Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Film: Sienna Miller's Factory Girl Q&A

I got a little face time with the British actress Sienna Miller last week when she came to LA for supporting interviews for her upcoming flick Factory Girl in which the director George Hickenlooper, best known for writing and directing the documentary The Mayor of the Sunset (a great film if you're into music history, lore )...In Factory he delves into the life of Edie Sedgwick (Miller) who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and moved to New York City in the mid-'60s. Sedgwick quickly established herself in the upper echelons of artsy Manhattan by becoming fast friends with Andy Warhol (Guy Pearce) and, thanks to her good looks and a little help from the famed fashionista Diana Vreeland (Illeana Douglas), made the covers of popular magazines like Life and's some of what took place last week

Q: So what did you think of this role? Was it a "role-of-a-lifetime" kind of thing or what?

Sienna Miller: I think so. I think that there are just very few roles, especially when you're my age, that have substance and that are that interesting and that [Edie Sedgwick] was just such a fascinating character and there's such a huge arc in the film-- that was rare. I just felt like I really had enough [background] to start at one place and end up at a very, very different place. And it was emotionally challenging but that was completely rewarding as an actress as well. It was great.

Q: This is a fascinating take on fame as well. What's your opinion on this for yourself since you are out there-- how does that affect your personal life? A re you dating anyone right now?

SM: With fame-- I don't have assistants, I don't have a security guard, I live a very, very normal life...I think that, obviously, there are aspects of it that are difficult to deal with but I don't read, I don't know what a blog is-- people come up to me and ask me about blogs and I have no idea. I don't look myself up and I don't read US weekly...I certainly haven't changed at all, I have my same friends I grew up with, I have my dogs, my mom-- I'm not comfortable having that kind of attention so I don't draw it to me...but I'm single at the moment.

Q: Edie was like the party girl and we see a lot of that going on in the media these days with young celebrities, etc. What do you think the lesson should be to those who watch this story?

SM: I don't really have an opinion about them, I think everyone's entitled to their own decisions and I also think that, you know, that 18, 19 year old girls all over the world are doing what those girls [in the media] are doing, they're just not getting photographed doing it. So, I think it's healthy that girls should go out and want to have fun-- I'm not going to judge anyone. And I think that Edie was different-- she had this really psychologically disturbed upbringing-- and reality was just a very hard place for her to exist in, so taking drugs and escaping from that made sense because she was given valium at the age of 8 when she was crying, to calm her down, you know and that was her world. And also, [in] the 60s, it was just a revolutionary time and they were shooting up amphetamines, I mean, I don't know if many young girls were having amphetamine shots like they could just go down the street to a doctor's office and get them. So, it was a different world but, I feel like I kind of empathized with why behaved the way she did, in a way.

Q: Was it difficult for you to develop her as a character, getting her physical ticks, laughter , etc. down?

SM: She just had this beautiful -- I mean a lot to the people that I met [who knew her personally], said that she had this amazing voice. And it's deeper than mine, so I had to kind of growl a bit more and smoke a lot of cigarettes-- oh God, I shouldn't have said that -- I listened to tapes, I went to the Royal Museum and they gave me a CD. The thing about that era, that time, was that they documented everything so well-- so [Andy] Warhol used to often tape his phone conversations, his normal conversations that he'd have with with Edie even when they were just [about] watching a movie or in a cafe or in a car and so I had this CD of all of her conversations and she just had this interesting speech pattern and I worked with this guy that coached (speech) and I did a few sessions with him but I just listened to it over and over and she was just so very mannered and had that funny laugh (laughs like Edie Sedgwick), you know what I mean, and I just worked on her for about a year, [to embody] her total character

Q: Do you think that Edie could've been saved?

SM: That's really hard-- I feel like, I've heard the stories-- he brother actually told me-- that she had this lifeline [in the palm of her hand and it was broken and I think they say it in the film but this palmist, this palm [reading] person was reading her at the time and she reads it and just kind of froze and Edie just says "I know, that's why I'm living life [to the fullest]" and I think she had this really fatalistic sense about herself and she knew that she was going to die young, she just knew this and her brother kind of confirmed this. So I think she knew instinctually that she wasn't going to live for long and that why she kind of exploded. Maybe she could've been saved but I feel that she was totally quite headstrong and made those decisions. And I don't know, I can't think that she couldn't been and wasn't but I do think people did try but she was kind of far gone by that point.

Q: Did you get a body double for the nude scenes?

SM: No, I didn't.

Q: You'll be the total envy of every woman who sees this.

