Cannes 2009: RT Interview - Sally Hawkins on We Want Sex

Fresh from the Golden Globe, she announces new project.

by | May 20, 2009 | Comments

The Golden Globe seems to have done Sally Hawkins well. After winning the award for her part in Mike Leigh‘s hilarious Happy-Go-Lucky, having her name attached to any project seems to have become an instant arbiter of interest. As we meet with Hawkins in Cannes, where she’s announcing her role in new film We Want Sex, due to start shooting soon, she’s fielding interest from all the glossies as well as the usual selection of film mags and broadsheets — a sure sign of a star in the making.

Cannes 2009 - John Shearer/WireImage.com
Hawkins at the Cannes photocall

The film, which is being directed by Calendar GirlsNigel Cole (an RT fan, he tells us) and Brit producing favourite Stephen Woolley, is the tale of female workers in the Ford Dagenham plant in the late 60s who’d work long hours in terrible conditions while earning significantly less than their male counterparts. In 1968, when they’re reclassified by Ford as ‘unskilled’ they down tools and march on Westminster with improperly unfurled banners declaring, “We Want Sexual Equality,” from where the title originates. Hawkins explains more.


We Want Sex

[tomatometer]MuzeID=10011399[/tomatometer]

Can you tell us about your character in the film, Rita?

Sally Hawkins: Rita’s brilliant. She’s a fiery, feisty, intelligent and passionate woman in 1968 and she’s suddenly plunged into this world of politics. She’s a housewife, a seamstress and she’s working at the Ford factory in Dagenham suddenly fighting for equal rights and pay and leading this feminist fight in the 1960s.

How important were these women?

SH: Without these women at the Ford factory there’d have been no equal pay act of the 1970s and she galvanises the whole thing. It’s such a brilliant story and one that you think God why hasn’t this been told before? It’s so silly it hasn’t been told. It’s about these housewives being thrust into the world of politics on almost a global scale. Because of the strikes, and it wasn’t just a day strike as it started, they suddenly realised that the fight was much bigger. The more they fought the more they realised how important it was and this weight of responsibility and how hard they had to fight.

It rocked the whole industry and the trade unions at the time. Waves travelled across the world. In Michigan, at the Ford factory there, there was this fat cat sitting at the top of the tree realising this woman in Dagenham piping up was suddenly affecting his work. It’s a great feel-good movie because you realise that without these women the whole industry came to a standstill. They were making the head rests, the interiors of these cars, and so without these women there was no interior and Ford had an image to maintain. It was very skilled work.

Have you met any of the women?

SH: I hope to. I’ve just dipped a toe into the research, really, and now I begin. This is day one. I go back home and do all the work! I know Stephen Woolley has met some of the women, and Rita’s sort of an amalgamation of the many women at the forefront at the time. There’s a few women that were right at the forefront quite similar to Rita, and they talk about it just as passionately today.

Does it make it easier to have those points of reference?

SH: Maybe. I’m not sure it makes it easier, perhaps it’s just different. You still feel a tremendous weight of responsibility. You want them to be pleased and for their voices to be heard. You want to get their particular tone right, and that’s quite an unusual thing. I do feel there’s a responsibility there, and I feel very honoured to be asked to do it.

Will the experience with Mike Leigh help?

SH: I think it will. I can use that experience of being thrust into this world and being forced to think on her feet. It’s such an emotional story and it’s emotionally on many, many levels. Not just politically, where it sort of stirs you, and not just as a woman or for factory workers or workers in hard situations today, it just stirs the emotions. It made me cry when I read it, a few times actually, with joy and also the frustration of it. It’s relevant on a personal level and it’s still relevant today.

We Want Sex goes before cameras on 29th June 2009 and will shoot for seven weeks on location in the UK. RT will have more from the film soon.

