Rosamund Pike talks about ex-fiancé/P&P director Joe Wright and turning 30
Here are the highlights of her interview:
Rosamund Pike has baked me a cake! She is so nice. I don't actually like cake, but this is an exceptionally light, scrumptious rhubarb and orange confection, so I have no trouble at all eating it. She also offers tea in delicate antique china cups and invites me to look round her extremely pretty Kensington mews flat. There is a lovely wisteria outside, forming great swags of flowers around the window - it feels like being in a treetop bower. She moved into the flat last November and is only renting it, but already, she says, she thinks it's the best thing that ever happened to her. She was planning to buy somewhere but every deal fell through, "so then I just decided: actually my parents never bought anywhere so I'll probably end up like them, just being nomadic, moving when I can't afford it any more".
She is even prettier in the flesh than on film, wearing harem pants and a soft floral blouse that sometimes flops sideways to give glimpses of her breasts. The whole effect - the flat, the cake, the tea, the wisteria, this lovely porcelain girl - is utterly feminine and exquisite, and of course makes me feel like a great ugly toad. She reminds me a bit of Joanna Lumley (obviously without the gurkhas) and fills me with the same unease - can anyone really be this perfect?
- Naturally I was hoping to spend the whole morning talking about An Education, but Pike was keener to plug her next film, Fugitive Pieces, based on a best-selling Canadian novel by Anne Michaels which won the Orange Prize in 1996. It stars Stephen Dillane and is set in Canada, Greece and Poland, with some characters speaking in Yiddish or Greek. Pike plays Dillane's girlfriend and brings a much-needed breezy cheerfulness to an otherwise rather gloomy film. She is also in Freefall, the big BBC2 recession drama, playing a City broker who is having an affair with her boss - lots of bonking on desks - and is then dumped by him. Her scenes, though few, are absolutely electric, perhaps because they are improvised.
- But she seriously hates and abhors any form of plastic surgery - "No way. No way. Not even Botox. You look at someone like Judi [Dench] and you just think she's the most beautiful woman. Because if you're a beautiful person then somehow all the lines fall into the right place."
- Almost immediately, she was cast as Miranda Frost, the Bond girl in Die Another Day. It was an extraordinary break - but instead of staying in Hollywood to capitalise on it, she went straight back to the theatre. Her next big film was Pride & Prejudice, playing Jane Bennet to Keira Knightley's Elizabeth, and it was on the set that she fell in love with the director Joe Wright.
Joe Wright is the great looming elephant in the room. She has said all along she won't talk about him, and when I mention his name she mimes zipping her lips. They were together four years, during which he directed Pride & Prejudice, Atonement and The Soloist, and in every interview and photograph they seemed madly in love. They got engaged early last year, on Lake Como, bought a house together in Spitalfields and said they were getting married in the summer. And then suddenly he called it off. It was the most public and humiliating jilting imaginable, especially when he was later reported to have been seen "cavorting" in a lapdancing club that same week. The story in the tabloids was that he was furious because she'd sent out wedding invitations featuring photos of them together in a hot tub without consulting him. It sounded unlikely - I wouldn't have thought Pike was the sort of girl to favour jokey wedding invitations. She flatly refuses to talk about it when I meet her, but later emails to say: "I still have no idea why Joe called off the wedding. He was never clear about it. Part of what makes it so confusing. Our Save the Date cards had been sent out; Save the Date cards which had a 1950s-style picture of the two of us in LA, taken by a friend at Christmas, done like an old-fashioned postcard with slightly unreal colours - we'd both designed it and the design was to make people laugh! Which it did! - but no invitations. My mother had to write to everyone to say that the wedding was no longer going to take place. I also think that the stories about Joe being seen in lapdancing clubs are false. It really doesn't sound like him."
But it was an incredibly public humiliation and still, she claims, a mystery to her as much as anyone. Perhaps she was always keener on getting married than he was. Perhaps he felt pressured. At all events she refuses to condemn him - "I still think he's an extraordinary man, I really do" - and says, wanly: "I don't think you ever get over something like that, do you?"
- Her next job after Madame de Sade is playing Bruce Willis's wife in a Disney sci-fi film called Surrogates. She also has a queue of films in the pipeline - Fugitive Pieces, Freefall, Burning Pond (which she describes as "a twisted black comedy") and finally the masterpiece, An Education, which comes out in October. It's an interesting list but seems a bit diffuse. But she says she just wants to keep working, and switching between films and theatre, with no particular career goals in mind. "I just sort of want to keep doing it. And to be able to look back and... I want to be respected, so that to have my name attached to a project means something. Obviously it would be great to do some wonderful enriching roles, but I want to just carry on doing it all my life. Because it just keeps you so young, it keeps you so fulfilled - it's the most fulfilling job in the world, really."
• Fugitive Pieces is out on Friday. Freefall will be on BBC2 later this year.