SM: (laughs) No, no, no-- they lighted for hours so that they'd hide every lump and bump and spray your bum so that it's really nice-- it's not like that in real life...they put makeup all over your body so, you know, you look like you have a nice bum which normally is not the same. They put makeup on it and they smooth it out, you know, if it's a little stretch-marky--

Q: -- was that hard for you to go through?

SM: It's not the easiest thing to do but I mean, in a way, I feel like it was important to see her as this glamorous thing that maybe men and women looked to as really attractive and then when you see, at the end of the film, and she's smacked out on the bed and she's this mess, you get the heartbreak of it [all] a little more. And I also believe that if you're going to do a love scene, you might as well do it [in the nude] because people don't have sex with bras on, you know, you might as well [undress] or don't do [the scene] and I'm European but I'm not comfortable...People come up to me and are like, 'oh God, you're so comfortable with your body', and I'm not.

Q: How about the fashion in the film, did it inspire you and your own fashion sense at all?

SM: I think I'm really inspired, generally, by the 60s. I think that it was just such an interesting era and it was such a revolutionary time and I love the music. I feel like I was born too late, that whole decade is just fascinating to me, [Sedgewick] was great, she just had her own thing and the funny thing about Edie is that the reason that she wore those leotards and black tights was because her exercise was just jazz ballet that she'd do in her apartment, she wore those tights and the leotards and then she just couldn't be bothered to change [outfits] so she'd just throw a coat over the top. And suddenly everyone started wearing leotards and the like, so she just sort of stumbled into it. But I really admire her sense of individuality.

Q: Have you seen the finished film yet?

SM: Yeah, just once.

Q: So what do you think of the film's portrayal of the 60s-- as it shows a darker side of that time than what most would care to remember.

SM: I think that the Factory was kind of dark and I think that it was this place for misfits and really vibrant, colorful people but I've heard from the people that were there that it was a very intense scene. And I think that comes across in the film, it's really hard for me, having made it-- and I think it's hard for anyone who's been in a film to be objective about it-- you know, you have your own personal memories that kind of fog your perception of what it is but I think, on the whole-- well, I saw Edie's brother last night and he watched it and he said that we got it, that we nailed it. So, if everyone else in the world doesn't like it, and he does, then I'm [still] sure that we did an okay job.

Q: You said earlier that you get a bit uncomfortable getting your body filmed but you're also one of the world's sex symbols, lets be real, are you self-conscious about any it at alll?

SM: I don't think that I am. (laughs)

Q: Well you are. Are you at all self-conscious about all of that? Are you in the gym everyday, working out?

SM: No, no, I don't go to the gym, I'm not lazy, I'm quite an energetic person but I don't work out and I do eat a lot of food. And I just think that I've got a high metabolism but I know that one day, I'm going to wake up and my boobs will be down there (pointing to knees) and my bum will be on the floor. I mean, I'm still young and I do run around a lot but I'm not, particularly, healthy (conscious) I don't (just) eat salads and things-- I like fat coffee instead of skinny. I'm just quite comfortable, I mean, I've just had a normal life so I feel like I'm fine with who I am. I'm not under any delusions or deceptions. I don't feel glamorous at all. I think that if I wanted to live that life, then I'm doing the right thing where you can poke and prod yourself with hair and makeup. But I just can't be bothered, really, with all of that. So, it's fun, now and then, to go through hair and makeup but I couldn't live with having to do that every day...This is me, it's very nice to be glamorized and made up and all of that but it's not a real thing. You know, I remember I was being shot [for a magazine cover] and I was sort of arched in back a bit and I remember seeing these little lumpy bits and I was like (gasps), you know, but they covered it up [digitally for the cover] and it's like this perfect ass and, with all those magazines, I think it's important for young people to know that it's a nice perception but it's not real. They do airbrushing on it and stretch it out a bit.

Q: Edie Sedgwick was a socialite and you're an actress but what would you be doing if you weren't acting?

SM: I wanted to be an archeologist, actually. I know it sounds weird but I did...maybe something to do with art. I never really allowed myself, if I'm honest, to think about doing anything else, so it's hard to understand. I'd probably be at university reading English Literature.

Q: Let's circle back right quick, you'd mentioned the soundtrack before, what music are you listening to now?

SM: I listen to Rock a lot, I listen to the Stones, the Kinks and a lot of that music. I like the Arctic Monkeys, I'm kind of more of a Rock and Roll girl. Although, I saw Mos Def play the other day and I'm very into him...

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