Happy New Year everyone! (I know it’s a little late to say that, but given that this the first news update of 2017, I figured why not). Rebecca was featured in yesterday’s edition of The Times–promoting the upcoming UK release of Christine and sharing some insight on dementia, which her father, Sir Peter Hall, was diagnosed with several years ago.
THE TIMES – ‘I have melancholy resting face,” the actress Rebecca Hall, 34, says, apologising. It’s true that her angular face — which has been compared to a Modigliani painting — can look severe in repose. However, when larking about, she looks like a beautiful tomboy.
There’s also a new glow of happiness, which she puts down to life with her new husband, the American actor Morgan Spector (whom viewers of Boardwalk Empire will know as Frank Capone). Hall never thought she would get married and swore she would never date an actor. After years of a peripatetic actor’s life, though, she has finally put down roots. They married in New York in September 2015. Home is now Brooklyn with Spector and their two cats, Max and Viv. “It’s so unfair when people talk about crazy cat ladies. I know plenty of men who have cats. My husband got me into cats and I love them so much.”
The marriage took everybody by surprise. Many people seemed to think that Hall was still with the British director Sam Mendes. After Mendes’s six-year marriage to Kate Winslet broke up in 2010, Hall was forced to deny that she and Mendes, a close friend, were in a relationship.
They had worked together intensively on the Bridge Project for which Mendes took Shakespeare and Chekhov around the globe using a British/American company that included Ethan Hawke and Simon Russell Beale (with Hall cast as Varya in The Cherry Orchard and Hermione in The Winter’s Tale). The rumours went away, but quietly, a year after his divorce, they got together.Read More
THE WRAP – “Christine” chronicles the mental struggles of television reporter Christine Chubbuck, who shot herself during a live broadcast in 1974. But actress Rebecca Hall, who is riveting as Chubbuck in the dark drama from director Antonio Campos, says that’s not all the film has to offer — it also highlights the overall issue of mental health.
“I think that the film does something really good for society,” Hall told TheWrap. “People have come up to me and said, “Thank you for making this film,’ or in tears about the effect it’s had on them, which makes me proud that it exists.”
“I want people to go see it because there is a misunderstanding that this will be a horribly depressing movie about someone who can’t get out of bed — that’s a misconception about depression. Often, people with depression are engaged in a very active fight to live. And that’s what you are witnessing. It’s disturbing, yes, but it doesn’t make you flatline.”
Hall only had about 15 minutes of footage of Chubbuck to study during her preparation for the film, but she said the lack of first-hand material didn’t hamper her. “The truth is, there isn’t really anyone who doesn’t have someone in their circle who is affected by mental health issues,” she said.
“So it’s not like I didn’t have things to draw on.”Read More
Rebecca is featured as part of the Best Movies and Performances of 2016 feature for DuJour–and I’ve uploaded the gorgeous new photoshoot to the gallery. In case you can’t tell, I’m kind of in love with these photos.
DUJOUR – “I think that if anyone looks at Christine from a distance and goes, ‘Oh how fascinating, how macabre,’ it’s dangerous. Even though she is an unusual character who did a shocking thing [the newscaster shot herself on air], it was a statement that came out of deep pain and suffering. It’s unthinkable in the abstract, but I think the film allows you access to try and understand how she could have gotten to that point. It walks alongside her and observes her, but also allows space for everything that can never be known about anyone. To me, Christine feels like a sort of harbinger of a lot of things we talk about now, whether it’s mental health issues or suicide. And the biggest tragedy for me is that, for all of her constant self-monitoring and her performance of how she thinks she will be acceptable in the world, she is actually loved by the people around her. But she can’t see that, and doesn’t feel like she will ever be understood by anyone.”
