Sienna Miller may be tabloid fodder, but while she’s at work she clearly seeks challenging material, wether she’s playing Warhol Factory Girl Edie Sedgewick or A-lister Katya in Steve Buscemi‘s Interview. Could The Edge of Love, the tale of the steamy relationships between Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and three friends, be her finest role yet? Alongside Keira Knightley, Cillian Murphy and Matthew Rhys, Miller has been receiving impressive notices from critics.
How much do you think they had to censor the Dylan Thomas story for the film?
Sienna Miller: It’s a window on their lives, it was a moment in time and it was more about the relationship and the dynamic between these couples. It’s more about friendship and betrayal than love, than the dark things we all find fascinating, and I think it’s not intending to be a straightforward biopic. It’s not just about Dylan Thomas, it’s about real people, who happen to know, well, a fantastic poet, but the relationship between them and him, and relationships in general.
Did you research Caitlin at all? Because with Dylan Thomas it’s probably easier than most, but maybe not so much with her?
SM: It’s hard to find; I mean, she wrote a book. I got this job two weeks before shooting, so normally I would have read as much as possible, but I had no time to prepare, so I was just working on the accent, having the rehearsals and script readings. I read the book that Caitlin had written, and I met her daughter. I flew back from a holiday early and so I didn’t have time to do as much, but the script was so well developed that everything you needed was there. It’s just the whole kind-of actor-angst that makes us need to know everything.
Are you attracted to these wild-child bohemian characters?
SM: I think everyone is, I think it’s evident in every walk of life. I feel that people are always fascinated by destructive people; I want to understand what makes people that way. There’s a certain romantic element to people who’ve abandoned that. I do end up playing quite tragic people, but then I do play other roles and we forget about that.
We’re about to see you in G.I. Joe – can you still find these challenging, interesting characters in big event movies like that?
SM: Yeah, definitely. Everything’s a challenge; the challenge for me in that was trying to be this sort of villain, with guns. I’ve never held a gun, and training, learning fights; it was a whole new experience. Normally I’ve just got my hat and bag, and having to go through all of that, the gym, I was horrified. I had my MP7 rifle, and my two guns, and it was great. Great gun-girl fights. A lot of it was dress-up, and it’s about being able to play, for me, and I get paid for it.
There was lots of playing on the set with Keira, wasn’t there? Do you have that kind of relationship with her?
SM: Yeah, we’re really, really close. I mean, I went to boarding school when I was eight, I think I’ve grown up a different kind of woman. There are a lot of things I don’t really understand or know how to relate to, but she’s great, she’s fantastic. It was just this great time, we were in this big, lavish house, running around in our pajamas with my dogs. John [Maybury, the director] hated it. John doesn’t get the rural thing; but we were going for these walks…
I think it’s necessary to have fun; if I’ve got a late call, and I have a few glasses of wine, I think that’s the way we’ve been brought up in this country, and I think it’s acceptable. No one’s stupid or out of control.
Dylan Thomas isn’t very likeable in this film, because of what he does. Do you think there was a certain kind of fixation on that with him, but not so much for Caitlin?
SM: I don’t think she cared, that was what was so great. She was very honest about what she did, she did sleep with people, but because she needed to. But at the heart of it all, the couple were madly in love. And you can understand this, from the way John tells the story, but still there’s a huge love. And the scene over the car is, somehow, really powerful; these two women and they know there’s this love problem. It’s just this very mature way of dealing with this awful situation and I think it’s beautifully told by John.
With this, G.I. Joe and Nottingham, things seem to be happening for you, finally.
SM: Yeah. I hope through putting in a lot of hard work, more than anything. I’ve really consciously made the decision to accept roles that are more challenging. But there’s a big tabloid perception, that’s a very hard thing to overcome, and I’ve worked really hard. So hopefully it’s because of that. I think it’s because of that.
Do you think you’ll be working with John Maybury again in the near future?
SM: Yeah. We were talking about it, it’s just about figuring out dates and availability. I’ve not got a film that’s slotting in August till December. John’s got something planned, but we were going to do something in September. I have a role in Nottingham, as Maid Marion, but because of the actor’s strike, nothing’s clear because we need the summer leaves for that in England, and if not September we’ll have to push it a year, so it’s very much dependent on that and it’s very difficult timing.
Check out our interview with Miller’s co-star, Keira Knightley, right here.