Ms. Mortimer Returns to Sundance
by Paul Fischer
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Emily Mortimer sits on a corner chair in one of the many overcrowded venues to talk about Transsiberian, a thriller in which she and Woody Harrelson star as married couple on a train traveling to Moscow, who get involved with a pair of drug smugglers.
“It was such fun doing it. I mean, it was an incredibly strange experience for me, unlike any other I’ve really had on film, because I got the job about two days before they started shooting and I had no time to think about it. Normally I really worry and part of my sort of getting ready to do a film is spending a lot of time thinking about it, so I literally arrived having basically just read a script once. I was into the first day of shooting and I had to sort of hold my nose and jump and freefall kind of through the whole experience of this film. Luckily, there was Brad there to kind of catch me, so it was really hairy. But in some ways, it was kind of relaxing, because there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t have done anything about it and so as a result, it was kind of amazing, the kind of liberating, in some ways.” Mortimer says she loved doing as thriller. “The whole thriller element of it, the whole genre movie element, I loved and that’s what I love about the film. I love that it is a genre film, but it kind of subverts it and the morality of the film is so kind of uneasy, that it stands as something more interesting. It becomes more interesting than just a thriller.”
As a mother, Mortimer says she tries to be as picky as she can when picking something to do. “Well, I’m starting to realize that I have to be picky now and I want to be now. I’ve had a year of pretty much back-to-back work. I did Lars and then this, and then Pink Panther and Red Belt, the David Mamet movie. And I’m doing a play now.” That will be followed by the next Martin Scorsese movie Shelter Island. Mortimer also says that in Pink Panther, Steve Martin will be in his element. “He’s really hit his stride with this one, I think. I feel like just the pleasure he gets out of this part is so palpable and there were moments of just complete genius, I think, on the set with Steve. He plays the Pope at one point and dresses up as the Pope and it’s just the most shockingly sacrilegious kind of moment, and there are loads of them. There are loads of set pieces in this one with Steve just being more brilliant than ever and it was a pleasure to watch him do it. I hope that people sort of take this, this sort of series to their heart with this movie. I think that they will. I think the first one took a lot of getting over the Sellers thing. People loved the originals, and have a very protective attitude towards them, but I hope this one around, a bit of that is dispelled, because Steve’s amazing in the part, and deserves a lot of credit.”
Paul Fischer is originally from Australia. Now he is an interviewer and film critic living in Hollywood.
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