Photoshoots and Portraits > Sessions > Photoshoots and Portraits from 2016 > Session 009 – DuJour
THE INDEPENDENT – After Rebecca Hall finished shooting the final scene of Christine, her new film about the American newsreader Christine Chubbuck – who blew her brains out on live television in 1974 – she got into a car. The movie, a small, independent production financed with money Hall helped raise, couldn’t afford on-set trailers and, still caked in fake blood, Hall couldn’t shower till she got home. “I just remember really shaking for a long time as I washed the blood off,” she says. “Being rigged to a machine that pumps blood, and holding a gun and putting it to your head – it’s like your body doesn’t actually know it’s fake. Because, if I’m doing my job correctly, I’ve convinced my brain that it’s real. The adrenaline response is sort of nuts. You sit under the shower for a bit going ‘What the hell is going on?’”
She laughs as we sit eating salad in a cafe in Brooklyn Heights in New York, not far from where she lives. Hall doesn’t want to seem melodramatic, but there’s no doubting her commitment to Chubbuck’s story. “I want to champion this film more than I’ve ever wanted to champion anything,” she says. Tall, beautiful, with sad eyes and a Modigliani face, Hall has a manner that combines boldness with introspection – a mixture key to all her performances, particularly the rawness and fragility she displays in Christine, which is on in selected cinemas now.
Chubbuck’s death has become a gruesome internet meme – the holy grail of online snuff ghouls. But contrary to rumour, there are no videos of her broadcast on 15 July, 1974, when, a few weeks before her 30th birthday, she read a statement on air. “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color”, she said, “you are going to see another first: attempted suicide”. Then she pulled a revolver from below the desk, placed it behind her right ear and pulled the trigger. Why would she describe it as an ‘attempted’ suicide, I ask – was it a sign that she didn’t want it to succeed?
“I don’t know. I was curious about that too, ” says Hall. “I will never know. No one will. But my hunch is that she was just being a good journalist – because she might not have been successful.”Read More
I’ve updated the gallery with outtakes and scans of Rebecca’s striking cover photoshoot for AMAZING–a quarterly fashion and culture magazine. She looks incredible, right? I’ve managed to transcribe part of the interview, which can be read below. In it Rebecca discusses her role in Christine, her favorite books and authors, and her childhood.
Magazine Scans > Scans from 2016 > No.3 – Amazing Magazine
Photoshoots and Portraits > Sessions > Photoshoots and Portraits from 2016 > Session 001 – Amazing Magazine
Born in London to Sir Peter Hall, the British stage director and founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and to American opera singer Maria Ewing, it comes as no surprise that Hall has pursued an accomplished acting career across film and stage.
There is one prismatic quality to Hall’s eclectic body of work, one where openness and curious instinct has led to roles which traverse a wide and colorful spectrum of emotion and genre. In 2010, Hall won the BAFTA TV Award for her work in Paul Garland’s miniseries Red Riding, and her turn in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona saw her nominated for a Golden Globe Award. She has inhabited an array of characters – having played a jet-set girlfriend in Frost/Nixon, an author proving supernatural hoaxes in the ghost story The Awakening, and a scientist in the blockbuster Iron Man 3.Read More
W MAGAZINE – When 34-year-old Rebecca Hall first came to Cannes in 2008 for Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (in which she played Vicky), she didn’t even bring a dress to walk the carpet. “I got to Cannes and was like ‘wow, this is a huge thing…’ but I learned from my mistake!” quips Hall, who’s saving grace was Alberta Ferretti who came to the rescue at the last minute. With that behind her, the London-born actress returned to the Grand Palais, fully equipped in Dior Couture, for her film “The BFG,” Steven Spielberg’s remake of Roald Dahl’s 1982 childhood classic. Shot in Vancouver, the film follows an orphan named Sophie who teams up with the Big Friendly Giant to defend the world against evil people-eating giants. Hall plays Mary, the Queen of England’s maid, who comes to Sophie’s rescue. Hall lovingly describes her character as “a quite rotund, fleshy maid with a feather duster,” and promises that she bears no similarities to her character besides her English origin. “I brought my own idea of how I see the world to the character,” she begins. “Perhaps our warmth maybe similar, but beyond that no. She’s frightfully British and put together – she wears tweed and this crazy ’80s, early ’90s posh British hair.”
