Sienna Miller: Sienna Miller was the star of the new Ben Affleck directorial adventure (2016). He adapted the novel Live by Night by Dennis Lehane with Sienna playing Emma, the woman with whom the protagonist, Joe Coughlin, has a mayor affaire.

The Film is set in the Boston area at the end of the 20’s when the organized crime controlled all aspects of life. In New York we had the opportunity to talk with Sienna about her fascination with Latin American Literature, her passion for reading and her appreciation for languages.  

Q: Can you tell us your reaction when you first read the script of Live by Night by Ben Affleck?

A: The screenplay was fantastic, Ben is obviously a great writer and I love that are three very distinctive female characters. I love the poeticism of my character, the lyric aspect of what she says, some of it is from the book and some is an amalgam of what Ben found in the story, the words are really beautiful to say and I am a sucker for language  

Q: Were you familiar with the book?

A: No, I wasn’t. I read other books from the author who writes in a very cinematic way but Ben adds to the script what it needs. When I read it, I feel that mine was a proper character. I could see instantly that she is in the wrong side of the tracks, an Irish dominated by bad luck 

Q: You capture with a lot of purity the feeling that she projects, her insecurity because of her class.  Are you very aware of those emotions?

A: Is something that we all have feel at some point in life, I don’t think that was the most complicated part of the character, she is a scumbag that feels less than the rest and we all at some point have experience the feeling of somebody looking at us in a superior way, specially women. Is not hard for me to find vulnerability, I always wanted to fight hard against people who treats others like that. Is embarrassing for me when I see somebody treating bad any woman.  

Q:  Are you a woman close to her emotions?

A: I am a very instinct woman and that makes it easy for me to be an actress but it makes it difficult to navigate life. I am so sensitive, a person that reads things on an emotional level. That is what actors do, and that is why we are notoriously difficult or over emotional, but I am trying to work the cognitive aspect for sure 

Q: Is fascinating how you not seems to be the person we perceived in the magazines?

A: I know. It’s all perception, many see me as dumb and blonde. I know, but I am really clever, really interesting.  

Q: What are the advantages of working with a director that is also an actor, writer and producer

A: I never felt the lacking of personalization; he was able to do everything without me feeling that I was missing one or the other. I trusted him because it was his script and is lovely to have someone who is written it and want to direct it. I love that. He had an inside view of the story and knew what he wanted to do and though about it a great length in order to sit, write and planned, and is a very generous trusting actor to be in a scene with  

Q: In a practical way, being him the actor and director was in any way different the fact of play a scene with him

A: It should be but it wasn’t. I was worried that I would feel judge in the moment but Ben was always present and give himself as much as everybody else. He is very brave. 

Q: Are you planning on working as a director?

A: Maybe in the future, now I want to start buying books rights to maybe develop projects. That is what I’m planning now inspired by Ben. I want stories about women, strong female characters, as I’m tired of seeing only the men to be brilliant in movies  

Q: What are you reading at the moment? What type of books you like?

A: All sorts of books, I’m reading The Outsider by Albert Camus, 2666 by Roberto Bolaño that is phenomenal. Bolaño is amazing; love the stream of consciousness with no punctuation. And finally Sapiens by  Yuval Noah Harari, those three books are in my bed night table. Reading is my real refuge, it is hard for me to read when a pile of scripts are seating on my table and with a four years old daughter because I end my days really tired. But always I try to read. My whole education comes from the books I read and truly appreciate them, but 2666 is amazing 

Q: Are you interested in the Latin-American literature?

A: 100 years of solitude is my all times favorite, imagine 

Q: Do you speak any Spanish?

A:  I would love to speak Spanish, but at 34 it is hard to learn a language well. I speak a bit of Spanish and I do understand, and I do speak a bit of French.  

Q: Do you like to see yourself in the screen? Is a game of cat an mouse with vanity

A: No. It is hard for me to watch myself. This is a strange job as the ultimate goal is not being vain, not be attach to your own emotions to really jump in somebody else, if you think you are brilliant it feeds the wrong side of you, for me it would not help creatively. I don’t want to be self-conscious, be aware too much of myself. 

 

Q: How did you create the look of the character in Live by Night?

A: It was collaboration between the costume designer and me. She is a flapper and we work in her colors, she is trying to be glamorous but is not quite right and ends being a little cold. The costumes were all authentic from period original pieces. The costume designer was so brilliant that even the underwear was right and I felt totally like a woman from the thirties.  

Q: Did you move to New York?

A;: Yes. I work in America and live in London. My daughter start in school here and even I miss aspects of London I’m establishing myself here. New York has something that I love and is that you can meet somebody driving a taxi that doesn’t speak three words of English and says I’m a new Yorker and I believe them, they are. There is an openness in the city and a level of acceptance and tolerance that is like any where else and to me, is like the most liberal democratic, ironically with everything that is going on, place and I like that. It is so open-minded. I love that I raising a child that is constantly assaulted with experiences, and is real life and is hard, and is ugly and is beautiful but is honest. London is a bit more hidden and probably clever, is probably more intellectual, New York is more easy and that is what I love at the moment. London is a challenge that I miss a little, I love the English countryside, the American countryside looks to me like horror films, because you can make miles without any contact., walking there is straight to Blair Witch. I miss the rumbling pubs of England. But, for right now, I am very happy here 

Q: The fashion aspect of your life is all gone or you are still interested?

A: I like clothes but I was never really interested. I was not going to shows or following trends, I like what I like, I get to borrow beautiful things and now I don’t have the time to go around thrifts stores and markets which is were I used to shop, looking for amazing little pieces but I don’t do that anymore 

 

Q: For a while you had a huge amount of young fans looking up to you. Now the new character in the life of people is the influencer, who assaulted the fashion through social media.  

A: It is fun to wear great clothes and feel the response of the people. It is always being like that. Fashion is a funny thing, isn’t it? Especially for the youth because is a great way of self-expression and I do understand that but is not for me anymore.  

Q:  What are you in these days?

A: I do have to go to school every morning, I have to take care of my daughter, now I’m more worried about lunches than outfits. Before I pass my time dressing up and now I don’t have time and I’m not interested.  

Q: Do you have time to watch movies?

A: Yes,  I just watch Krisha from Trey Edward Shultz, amazing movie. I’m thinking on working with him. And of course I watch a lot of kid’s movies. I would love to voice a kid’s movie 

Q: What is your next project?

A: Lost City of Z is coming up in April and I’m doing Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  in the West End in London. I will  play Maggie, and I’m very excited with that character. Now that my daughter is going to school I am ready to work more.  

Q: How are you planning on playing Maggie?

A: I knew they were doing it and they ask me if I would considerer to be in and I think is truly an amazing opportunity for me. I get devastated that this parts past in front of me, like I never played Juliet and this was Tennessee Williams favorite play that he ever wrote and is such a beautiful part . Is really daunting but really fun.  Theater is the medium for the actor, is terrifying but totally exhilarating  and every now and then when that transition happens, when you kind of not exist and audience gives you the support is an amazing feeling  

 

Maria Estévez

Correspondent Writer