Your character had studied architecture so did you do any research into that part of her background?
"I did a little bit of research yeah, but actually I...if I didn't become an actress, I wanted to be an architect. I used to make models myself. I've always been fascinated by architecture so it was something that's already in my blood personally and I didn't have to do that much research."
Josh suggests you and he has the same agent. You wanted to be an architect and your character studied architecture… It was meant to be.
"I know. Sometimes parts work out like that where you're just like, 'Oh my God, wow.' Like they're saying stuff that I would say, you know, if I was in that position. It's always like you're attracted to the parts that reflect the parts of you that haven't been revealed, I always think."
Did you keep up on the architecture after becoming an actress?
"No, no. This was when I was much younger, from primary school to the age of about 15, that's when I really was into architecture. I'm still fascinated by architecture just because I'm a Virgo and I'm really into aesthetics, so it does really interest me. But I then branched out and started to be interested in social and political sciences and that's what I went ahead and studied at University instead."
How is Austin Chick as a director?
"He's really, really wonderful. Really sensitive, supportive, he's got a great eye for detail and he makes you, as an actor, feel really empowered and also liberated, which is a great quality. You feel as though if you're unhappy with a take or a line even or anything really, you can always speak up and say something. It's a real collaborative process. It feels like everybody has an opportunity to add input and that's not necessarily so with all directors because sometimes it can feel like a dictatorship. You know, there's only one man's vision being seen through and you kind of have to just go along with that. But it's definitely not like that with Austin."
How difficult is it for you to just go along with it when the director is pretty much a dictator?
"It's very hard, actually, very hard indeed because you feel straight-jacketed. You feel as though it's an awkward process because it's walking someone else's path and not walking the path that you choose to walk. It makes for a less interesting performance, I always think."
You've done a great job of going back and forth between independent films and big studio projects. Do you have a preference at this point?
"I don't actually, no. It's not about actually the amount of money involved. I just did another big studio movie with James McTeigue. I just literally finished it."
"Yes. You would think with so much money involved, it would be a kind of dictatorship kind of process but actually it was really the best experience I've actually had on a film because James has just got a very indie director mind in the sense that he's really about allowing actors to be really powerful and empowered. It was a wonderful experience. It really doesn't matter whether it's a big studio movie or a little indie movie, it depends who's at the helm of the ship."
Do you prepare the same way when you're tackling a character in a quieter, dramatic role as you do a character in big action movies like Ninja Assassin or Pirates of the Caribbean?
"Yes, exactly the same way. Exactly the same way."
So the action is just an added detail to your character?
"Yeah, and action is not my favorite thing [laughing]. I generally kind of ignore the action part and just focus on the nice dialogue bits that I like. I take it like it's some, I don't know, a love story or serious drama. I don't approach it like, 'Okay, this is an action movie,' or like with Pirates, 'This is a larger-than-life character.' I treat them all the same. Ultimately it's all about truth, really. Even if you're creating a really large character there's got to be a baseline of truth through them, so it's going to be the same process."
That's so funny that you keep getting cast in action movies.
"I know! I don't know how that happens. In every movie, I'm like…because I was Ninja Assassin and I was just like, 'Oh my God, I'm covered in blood. How did I get back here again?' I don't know how it happens. I'm always tied up, being kidnapped, I don't know what's going on."
You must have that 'vulnerable but yet I can kick ass' look or something.
[Laughing] "I think that must be it."