VANITY FAIR – We’re several phases deep into Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and there are still no female superheroes with their own movie and, for that matter, no female villains in a starring role. In fact, audiences will have to wait until possibly Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 2017) or definitely Thor: Ragnarok (November 2017) to see a woman in the Big Bad role. But according to Iron Man 3 writer-director Shane Black, Marvel fans could have had a female villain back in 2013 were it not for concerns over toy sales.
When asked why Rebecca Hall’s character, Maya Hansen, met such an unceremonious end in the film, when she was shot by Guy Pearce’s villainous Aldrich Killian, Black told Uproxx’s Mike Ryan:
All I’ll say is this, on the record: There was an early draft of Iron Man 3 where we had an inkling of a problem. Which is that we had a female character who was the villain in the draft. We had finished the script and we were given a no-holds-barred memo saying that cannot stand and we’ve changed our minds because, after consulting, we’ve decided that toy won’t sell as well if it’s a female. . . . So, we had to change the entire script because of toy making.
While Killian and his frustrated masculinity made for a compelling villain, Maya makes even more sense. It was her research—which Tony helped crack—that resulted in the Extremis serum that created super-soldiers. “New York called and said, ‘That’s money out of our bank,’” Black explained. “In the earlier draft, the woman was essentially Killian—and they didn’t want a female Killian, they wanted a male Killian. I liked the idea, like Remington Steele, you think it’s the man but at the end, the woman has been running the whole show. They just said, ‘No way.‘”
Black clarified that the Marvel that created Iron Man 3 is not the Marvel that exists today. “That’s not [Kevin] Feige,” he told Uproxx. “That’s Marvel corporate, but now you don’t have that problem anymore.” Last year, Disney wrested control of Marvel Studios away from eccentric billionaire Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter and gave it directly to Marvel Studios president Feige. Though a lot of the information on Perlmutter’s influence is speculative, many attribute controversial decisions like the lack of non-white, non-male leads in the M.C.U. to him. And some claim Perlmutter—who has a background in the toy business—was specifically responsible for the controversial decision to take a gendered approach to Avengers merchandise and for the conspicuous absence of Black Widow merchandise. “Yeah, Ike’s gone,” Black said. Bring on the female villains, superheroes, and toys.
W MAGAZINE – When 34-year-old Rebecca Hall first came to the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 for Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona (in which she played Vicky), she didn’t even bring a dress to walk the carpet. “It was the first red carpet I had ever done, and when I got to Cannes and was like ‘wow, this is a huge thing…’ but I learned from my mistake!” quips Hall, whose saving grace was Alberta Ferretti, who came to the rescue at the last minute. With that behind her, the BAFTA-winning actress returns to the Grand Palais tonight, fully equipped in Dior Couture to walk the red carpet for her film The BFG, Steven Spielberg’s remake of Roald Dahl’s 1982 childhood classic. Shot in Vancouver, the film follows an orphan named Sophie who teams up with the Big Friendly Giant to defend the world against evil people-eating giants. Hall plays Mary, the Queen of England’s maid, who comes to Sophie’s rescue. Here, Hall talks everything from magical moments with Spielberg, to bonding with her eleven-year-old co-star.
The film is part animated, and part real life. How long did you spend talking to a green screen?
None actually! Towards the end of the film the green screen stops and it takes place at Buckingham Palace with the Queen of England and real people… and I’m one of the real people. I had to look at Mark Rylance, who plays the BFG, on a platform in a monster suit. For Mark it must have been incredibly alien. He was way up there isolated on this platform. In the digital version he looks like a giant.
And had you read The BFG before you were cast for the role?
Yes, I loved it. I read it when I was 5, when I had just graduated to reading by myself in my head. I remember it was a big moment for me.
Well nearly thirty years later you’re part of its legacy! Talk about the character you play.
The character I play is Mary, a quite rotund, fleshy maid with a feather duster. It’s really cartoonish. When I first read the script, I was like, “they want me for that role?” But they changed it a bit to make her the Queen’s right hand woman, who runs her life, which is fun and quite a nice plot twist.Read More