who is kidnapped by a stranger aged 17 and locked in a dingy garden shed. Repeatedly raped, after two years Joy gives birth to a son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), who is five when we drop into their lives and Joy is plotting to escape. Yes, ‘Room’ sounds horrific. But it’s so much more, full of love and compassion. As for its 26-year-old star (last seen playing Amy Schumer’s sister in ‘Trainwreck’), she won a Golden Globe for 'Best Actress In A Drama' and is now the frontrunner in the race for Best Actress at the Oscars. 'When you eliminate all stimuli, your brain is like: “Finally, we’ve got some space! I want to talk with you about something!”’ You play a woman, Joy, who has been locked away for seven years. How did you get your head around how those years had affected her, physically and mentally? ‘It took me almost nine months and a lot of brainpower. Even just thinking about the wear and tear to her body. It’s not as simple as thinking: how long would her hair have grown? You have to realise that she doesn’t get any Vitamin D. Her nutrition is poor. She doesn’t have any shampoo. In those circumstances hair doesn’t keep growing – it
It’s early December, and Quentin Tarantino is holding court in a Beverly Hills hotel. Tarantino – if you didn’t already know – is a talker. He’s as quick as machine-gun fire on the subject of his new film ‘The Hateful Eight’. It’s a western set in post-Civil War Wyoming where a snowstorm traps a group of people together under one roof, including bounty hunters played by Kurt Russell and Samuel L Jackson, and challenges their prejudices. When a draft script of the film leaked early in 2014, Tarantino furiously threatened to pull the plug. Nearly two years later, his layered take on race in America is, if anything, more timely than ever following the killing of Michael Brown in the city of Ferguson. Tarantino has been directing movies for more than 20 years, and he’s always said he’d call it a day after his tenth film. ‘The Hateful Eight’ is number eight. The big question is, when a man loves cinema this much – how can he stop? So is ‘The Hateful Eight’ your most political film?‘Yes. But when I first started writing it, I didn’t know it. I’ve dealt with race, in terms of black and white, in a lot of my movies, in all my movies, to some degree or other. But I do think that dealing with black and white in America and with racial conflicts is something that I have to contribute to the western genre. That has not been done by anyone else – at least not in a meaningful way.’ Why use the western genre to explore race in America? You started that with ‘Django Unchained’.‘The wester
If you want to know how James Bond – sorry, I mean Daniel Craig – starts the day, I can tell you. Two double espressos with honey. Plus poached eggs on toast. With another double espresso to follow. So basically: caffeine, more caffeine and some more caffeine, with honey to soften the blow. Craig needs all the help he can get when we meet in July: just four days ago the 47-year-old finished an epic eight-month shoot for ‘Spectre’, which saw him hopping back and forth between Pinewood Studios near London and Mexico City, Morocco, the Austrian Alps and Rome. It’s the British actor’s fourth outing as Bond, and his second with the director Sam Mendes after the success of ‘Skyfall’ – which in 2012 took over $1,000 million globally. He thinks – thinks – ‘Spectre’ is going to be a stylish, classic Bond movie, and Craig is not an actor who talks bullshit. He’s blunt. He’s thoughtful. He’s wary of being precious. But he’s also nervous. At one point a look of horror passes over his blue eyes. ‘God, hubris is a terrible thing in this business,’ he says, checking his enthusiasm. ‘I just pray the movie is going to be great.’ So, no pressure, then. Another double espresso, please… So you’ve just finished eight months of filming ‘Spectre’. Did it all end with a bang or a whimper? ‘It’s always a whimper. I wish movies ended and we all high-fived each other and said, “Yeah! We did good work!” But they tend to peter out. We filmed in Morocco for the week before the very end and that felt lik