Tag Cloud

parents Calendar high school Netflix Christmas movies nbcuniversal Showtime Lucasfilm Disney Plus rotten NBC children's TV FX revenge cars true crime asian-american Exclusive Video IFC Films Schedule DC Comics Crackle WGN mockumentary SundanceTV emmy awards The Walt Disney Company TV One venice Set visit golden globes football period drama screen actors guild Crunchyroll breaking bad comics The CW book ITV TBS Cartoon Network Disney+ Disney Plus Funimation 71st Emmy Awards Fall TV Election 2018 all-time halloween tv Mudbound FX on Hulu remakes docudrama Vudu Sony Pictures Sundance golden globe awards Writers Guild of America new york teaser Nickelodeon supernatural christmas movies Music cancelled TV series 4/20 singing competition Photos Apple TV Plus Emmys finale Disney streaming service renewed TV shows aliens TV renewals Mindy Kaling directors name the review richard e. Grant Red Carpet USA Network TV Trophy Talk Ovation Pop TV YA The Academy Spring TV live action australia book adaptation Pride Month jamie lee curtis Binge Guide Mary Poppins Returns child's play Amazon Prime Video obituary tv talk Disney Channel comedies TCA strong female leads Walt Disney Pictures HBO Go Anna Paquin YouTube Premium screenings 93rd Oscars 007 Comics on TV Disney TCA Winter 2020 Comic Book Nominations Podcast Endgame Captain marvel Alien Creative Arts Emmys anime blockbusters ESPN movie superman 24 frames universal monsters worst movies Paramount Network spider-man Sneak Peek cancelled TV shows Esquire Apple TV+ PlayStation Women's History Month Hallmark Tarantino dark Awards Tour MTV Masterpiece Reality Rom-Com Image Comics franchise women critics Ellie Kemper french Avengers Rock spy thriller what to watch Pirates LGBTQ police drama cartoon First Reviews comic nfl adventure Television Critics Association composers know your critic Rocky Marvel Studios Shudder Sundance Now SDCC GLAAD popular 99% slashers Certified Fresh cinemax theme song harry potter Countdown Mystery boxoffice ghosts Musical 20th Century Fox Horror telelvision El Rey toronto VH1 Infographic Song of Ice and Fire Stephen King news IFC FOX BET Awards 72 Emmy Awards cops james bond sitcom cancelled latino italian VICE festival worst Ghostbusters CNN Nat Geo TV Land thriller based on movie DirecTV documentary spanish language Sci-Fi pirates of the caribbean Black History Month robots disaster Superheroe ABC Signature technology science fiction political drama blockbuster 2019 new zealand quibi Family Video Games Elton John ratings fast and furious japanese fresh dceu First Look criterion rom-coms Biopics comiccon Amazon Prime vampires cooking films Mary Tyler Moore History A&E concert Animation Lionsgate Cannes sequel BBC America Academy Awards Oscars OWN Tomatazos space free movies stop motion Discovery Channel Fox Searchlight stoner documentaries NYCC Polls and Games adaptation laika indiana jones PBS ViacomCBS mission: impossible batman social media target A24 dragons Universal spinoff Summer Warner Bros. kaiju 45 zero dark thirty See It Skip It archives Classic Film Heroines OneApp video on demand razzies foreign MSNBC dramedy Netflix CW Seed Travel Channel Paramount godzilla hispanic San Diego Comic-Con romance Epix war X-Men reboot MCU marvel cinematic universe natural history Mary poppins The Purge politics Freeform Marvel Television Country Hallmark Christmas movies crime thriller Turner BET best CMT sequels monster movies New York Comic Con biography dc heist movie spanish Action Broadway Amazon Studios movies lord of the rings TNT saw Opinion PaleyFest miniseries Acorn TV halloween Rocketman jurassic park BAFTA Lifetime rotten movies we love RT21 Adult Swim hist travel joker serial killer Winners Amazon series 2021 Star Wars Starz award winner Pet Sematary ID green book Reality Competition BBC festivals DGA Emmy Nominations Columbia Pictures kids Film Festival Food Network CBS streaming movies Comedy APB American Society of Cinematographers Interview Kids & Family scorecard cancelled television Holiday ABC Family versus Musicals doctor who comic books superhero President VOD YouTube SXSW crossover Drama cults scary movies 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Black Mirror sports canceled TV shows Tumblr Chilling Adventures of Sabrina The Walking Dead zombie Best and Worst TLC Pop sag awards deadpool Spectrum Originals WarnerMedia DC streaming service king kong Fox News blaxploitation TCA Awards Box Office crime prank chucky Star Trek Comedy Central medical drama Television Academy Extras GoT Martial Arts psychological thriller Valentine's Day Awards USA zombies docuseries 2020 The Arrangement YouTube Red cats reviews Quiz talk show Holidays boxing TV movies game of thrones toy story Cosplay Brie Larson satire 2016 BBC One diversity mutant dogs Thanksgiving rt archives unscripted ABC romantic comedy Paramount Plus Film anthology Winter TV Teen werewolf Premiere Dates elevated horror spain GIFs indie trailers crime drama Character Guide E! Hear Us Out Shondaland Trivia kong south america 21st Century Fox Sundance TV a nightmare on elm street Syfy hollywood Trailer discovery Christmas FXX die hard Baby Yoda 2015 Dark Horse Comics television The Witch HBO hidden camera Toys streaming Chernobyl aapi international Grammys 2017 Tubi Super Bowl Britbox Arrowverse binge Pacific Islander Watching Series TruTV game show Turner Classic Movies Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TCA 2017 facebook LGBT twilight Marathons Pixar nature Apple canceled Fantasy transformers Marvel Hulu Lifetime Christmas movies historical drama National Geographic Spike justice league AMC video Bravo scene in color Year in Review independent Western new star wars movies casting E3 TIFF psycho classics witnail animated DC Universe CBS All Access Peacock TCM RT History HBO Max stand-up comedy Superheroes Legendary black Logo