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GQ&A: Rebecca Hall

Sometimes journalists don’t help themselves on junkets. Having spent the morning answering questions ranging from the vaguely offensive (“How does it feel to be a homewrecker?”) to the frightening (the first film that scared her was a VHS copy of Don’t Look Now), the strikingly beautiful Rebecca Hall is sitting in the Soho Hotel about to do her final interview of the morning. Having bewitched both Woody Allen and Ben Affleck alike in her roles in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and The Town, she’s now starring opposite Dominic West in creepy British horror The Awakening. Here she talks to about make-out playlists, Sherlock’s style and animal fanmail…

What’s been your strangest fan request?
I’ve had the whole nine yards. All the weird things you can imagine. I’ve had more than one letter written by someone’s pet with little paw prints. There are people all over the world who like to write fan letters in the voice of their pet: “Hello, my name is Fifi and I’m a labrador and I think you’re great. Paw paw!” It’s even to do with any particular film – I’ve never done anything that’s particularly pet-centric.

Do nude scenes no longer bother you?
If it’s right for the material, I think it’s right. I’m strangely un-prudish about it. It’s probably lack of vanity. I’ve done quite a lot now, for some reason or another – it usually ends up being just little glimpses. You just have to have a sense of humour about it.

What did you and Will Ferrell laugh about on Everything Must Go?
What didn’t we laugh about!? I was actually hysterical. I wept on a daily basis. A lot of it was general excitement that I was making Will Ferrell laugh, which was really sad. It’s very difficult to avoid quoting him when you’re in his company. I’m very nerdy about my music and I like interrogating people about what they put on playlists. I think we played a game with the director Dan Rush – I challenged everyone to make a playlist that they would have made as their 15-year-old selves going on a date. Maybe your “going to lose your virginity” kind of date…

So this is your “underage sex playlist”?
OK, 16-year-old selves! [laughs] Maybe your “make-out playlist”. Will’s assistant actually did it and she had some classics. Mine had INXS and A Tribe Called Quest. It’s a good game, right?

What was the last album that you really loved?
The last album that really blew me away was the new Tom Waits, Bad As Me. I’m a complete die-hard, utter dyed-in-the-wool fan. I love it. The new Laura Marling [A Creature I Don’t Know] is really lovely as well.

Who is your best-dressed British man?
Benedict Cumberbatch came to work on Parade’s End the other day and stepped onto the make-up truck at five in the morning in a pair of beautiful suede brogues and a Vivienne Westwood aysmmetric jacket. It was heart-stopping – he looked so chic! I was there in my pyjamas.

What should no man have in his wardrobe?
Lipstick. Garter belt. Flippers. They would all be a bit odd to find but on the right man can be quite eccentric and appealing.

What’s the best thing you can cook?
Oh, lordy! Lentil dhal is the only thing I can cook. I recently tried to make a chocolate cake for the first time in my life. I thought it would be really smart to use this really shi-shi River Café cookbook which involved putting it in a small oven bath – it just got waterlogged and was horrible. I quite enjoy cooking but I’m not consistent. I can’t follow the recipe book. If something goes well, I’ll never make it again, which is completely stupid. It’s a one-shot kind of deal.

What’s the strangest rumour you’ve heard about yourself?
That I’m really fiercely intelligent, serious and po-faced.

© GQ Magazine 2011