Listening to Sam Mendes, he sounds like a sailor who can see the horizon fast approaching and couldn’t be happier to reach dry land. When we speak, it’s just over a month before the new Bond movie, ‘Spectre’ opens in cinemas, and as the 50-year-old British director puts it, there’s ‘no way back now’. He says it’s been a ‘gruelling’ experience to follow ‘Skyfall’ with a movie that involved even more globetrotting, as well as filming action scenes that required shutting down the centre of Mexico City for two weeks and flying helicopters over London’s River Thames at night. Yet, finally, ‘Spectre’ is pretty much finished: ‘The picture is locked, the score is almost entirely recorded and we’re about to go into a final sound mix which will take about three weeks.’ All that’s left now is for Mendes to unleash the movie on the world and see how audiences react to the ‘very big ideas’ he’s been fighting hard to keep secret for the best part of two years. Are they about to do something incredible and kill off Bond? Reveal that Q is his father? Kickstart a love affair between Bond and M? We’ll just have to wait and see… Daniel Craig told us that he was ‘begging’ you to direct another Bond movie after ‘Skyfall’. Is that true? ‘There was a small threat of physical violence and there were offers of free tickets to see Arsenal play Liverpool. [Mendes is an Arsenal fan; Craig supports Liverpool.] Seriously, it was very flattering and it made a big difference. Making “Spectre” has been more
What lesson did you learn from your mum? ‘Compassion.’ And from your grandmother? ‘Not to hit my brother.’ Was there a point at which you realised that being a girl meant you were treated differently from boys? ‘Not really, but as a woman I’ve felt I’ve been treated differently from men.’ What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? ‘Don’t sweat the small shit.’ Which women would you invite to your dream dinner party? ‘My grandmother when she was young, Amy Poehler, Malala Yousafzai, Angelina Jolie, Queen Elizabeths I and II, Marion Cotillard, Patti Smith, Michelle Obama and Maid Marian.’ Who inspires you? ‘The carers who work at the home in which my grandmother lives in Wales. And the War Child volunteers and workers in the field who risk their lives protecting children from conflict.’ ‘The suffragettes were bad-ass motherfuckers’ How would you like to be remembered? ‘For being nice.’ What’s your biggest regret? ‘I don’t have any regrets.’ What could you not live without? ‘Avocados.’ Describe a suffragette in four words. ‘Bad-ass motherfucker.’ If you were living in the 1910s, would you be brave enough to protest? ‘I hope so.’ Are you a feminist? ‘Yes.’ Who made you laugh most on the set of ‘Suffragette’? ‘Helena Bonham Carter.’ What single thing would you change about the film industry to make it less sexist? ‘Equal pay.’ What’s the most annoying question women get asked in interviews that men don’t get asked? ‘Meryl Streep commented on this recently. W
What do you think of when you think of suffragettes? Genteel ladies wearing sashes and big hats, marching arm-in-arm? A new film, ‘Suffragette’, out on October 12, will change that cosy impression for ever. It’s a hundred years since the suffragettes fought to get women the vote, but unbelievably this is the first film about their bitter struggle. After years of being ignored by the government, humiliated and demeaned, in 1909 they got militant: smashing windows and blowing up postboxes.‘Suffragette’ is an important film: tough and shocking. Written by Abi Morgan (‘The Iron Lady’) and directed by Sarah Gavron (‘Brick Lane’), this is the story of ordinary working-class women. Carey Mulligan is Maud, a Bethnal Green laundress whose eyes are opened to the movement by her workmate Violet (Anne-Marie Duff). Romola Garai is their boss’s suffragette wife. Meryl Streep appears as the formidable Emmeline Pankhurst, rallying her troops from a London balcony.Mrs P’s speech ends: ‘I’d rather be a rebel than a slave’. That idea of finding your voice, keeping your nerve and fighting the impulse to be a ‘good girl’ is a powerful one in the film. It’s perfect, then, for our photoshoot with Mulligan, Streep, Garai and Duff, four women who tell us why the fight for equality still isn’t over and why the suffragettes were ‘bad-ass’ feminists.
