rosamund pike gone girlRosamund Pike isn't necessarily a name you're familiar with now. But get familiar, because she's about to be a huge star. Pike has essayed small but memorable roles in "Pride and Prejudice" (interesting biographical aside: she was once engaged to this film's director, the insanely talented Joe Wright), "Jack Reacher," and "The World's End," but she was always just shy of landing that breakthrough role that would make her a household name.

Well, with this week's "Gone Girl," directed by David Fincher, she has that role.

As Amy Dunne, a woman who mysteriously vanishes on her fifth wedding anniversary (to a hunky, if somewhat untrustworthy, Ben Affleck), Pike is called upon to showcase a whole wealth of emotions and sides to her performance and she does so nimbly and with grace and humor. She is, in fact, amazing.

We got to sit down with Pike and talk about when she knew that she had gotten the role, what she thinks of the charges against the movie being misogynist, and whether or not anyone besides Brad Pitt is afforded the luxury of working with Fincher twice.


Moviefone: How familiar were you with the book beforehand?

Rosamund Pike: I'd heard about it. I knew about it. I'd heard everybody analyzing it and obsessing about it and saying, "Oh have you read this?" And obviously it got under everybody's skin -- both guys and girls. I had just had my baby when it came out, which is when you mix six months of popular culture. Then I read it when I had heard that Fincher wanted to talk to me about this book. It was like reading in a very exclusive book club of two. I'd read a few chapters and then discuss it with David Fincher, which is a pretty good way to read the book. It was really exciting.

What was that audition process like? Every once in a while we'd hear that a number of actresses were up for the role.

Yeah, I'm not sure that's true. He has such a singular way of casting. There is a bunch of rumormongering going on. It was one of the most protected lines of communication I had ever experienced. I think, for the first time ever, I maybe knew a bit more than the community at large. Usually, as actors, you're the last to know about anything and there are 101 things and you're being misled. That's usually the experience. But this time I knew when I flew to St. Louis to meet with David that nobody knew I had gone. It was totally top secret, just to give us some space and to let him go through his mental process and analysis and X-raying of me. So the audition process is hours and hours of conversation.

When you went to St. Louis, did you know you were a lock?

No. It was like, "I'm seriously thinking about you, let's chat." But it's not a done deal. Then a few days later it was like, "Maybe we should read these few lines." Then it was Skype. Then it was, "Let's get everyone I'm thinking of to do a read through on Skype." Except it wasn't Skype, it was this thing called Zoom, where everyone's face appears as a bar on the top and anyone who is speaking gets to fill the screen. It's quite useful for a read-through.

When did you know that you had gotten it?

When somebody called and said, "We're going to give you an offer." So that is a little while after that. You feel like you're in serious consideration but until there's an offer on the table there's a 101 things that could juggernaut you out of the way.

One of the big differences between the book and the movie is that Amy is older than Nick in the book, which was an interesting dynamic.

Was she older?


I don't remember that. That's what happens -- you read it and then you forget. What is she 38 or something and he's 35? Maybe. I hadn't thought about that. Do you think that's crucial?

I don't know about crucial, but it certainly gives the relationship a different dynamic.

Although most guys get to play younger and most girls get to play older, don't they? What is it -- Ben and his twin sister are 12 years apart in age?

Were there any femme fatales you looked to?

No, I tried. I looked at all the usual suspects. But I just kept thinking, "Well, that's not really it." She does seem different, for me. It's the kind of protean shifting. I wanted to make her real and locate her behavior in some definite reality. She's not a fantasist. She's a narcissist but she's not a fantasist. All of Gillian's books come from a place where a child, usually the protagonist, where she's suffered a certain kind of abuse done to her by her parents. And it might not necessarily be the kind of abuse that we customarily think about it, but the parents have cracked the vase of these young girls that have indelibly influenced the adults they've become and left a residual anger hanging around. For Amy, it's that kind of unearned fame that comes from this character that her parents wrote, Amazing Amy. And anyone that gets an unearned public image results in that mixture of feeling entitled and also redundant. It gives you quite a fragile sense of self.

Have you listened to any of the criticisms that the movie is somehow misogynist, even though a woman wrote the book and movie?

I think it's ridiculous. I think it's not the agenda. Nor does she have a feminist agenda. Somebody asked me if there was a feminist agenda and I said, "No, Amy is an only child who goes out entirely for herself." She's not doing anything for the benefit of anybody other than herself, really. I just think it's irrelevant. It's interesting, sure, but ultimately it's irrelevant.

There are sort of different Amys in this movie. Was it hard keeping those threads of her personality straight?

It was exhausting. I think it would be exhausting to be Amy for real. There's no authentic self there. There's no sit down, shooting the crap and having a beer. She can play that person but she's not Margot. I feel that it is exhausting. It's the constant self-analysis. It's the person who doesn't say anything without analyzing how it comes across. It's really tiring. But she is at least trying to accomplish something in every scene and you've got that to hold onto -- meeting Nick at the party she's thinking, "Okay, he passed that first hurdle... Let's try another one." But it's not relaxing, simple flirtation. There's an agenda.

Speaking of exhausting, working with David Fincher must have been tiring. You hear these stories of 75 takes of somebody walking through a doorway or whatever. What was that experience like?

Great for people who wear those bands who are trying to clock up footsteps, right? "Yes, I've done 6 miles on this take!" Yeah, you get into this zone where you're like, "Okay,I'm at take 15, I'm limbering up." It's a good feeling, funnily enough. It gives you a freedom. And it makes you think how you walk through doors. Then you become hyper-aware of people and how they stand and all of that stuff. It gives you freedom and space. What I hate is, "We have to do this in the next 20 minutes and you have 3 takes to get it." That's when you freeze up and bring all of your shit into it.

So you'd do it again if he called you up tomorrow?

Well, yes. But he wouldn't... unless you're Brad Pitt.

Jared Leto he's done two with.

But women?

Well, Rooney. He's done two with her and they're about to do a spy movie together called "Red Sparrow."

A spy movie? Oh, I thought you said "Spider-Man" movie.

There was a lot of talk while you were making the movie about how different the ending would be. But it wound up being pretty similar. Did you shoot some extra stuff that deviated more wildly?

No. I think it got misconstrued. Fincher said that Gillian is the type of writer who would be prepared to throw out the third act. She's a grafter. She's a hard worker. That's what he likes. I do think that the idea that they bring Ellen Abbott, the vicious harpie of a news reporter into the fold, I do think that's a brilliant stroke of writing. And that's not in the book. I think it's a very clever way of knitting everything together and launching into "Amazing Amy and the Humbled Husband." Then the crux scene where we really dissect what marriage is, I think that was a scene that was written somewhat differently. But the night before we decided we needed to be expressing some different ideas. So we wrote that scene on the morning of -- so David and I and Gillian, via email, worked that out. I think that's the crucial part of the marriage question. The time you liked yourself was the time you were trying to impress someone else.

"Gone Girl" opens everywhere October 5.

categories Interviews, Movies