Rosamund Pike first seized our attention as ice-cool femme fatale Miranda Frost in the 2002 Pierce Brosnan James Bond thriller Die Another Day. But in the last twelve years she’s slowly amassed a filmography most any actor would die for, with supporting roles in critically acclaimed dramas like Pride & Prejudice and An Education and star turns in crowd-pleasers like Jack Reacher and The World’s End. And in 2014, the former Bond girl became a Gone Girl, in David Fincher’s Academy Award-nominated suspense film based on Gillian Flynn’s bestseller, for which she’s earned her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
Since she’d previously entered the world of Hitchcock-style thrillers in Terry Johnson’s 2003 play Hitchcock Blonde, I asked the stunning Pike — when I spoke with her at this years Santa Barbara International Film Festival (where she received the festival’s Virtuoso Award) — if it was especially satisfying to take the common perception of such thrillers’ heroines and turn it on its head.
“I hadn’t thought of it like that,” she laughed. “But Hitchcock always said he wanted to take ladies and knock the ladylikeness out of them, and I think Fincher kind of wanted to do that a bit too. When I flew up to St. Louis to meet him for dinner, I think he was partly wanting to see how uptight I really was and whether I’d go the mile, or whether my vanity was sort of a barrier he couldn’t break down. And I think I reassured him on all those scores that I am first and foremost an incredibly hard worker, and that I can get in the ring and always have. But I’ve been craving this kind of opportunity.”
“What I did like was the fact that Fincher was so clever with the marketing of this film. That those who hadn’t read the book really did think I was just a dead wife. And the trajectory of my career to date meant that people would fully believe that I would sign on to be the dead wife. Whereas if it was a more illustrious, more famous actress, they probably would have been a bit more suspicious and thought, ‘Why does she want to the dead girl?’ ‘Rosamund Pike? Oh yeah, she’ll be the dead girl.’ So yes, to do that, to be the supporting actor in the idea of the story who then turns into a sort of protagonist, that was exciting.”
Pike’s eclectic career choices continue with her next role — as Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward in Thunderbirds Are Go!, the television reboot of Gerry Anderson’s cult classic Thunderbirds.
The actress explained she was a fan of the original TV show while growing up in the UK.
“Oh yes, sure! Yeah, we all were. When it was rerun on television. I mean, I’ve always been a bit of a petrol-head and into machines and cars, spaceships and space travel. So those ships were so exciting to little children. I’m a mother of two boys now, so I sort of wanted to do something for them. I think the new incarnation is going to be very exciting. So you won’t be let down I hope.”
Pike will appear at this year’s Oscars ceremony when the Academy Awards presentation is telecast live on ABC on Sunday, February 22nd at 7 EST/4 PST. But no matter how she fares, she’s already won the most important honor — the 5th Annual Nerdist Movie Award for Best Actress!