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Rosamund Pike talks about fighting injustice

Made in Dagenham
27 September 2010

Stunning British actress Rosamund Pike was in London last week to promote her new film Made in Dagenham which hits UK Cinemas October 1st. Rosamund stars as Lisa Hopkins a high class wife, who is treated like a fool even though she is well educated in the new British comedy, based on the true story of the Ford factory workers, whose pay strike in 1968 lead to the Equal Pay Act.


Made in Dagenham Film Page


Were you familiar with the story before?

No, I don’t think many people knew the story. Steven Wooley heard it on the radio and got the idea for it. It’s not taught in school. They start with womens equality from when they got the vote. This wasnt a nationwide movement, it was something small, they didnt seek fame and attention for it. It started off with the simple fact that they wanted their work to be classified as skilled.


Do you think its going to be seen as a film just for women?

No, not at all. I have seen it with men who have been in floods of tears about it. I think it resinates a lot of people and perhaps their own family that haven’t realised their own potential. Its a film about equal pay and euql pay is one fascit of that really. Like my character, she realises that what she dreamed of at twenty, wasn’t realised by the time she was thirty one.


Is there anything that you feel so passionate about that you would break the rules for?

That’s a good question… I don’t know, have I ever? Yeah, but probably not on a public level, any sort of injustice I can fight sort of like a dog, you know, I’m not frightened to be outspoken, and I can get very angry. But I don’t think anger is seen as feminine, or British. If I see something written in the press, liable I really loathe and I probably would speak out about that whether it was me or someone else.


Yeah, but I’m learning to be more outspoken in terms of rights anyway, you know when you start off in this business everyone’s self employed, and self employment can be wonderfully freeing or it could mean that you spend your life being under valued or under paid and you have to rewrite the rules a bit, until you investigate what your contract is, only now I have the courage to do that and work out how things can be better and how things can work, when you start self employed you are thankful to get anything, and then you think ‘I’m not going to mention the money because that’s embarrassing. You know it’s important to value yourself, it’s a film about valuing yourself.


Do you find it amusing to validate yourself?

No, not particularly, man has to do it, and it’s expected, but a woman does it nd she’s hard bitten or hard nosed. But no, I’m learning to, I’ve got a manager whose a woman, which sort of just helps. I’ve got my agent, whose a woman too, so it’s quite empowering. I think a good negotiator is a woman, can often be better than a man because men don’t really know how to deal with a woman that’s a fierce negotiator.


Is that what makes the movie still relevant to you today?

I don’t know if it matters  that it’s relevant or not, it’s just a really good story, sometimes it’s just good to be a simple story teller and that’s ok. But, you know in our business it’s funny, because a man couldn’t do my job… literally, you know it’s probably the only profession and sport too where men cannot do women’s jobs.
In music, when they started auditioning for orchestras they started to have blind auditions so they can’t see the sex of the person playing and just listening to the performance, which I think is really interesting, I suppose it’s the same with written work, the candidates, you never know what the sex is of the person.


You filmed in Dagenham, what are the people there like, still as fiesty and ambitious?

Well we filmed all over, we filmed on the Mardag Estate, which was opened up for us, that’s where Sally Hawkins’ character lived. I think they must be pretty self assured, they weren’t really impressed by the filming. You can go to more afferent areas and they are more impressed, but they seemed like they had seen it all before, which I kind of liked because film productions can sometimes get away with murder, like they would say “we are just shutting down this road for half an hour”, in Chelsea and other places they are like fine ok, but up there they were like ‘You’re having a laugh mate!” they would just drive through, and I really like the attitude because film companies do cause a lot of chaos.


Did you meet any of the actual women?

No, Unfortunately no I didn’t.


How did the film perform in Toronto?

I think it did really well, I think it got a mediumly warm review, sort of like what you said ‘really good film, solid, whatever. But I was there with two films you see, and the other film I have a bigger role in, so I wasn’t so focused on this one.

I did the film, because this characters really interesting, because without her it’s a very different film; without her it’s a film about the working class women’s struggle but with her it’s about all women fighting for something, and I thought you really want a character that influences the scope of the film that’s interesting to me.


We have to ask about the fashion, what is it you love and hate abot 60’s fashion?

I love the make up, because I think it suits everybody, men love it, women love it, so I think it’s really a win win situation. It’s not very good on your hair, the sort of “bee hive” thing but it’s funny, it’s quite a done look, but I find it quite sexy. You know, because now-a-days done looks aren’t considered sexy, but I was thinking it was kind of a winning combination; the very heavy eyes and pushing away the lips, it was kind of a warm innocence look, I love it. And the shift dresses they sort of flattered people without being figure hugging.


We are from The Fan Carpet, so we would like to know who or what are you a fan of?

Meryl Streep. I often ask myself, would Meryl Streep do this?


What was the atmosphere like on set?

It was amazing! It was a real team feeling, and a lot of the crew I had done An Education with, so it’s kind of a nice little fraternity of people doing these really cool British films. All of my scenes were with Sally, but the girls had a really wild camaraderie, I think they filmed all the factory scenes in Wales somewhere and they had a really wild time. I think Sally was the only well behaved one… according to her.


So you were in Toronto for Barney’s Version, how was that to film with Paul Giamatti?

That was a great experience. It’s a lovely film, I’m really proud of it, Paul and I play lovers in it and we have to age over time, so I get to age in it. It’s a very different character to play.


What’s next for you?

I start shooting with Rowan Atkinson on Johnny English, An Education opened all these comedy doors, I mentioned Big Year and then Rowan asked me to be in hiis film so I said yes because you don’t get to work with two comedy geniuses in the same year, everyone’s going to be hugely disappointed because I’m not funny at all. I can hold my own, you kind of get the vote of confidence when they ask you to be in it.