I like meeting actors for the first time, when their careers are starting to take off, before they’ve erected that protective coating that movie stars often need to survive. I was curious to check out Andrea Riseborough, especially, because she’s one of those actresses–much like Meryl Streep– who vanishes into every role. She’s a chameleon, utterly unrecognizable from one movie to the next. She explains why in our flip cam interview below.
Like most folks, I first discovered the Brit stage actress in 2011 as Wallis Simpson in Madonna’s “W.E.,” and was astonished at how she not only embodied this familiar woman but carried the film, which was critically drubbed, but Riseborough emerged unscathed.
Casting directors have jumped on the RADA-trained actress, who is now 31 and lives in Boise, Idaho with her artist boyfriend. This spring she’s starred in back-to-back movies “Disconnect,” “Welcome to the Punch,” replaced Jessica Chastain as Tom Cruise’s partner in dystopian sci-fi adventure “Oblivion,” and stars opposite Clive Owen in James Marsh’s excellent IRA drama “Shadow Dancer.” (TOH review here.)
While she liked the original script, she found it a bit talky, she admits, and traveled to Belfast, Northern Ireland to add some first-hand research to her character, an IRA terrorist who turns into an MI5 informant at the behest of agent Clive Owen, in order to stay with her young child and not go to prison. In the end, she found that less was more in the dialogue department. Her best moments are silent.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu brought her in to play Michael Keaton’s sexy younger girlfriend in the black comedy “Birdman,” which is shooting in New York. And there’s much more in Riseborough’s starry future.