Do you have a motto you try to live by? ‘I try to live by: “No fear. No Shame.” But if I’ve got through a day without “desperate to please” being my motto, I’m happy.’ What piece of advice would you give your 18-year-old self? ‘You’re 18. He’s 30. Keep walking.’ What lesson did you learn from your mum and your grandmother? ‘Both my mum and my grandmother had passions outside of their work and families. My mum has always made time for reading and going to the theatre. So I was brought up in a house where it didn’t seem unusual for a woman to have interests outside of the family. I write – that’s just for me, and I feel guilty about it sometimes, but then I remember it’s important to do things purely for yourself. I’d like to write and direct a feature film, but it may never happen; I may be saying this for the rest of my life! And I read a lot of novels in the bath.’ Which women would you invite to your dream dinner party? ‘There are so many, it would be a banquet of thousands. But I’d love to have a dinner where I could sit down and talk to actresses directing movies now. I’d invite Brit Marling and Lake Bell, and maybe Angelina could come for coffee… she’d be too busy! I just think those women are so inspiring and they don’t know how inspiring they are.’ ‘I'm so angry about austerity. It's bollocks’ How would you like to be remembered? ‘As a passionate person.’ Whose windows would you most like to smash? ‘George Osborne’s. I’m so angry about austerity. I don’t buy it t
Do you have a motto you try to live by? ‘“What if I was someone who didn’t give a shit?” I have to ask myself this on a regular basis because I worry an awful lot about what people think. So I go quietly to myself: “What if you were someone who didn’t give a shit? Fine, I can do this.”’ What piece of advice would you give your 18-year-old self? ‘You’re not crazy. You will fall in love. You will be loved. You are beautiful. So get out there and enjoy yourself more.’ Was there a point at which you realised that being a girl meant you were treated differently from boys? ‘Yes. I can remember being in a physics class being made to feel like science belonged to the boys, and that it didn’t matter that I didn’t understand. I wasn’t supposed to.’ Which women would you invite to your dream dinner party? ‘Lena Dunham, Simone de Beauvoir, Dame Judi Dench, Kate Bush and Malala Yousafzai.’ Who inspires you? ‘My son. He’s five and he inspires me to be braver.’ ‘My son inspires me to be braver’ How would you like to be remembered? ‘Daily. Hourly… With love.’ What’s your biggest regret? ‘Breaking someone’s heart.’ What could you not live without? ‘The two men in my life.’ Whose windows would you most like to smash? ‘Anyone who performs female genital mutilation.’ Who’s your heroine and why? ‘There are so many women I admire. Malala Yousafzai. Julie Delpy is awesome. And my best friend.’ Describe a suffragette in four words. ‘Passionate. Right. Heroic. Awesome.’ What lesson could
Do you have a motto you try to live by? ‘Do what you can.’ What lesson did you learn from your mum and your grandmother? ‘My mother’s highest compliment: “You’re capable, Meryl. You are capable and you can do anything you set your mind to.” My grandmother, on the other hand, said: “Fools’ names and fools’ faces always appear in public places.” Which was less helpful in the profession I chose!’ What advice would you give your 18-year-old self? ‘Don’t waste so much time thinking about how much you weigh. There is no more mind-numbing, boring, idiotic, self-destructive diversion from the fun of living.’ What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? ‘From my husband who says: “Start by starting.”’ How would you like to be remembered? ‘With love by my family.’ ‘Being ladylike is underrated’ What’s your biggest regret? ‘That my friendships suffered from lack of attention (compared to my mother’s deep and long-lived attachments) in favour of the time taken up by my family, my career and civic concerns.’ What could you not live without? ‘My family.’ What makes you angry? ‘Deliberate ignorance of global warming by the richest, best-educated people and institutions in the world, as if it will not profoundly impact on them, their privileged lives and their families.’ Is being ladylike overrated? ‘I would say it is underrated. Grace, respect, reserve and empathetic listening are qualities sorely missing from the public discourse now.’ What lesson could the suffragettes tea