NUVO – Strapped into an electric chair isn’t a scenario most actors would envisage when planning their Broadway debut, so it’s a testament to Rebecca Hall’s drive that she is “electrocuted” onstage six evenings and two matinees a week for Machinal.
The drama tackles a controversial and much-sensationalized case surrounding the trial and execution of Ruth Snyder in the 1920s, the first woman to be condemned to the electric chair in the state of New York. Hall plays the Young Woman (metaphorically the Everywoman), an unfulfilled stenographer. Throughout the show’s run, the actress has had to stay focused on a difficult script written with a poetic cadence that would drive the most seasoned thespian up the wall. “[When I first] tried to learn one of the verses, I hurled the play across the room,” Hall says with a straight face, before pretending to throw an imaginary script and crumbling into laughter.
And that—bursting into laughter, not slinging screenplays—is something Hall does often, which makes another of her tendencies, taking on challenges, that much easier. The 31-year-old Brit has logged 10 plays (especially slanting toward the Shakespeare sort) and 15 films, including Woody Allen’s 2008 film Vicky Cristina Barcelona, her breakout role, and more recently, director Shane Black’s blockbuster Iron Man 3, where Hall shared the screen with Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr. This April, she will appear in Wally Pfister’s directorial debut Transcendence, a science-fiction blockbuster, proving that the steadily growing spotlight on Hall has been set to a full-strength glow. For an actress who once guided her career choices using a three-to-one movie-to-play ratio, she admits that’s a plan of the past. “I got offered movie roles that kept getting better and better,” she says. “I couldn’t say no.” Still, her ability to seamlessly transition from stage to silver screen remains, as does a craving for variety and substance. And that’s what brings her to New York.Read More
GOTHAM MAGAZINE – “I’d like to tell you why I wanted to do this interview,” says actor and director Ethan Hawke, a two-time Academy Award nominee who recently starred in a Lincoln Center production of Macbeth.
“A couple of years ago, I had the chance to do Shakespeare and Chekhov around the world with Rebecca,” he says. “I walked away from the experience feeling as if I had worked with a young Katharine Hepburn or Vanessa Redgrave. It’s very rare to run into somebody who is as smart, humble, and gifted as she is.”
Hawke and Hall had teamed up for a 10-month road tour for the Bridge Project that took them from New Zealand to London and Athens. Hall is best known in this country for her roles in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Ben Affleck’s The Town, and Iron Man 3. But the theater is her natural birthright—her father is famed director Sir Peter Hall, founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company. She is currently seeing another theater maestro, Sam Mendes.
Hawke says his friend “has everything it takes to be a really serious artist. I think it’s really lucky she’s coming to New York and doing this play.” Hall plays the lead in the stark drama Machinal, written by Sophie Treadwell, inspired by the case of convicted and executed murderer Ruth Snyder. Hall stars as the young woman charged with the crime.Read More
Here’s the accompanying article and interview from Rebecca’s feature in Backstage–it’s a great read so be sure to take a look if you haven’t already.
BACKSTAGE – First things first: The title is pronounced “mash-in-ALL.” Not that star Rebecca Hall, director Lyndsey Turner, or the rest of the cast and crew necessarily knew that for certain when they all signed on to present the first revival of Sophie Treadwell’s “Machinal” since its 1928 Broadway debut (featuring a young Clark Gable).
After going back and forth for days between every conceivable pronunciation, Turner brought in a letter she discovered in which Treadwell quite plainly stated she wanted the title said with a soft “sh.” “But the moment they put it on Broadway, the people who did it said, ‘I think it would be better as “MACK-in-all.” ’ And that’s sort of her story, isn’t it?” says Hall. “A bunch of people going, ‘No, you’re probably wrong.’ And so we make quite a concerted effort to go, ‘No, I think you’ll find she was a person and she did have some opinions on her own play. Even if she was a woman!’ ”
That anecdote is particularly telling, given the subject of the play in question. Hall stars as Helen, a young woman ground down by an oppressive, repressive society that limits the options of women. Forced into marriage with an older man (Michael Cumpsty) as much by financial considerations as by the confusion of friends and family over why she wouldn’t leap at the chance for escape into a materialistically better life, Helen eventually takes a lover (Morgan Spector), murders her husband, and goes to the electric chair. And though the play (loosely based on the Ruth Snyder trial that inspired “Double Indemnity”) was written in the late ’20s, Treadwell was so far ahead of her time that it feels shockingly contemporary. Just don’t expect a razzle-dazzle piece of Jazz Age homicide like “Chicago” playing up the street.Read More
Rebecca is looking gorgeous in this new photoshoot for The Sunday Times Style magazine. I have added two photos from the shoot, which can be viewed in full by clicking the image below. In addition, the full interview can be read below–it’s a really great read.
Rebecca Hall is a very attractive woman, not least because of her laugh. A big, fat, velvety laugh, where she throws her head back and bares her big white teeth — one she is employing now, as she tells of a play she performed while studying for an English degree at Cambridge. “It was called The Breast of a Woman,” she explains, “and in the finale I had to take off my robe and crack a communion wafer on the inside of my thigh, walk around for a good five minutes totally naked, then have this simulated sex scene. Some idiot thought it would be really good to have a pair of rabbits in a cage on the stage, and they were so excitable, they completely upstaged me. Ha-ha-ha! I still wake up in a cold sweat that someone might have videoed that.”Read More
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES – Rebecca Hall has advice for all the aspiring thespians out there: Going for broke actually can pay off in a big way.
“I got my first break after filming myself reading a scene on my digital camera,” she says. “Like every other girl out there, I thought I’d never hear again. A few days later, I got a call saying, ‘Can you come in and read with Christian Bale?’ ”
Hall laughs. “So, if you’re sitting in your room thinking that tape you’re making of yourself will go nowhere, change your mind and think, ‘Yes, I have to do this. I have to take a chance. Careers are made out of taking chances.’ ”
The 31-year-old went on to star with Bale in “The Prestige” and also did roles in “The Town” and “Iron Man 3.” These days, she’s a London lawyer involved in a terrorism trial opposite Eric Bana in “Closed Circuit.”
Q. You play a lawyer opposite Eric Bana on two sides of a trial. Complicating matters is they had a love affair in the past. Did you like that twist?
A. There’s an old adage that you can’t have a good love story unless the romance is thwarted in some day. These two characters have very concrete obstacles. Part of the deal with the trial is they can’t have communication. These are two people who just had an affair that wrecked his marriage. It becomes a very interesting dynamic.Read More
Strong doesn’t equal saintly.
“There’s been a sort of trend for awhile of people writing strong women as women who are morally right, which is so uninteresting, ” Hall told TheWrap. “It’s reforzará no fun and frankly it’s a massive disservice to womankind. It boxes us in to making these sort of slightly dull, virtuous choices.”
The English actress’ search for a character wholesale NFL jerseys who was prickly and flawed led her to the legal thriller “Closed Circuit,” which opens Wednesday. In it, Hall plays a brilliant lawyer whose extramarital affair with a colleague (Eric Bana) ruins his marriage and threatens to undermine their defense of an accused terrorist.
Hall said she has noticed a trend where there are more parts for females that involve behaving badly.Read More