(Grand Army Entertainment)
Izumi Hasegawa: Why the brown hair?
Robin Wright: [It's] for a movie I'm doing now.
IH: Do you feel smarter with brown hair?
RW: You know what? Yes. And blondes do have more fun. No, I'm kidding.
IH: What was your reaction to your character when you read the script?
RW: I couldn't put the script down. And then, once Rebecca [Miller] and I met, of course, I was like, "I'd give my left arm to play this role." She said, "Well, do you think we're going to have to do prosthetic make-up?" and I said, "It's so not about the cliché. Older is a number. It's about the chemistry between Pippa and Herb." Pippa could really be any age, and that's what we wanted to have translated -- that Pippa is 20, 30, 40 and 50, even when she's 50. She still has all of the youth and experience and innocence and self-destruction, the lies, the secrets... She still has all of those elements in her, even at 50. She wasn't realized, and then all of a sudden, life took over for her and became a realization for herself, more than her choosing.
IH: Can you relate to her and what she's going through?
RW: I think male and female. I don't think it's gender-based. I think we all go through an evolution in our lives. We all change. Circumstances change us, and when your kids get older, you become a different mother to them. Being married changes you. You are a product of your experiences in life, and that's exactly what this movie is about. It's just that those experiences finally start to erode the façade that she can't live behind anymore.
IH: What was it about your character and the themes in this film that resonated with you the most personally?
RW: Just being a woman and all those things I just mentioned. I think everybody lives it. I didn't have such a destructive youth or abusive past, but everybody really thinks, "Oh, it's autobiographical. It's what you went through. Were you Pippa? Was that your mother?" You can draw from the exploration of those experiences. There are little vignettes here that of course we can dabble in, but it's not necessarily a parallel. I think it's pretty broad, being a chick. I think we all kind of go through that – the awakening and self-reflection, and of all the above.
IH: There are so many different facets to this character. As an actor, was there one particular aspect of Pippa's character that was most fulfilling to perform?
RW: To be able to play layers without using dialogue or exposition to execute what that layer is and how it resonates within the movie and the storytelling; to be able to hold that underneath is so enriching. The more you have to hide, the more work you have to do, but I find it much more rewarding also, as a viewer, to watch something like that because, with Rebecca's work, it unfolds after you've asked the question, "Why did she...?" Right? As an audience member, you're like, "What the hell? Why would she be sleepwalking and devouring food?" And then you find out three scenes later why -- where the past is starting to be [revealed]. It's the peeling of the onion. It's the unveiling of the truth of what really went on. So you start to see the diary that she's been living.
IH: We were speaking to Rebecca about how you and Blake [Lively] watched each other to pick up little facial expressions that would be common to each era and incarnation. What specifically did you pick up from Blake in her facial expression, or something else you noticed?
RW: She has one thing that she did. I didn't know her. We'd met literally two seconds [on the] camera test day. I was rushing off to a flight getting back to California, and Rebecca said, "Just go watch her and pick something that she does, because you guys truly don't look alike. She's 6' 7". She's so tall, beautiful, voluptuous body, and I was like, "Okay. Those two things are not connecting here, so there's got to be something I can emulate that would make it believable that she was me and I was her." So she was asking her questions, and she's such a Bambi. She's such an innocent -- pure innocent. Every time she would answer Rebecca, she would go, "What?" and she would lift her brow, and it was like a baby discovering every essence of life that was coming her way. It was new discovery. Anytime anybody would say anything, she would just be like "Yeah? Really? Okay." I just wanted Pippa, no matter what her age and everything she'd been through, I wanted to keep that innocence and the newness, and yet you see that she's been there. She's done it all. She's fucked every man, she's taken every drug, she's been abused by her mother who's an alcoholic and a drug addict... I still wanted everything to be new and fresh coming her way.
IH: People keep saying you guys don't look alike, but I didn't even pick up on that.
RW: That's good to hear.
IH: Are people surprised when they hear you say some of these bad words? Because somehow you seem ladylike.
RW: Did I just say bad words?
RW: Did I? I've always been told I have trailer park mouth. It's always been in me. Maybe I'm a truck driver.
IH: Can you talk about your experience working with Alan [Arkin], who seems like he's playing two versions of the same character?
RW: He's so calming to be around. You feel very safe with him as an actor. He's got a wealth of information. He's very well-read and has been around for quite a while in this business, and just life experience and having that kind of calm foundation. You know you can fail, and you want that kind of safety net with another actor when you're in scenes. You want to know, "Okay, listen, we're going to pick each other up if we fall, right? We're going to have each other's back." When you have that unspoken knowingness between each other, there's an instant chemistry and a code-speak that you have, and I felt like we had that from the get-go. Everybody was so concerned that the age difference wasn't going to be believable. I totally believed we could've been married, and I think it has to do with that. You get into a rhythm of trust that you have to have. It's very rare, because usually you walk onto a set, "Hey, nice to meet you. That's great. So take your clothes off. You guys are making love in this scene." That's usually what it feels like, and you're having to expose and be intimate with somebody you don't know. We got to know each other. Rebecca and I really got to know each other. We got to know the movie and the story for a year before we shot, which is a rarity.
IH: Was that just open discussions, or was it a rehearsal period?
RW: Just talk and picking her brain and reading her novel. We had a bible.
IH: What did you guys discuss on set?
RW: Oh my God, ad nauseam, everything. Everything you could possibly dissect and analyze. There were a lot of things you wanted answered and a lot of questions you didn't want answered for the character. Rebecca actually owns all of those characters in that movie. She wrote it years ago, and this novel was her baby. So we were like her disciples, in a way, just executing her vision.
IH: How was it working with Keanu Reeves?
RW: Great. Great person. So sweet and so available. We had to beg him to do this part. He wouldn't do it. He really didn't think he was right for it, and he's perfect for the part. Just removed enough. We wanted that very odd, awkward, "Are you perverted?" You wanted to question, "Who is this weirdo?" But underneath the weirdo exterior is such a genuine, loving, understanding man. And that's exactly who Chris needed to be for Pippa to come out of her shell, so it was great working with him. He's a gem and a decent, decent man.