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Rebecca Hall on acting

How did your career begin?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t an actress. Both my parents are artists: my dad Peter Hall is a stage director and my mother Maria Ewing is an opera singer. I remember my first job was when I was 8. I was on set with my dad and they were auditioning for a little girl. One of his colleagues said he was looking for a girl just like me, but my dad wasn’t so happy with the idea. But then I said: « Yes, it’s absolutely what I want to do! » And I had a part and a great agent who has followed me ever since.

In 2014, you will be on screen in the franco-belgian production “A promise.” How was your experience meeting french director Patrice Leconte?

I was in Paris, because I love Paris, and I got a call from my agent. She sent me the script, but since I didn’t have a computer she sent it to my iPhone. I read it and I had this overwhelming feeling that I had to be in the movie. I loved the mood: this sort of old- fashioned, full-bodied, emotional love story. Nowadays love stories are less romantic and more ironic. The first meeting was a little tough because of the language barrier but there was a connexion. It was fantastic.

The movie is an adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s posthumous novel “Journey into the past.” did you read the novel for inspiration?

I read the novel and loved it, but there are some fundamental differences between the novel and the movie. The spirit of the novel is there, of course: the essence of memory remains. The movie shows how human beings are devoted to hope and how they can keep it alive for a long time.

The film tells the story of Ludwig (Richard Madden), a young secretary who falls in love with his employer’s wife (played by you) in a pre-ww1 Germany… what do you think of your character and her place?

Her options are limited and she settles into a marriage of convenience. She likes her husband very much, but she’s not in love with him. She has a strong sense of right and wrong. It was interesting to portray that mix of repression and extreme passion, that duality and drive to keep everything hidden. It’s interesting to represent such contradictory feelings at the same time.

What was it like to work with Richard Madden?

He is fantastic! He is a really unusual young actor. He has lot of heart and is very masculine at the same time. He combines both. He is also very charming and funny. I loved working with him and he was very involved on the set and has a great work ethic.

What about Alan Rickman?

It was incredibly exciting and inspiring to work with him. Alan Rickman is iconic: his voice, his technique, his skills… everything. He’s an actor on a very fundamental level of his being. He was also incredibly supportive and really great to watch.

We also saw you recently in the thriller “Closed Circuit.” What made you decide to do this movie?

I really like thrillers, especially political thrillers. So I was thrilled when I read the script. Movies are really interesting when they deal with issues like surveillance, power behind closed doors and national security. Especially with national security being such a huge and relevant topic today.

You’re also doing “Transcendence” with Johnny Depp. Can you tell us anything about the movie?

It’s a science fiction movie done with a lot of humanity. It’s another very topical film that shows how technology is interacting with what makes us human. It’s an original story and I can’t wait for audiences to see the film.

What is your favorite memory from your career so far??

I can’t answer that yet, but other people might be able to do it for me!

Who would be your dream director to work with?

Michael Haneke. I would love to work with him!

What is your favorite movie?

I don’t know if I have a favorite movie, but there is one I keep on watching over and over again: “All about Eve.”

Who is your favorite designer?

Phoebe Philo for Céline.

What are your upcoming projects?

I’ve just finished a play in New York, “Machinal,” which I’ve really enjoyed working on it. “A Promise” and “Transcendence” are coming out soon. And I’m currently filming an independent romantic comedy called “Tumbledown” with Jason Sudeikis.