I did The Seagull, the Chekhov play, on Broadway, a couple of years ago, and I had done it in London, and I became completely obsessed with the character, Nina, that I played in that. She's an actress. I couldn't find a play after that, that I wanted to do, because I couldn't think of doing anything else. Every part is a disappointment, once you've done that part.
I didn't want to do a costume drama. It's a great thing to do, but I've done them, and I didn't want to do the same thing again. Of course, costume dramas can be from all different eras, but at the time, I just felt very sure that I didn't want to be boxed in as an English actress. I wanted to be an actress, rather than an English actress.
I was quite straight-laced. I was quite academic until I was about 14 and then I went to boarding school where I had the opportunity to continue to be very academic, but got less interested in it and became more involved in acting. And then when I was applying for universities I used a couple of places on my UCAS form to apply for drama school without telling anyone... but didn't get into drama school. But that was the most rebellious thing I did
Leonardo is the most incredible actor, on the planet, with a couple of people alongside him. Getting to act with him is just [amazing]. I walked away from my audition for that and I couldn't believe that I'd been acting with him. I've worked with amazing people, but my friends freak out that I'm working with him. I freak out in a geeky acting way. They freak out in a starstruck way. He's Leonardo DiCaprio, and his fame is so big. That's a complete tangent about that.
I've never been obsessed with celebrity or star-struck or anything. I met Penelope Cruz when we were in Toronto, who I think is a goddess and an unbelievable actress, and she introduced herself. As she walked away from the table I had to take a deep breath, which was strange because I've never had that with anyone.
People always say, "You played such a strong character." I remember someone said that to me when I played a role in Shame, and she was a suicidal mess. I said, "She's not strong at all; she's incredibly weak." But "strong" to people means "real." It means you believe that's a person who exists, as opposed to some two-dimensional depiction of women.
When I went to the Oscars - the only time I've ever been to the Oscars - a few years ago, I wore this Prada dress covered in cooking utensils. I got drunk at the end of the night and started ripping them off and giving them as presents to people, so that was fun. I'm pretty sure that was the point of it, that's how Miuccia meant for it to go I'm sure.
I did Wall Street, and then everything that happened with An Education took me up until March. I didn't want to work during that because there was just so much stuff. I didn't realize you had to go to so many parties. It was a nightmare! I had to go to all these parties! The glamour!