: I wasn’t aware of this story before I read the script, so that’s exciting to be able to introduce a story from the beginning. I think it was so crucial that every woman in this movie had their own real strength and character.It’s exciting to be in England, where I think people know a lot about Anne Boleyn. Because the whole story of Mary is a very untold story. I like to watch those strange medical mystery programs. When she’s carried away, it’s a devastating moment in film. It was essential, even for people in the smaller roles, that everyone really have this presence. Just the fact that she was always so present, so focused and so real, to believe everything and stay in the scene.I would love to do a comedy, I would love to do a romantic comedy.
How did you become involved in the project, Scarlett?: A major part of why I joined the project, is because Natalie was involved.Portman and Johansson talked about the challenges that faced them on the set, from riding horses in big ol’ dresses to working with jokester Eric Bana.The sisterly attitude seen on-screen carried over into real life; they finished each others’ sentences and occasionally whispered to each other.These costumes—it not only is uncomfortable to wear, it affects how people move around you. It’s a constant reminder of the restrictions that were placed on women of this time. The costumes are so bold and sort of daring, it definitely matched who [Anne Boleyn] was as a woman too. [As for eating in the costumes], I remember Scarlett warning me, she was like, “I had a bagel at lunch.
Big mistake.” You take your costume off for lunch at break, and you forget— : No, I was riding astride. A lot of the riding was rushing from Rochefort back to the castle. I could ride sidesaddle, but when I was riding you couldn’t see any difference at all.
Also people know the story from the book, which was really, really popular here. : I don’t really watch that much TV, other than like CNN Breaking News, or BBC America. You both have scenes with Spanish actress Ana Torrent. Kristen [Scott Thomas] too—I think every woman is so fantastic in this, has such complexity, and vulnerable and strong. It was really, really one of my best, if not the best, acting experience opposite someone my age. We were in these costumes which immediately separate you.
What was it like working with her, and did you feel sympathy for her character? I was interested to see who was going to take on this role. What a sweet and soft-spoken woman, and then to see her have this incredible presence. It is a part that the audience is very sympathetic toward. I think it’s really important to make it feel real. You’re in this garb, and it separates you from the guy eating the salami sandwich reloading the camera.
Like Scarlett was saying, you just never get the chance to work with someone your own age that you so admire. And Natalie, do you think people are aware of history?
You did Goya’s Ghosts, and that didn’t get an audience in America at all.
Hopefully with Natalie and I both involved in the project it will entice younger generations—maybe it will spark their interest in the subject.