In “Gone Girl,” Rosamund Pike proved she could put herself through anything. The British actress, a well-loved supporting player in “Pride & Prejudice” and “An Education,” took the lead and scored her first Oscar nomination. Four years later, Pike is courting awards attention again with “A Private War,” a film about the life of the late Marie Colvin, a war correspondent whose loss of an eye (due to a rocket-launched grenade in Sri Lanka) failed to contain her drive to document the truth.
John Krasinski has enjoyed a recent career renaissance, pivoting from the sweet paper salesman he played on “The Office” to the thinking movie fan’s hunk in 2018, a star whose charisma and talent is bolstered by his obvious love for family. He stars opposite his wife, Emily Blunt, in his directorial effort “A Quiet Place.”
John Krasinski: How did “A Private War” come to you? Was it something that you always wanted to do, to play some sort of character with that level of intensity and toughness?
Rosamund Pike: I think I’m very drawn to people who show tremendous courage. Probably because it’s a quality I feel I lack. When you’re trying to convey somebody’s life, who’s been lost very recently and who people love very fiercely and protectively, you want to feel that you’re going to get at something that does feel truthful.
Krasinski: How was that, trying to get to know her through the people who knew her?
Pike: I think I realized so quickly how painful it was to people who knew her. I rang [director] Matt [Heineman] in the middle of the night, and I said, “I don’t know if we can do this.” And the next morning, this taxi arrived at my door in London, and there was nobody in it, just this bag. One of her friends had sent me a sweater and a jacket that had belonged to Marie. The message was “Keep going.”
Krasinski: She doesn’t seem like someone who would want a movie about her, do you think?
Pike: As a journalist, I think she’s really someone who doesn’t want to be at the center of a story. It’s not your grief to feel, and yet, boy, do you feel it.
Krasinski: What is it like working with an eye patch for an entire movie?
Pike: People ask me sort of “Could you actually see through it?” I said no. What would be the point of that? That would kind of defeat everything. I think the eye patch is so core to who Marie was. You are literally blindsided. She took that disability and went into conflict zones. We do seek those things that change the way you negotiate the world, which you must’ve felt doing “A Quiet Place,” with not being able to speak.
Krasinski: Absolutely. There was definitely a huge feeling of fear in a good way. Are words something that not only you need as an actor, but you need as a director and editor, to sort of meter your movie? But the cool thing about not being able to speak in a movie, other than with sign language, is that I left the door open to allow organic moments to happen. I knew that the scenes would be pretty interesting, but I wasn’t prepared for them to be more beautiful than anything I could’ve written. I remember day three, watching Emily do a scene with these kids. Emily was great in the scene, but these kids were so unbelievable that when you took away their ability to speak, they were emoting some of the purest performances I had seen.
Pike: Those children trusted you; Emily obviously trusts you.
Krasinski: Well it’s all high-wire acting. If you don’t trust that person, there’s a much bigger chance of falling.
Pike: Or you’re making yourself super vulnerable, and you’ve got to know that that is in hands that are going to hold you.
Krasinski: People ask Emily all the time: “Did you live with that movie? Did you live with that character?” We are not those people. What do you do when you’re doing “A Private War”? Do you stay in that turmoil? Or do you pop in and out?
Pike: I think I can sort of go home and get on the floor and start playing with Legos.
Krasinski: And that’s not even with your kids, just yourself.
Watch the full interview below: