Anyone who goes to see Robert Zemeckis’ Flight is likely to be taken by one of the more prominent female roles in the movie, that of the recovering junkie Nicole who helps Denzel Washington’s alcoholic pilot Whip Whittaker get back on his feet after saving nearly a hundred people from a plane crash.
That role is played by British actress Kelly Reilly, whose fantastic performance is on an equal level with Washington’s in their scenes together, and in our humble opinion, the section of the movie that focuses on the relationship between Whip and Nicole is the best part of the movie and it loses quite a lot when she’s gone.
Some of you may already know Reilly from playing Dr. Watson’s fiancée Mary in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes and its sequel, but we were already intimately familiar with her work going back to her appearance in the 2002 French ensemble comedy L’Auberge Espagnole opposite Audrey Tautou, Romain Duris and Cécile de France, three of France’s top young actors. She also had an unforgettable role in Stephen Frears’ Mrs. Henderson Presents opposite Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins.
Her performance in Flight deserves to get the British actress a lot more attention and we’re likely to see her getting better roles in bigger movies, because there aren’t many actresses who can hold their own against a force of nature like Denzel Washington.
With that in mind, ComingSoon.net sat down with the actress for an extended video interview in which we spoke with Ms. Reilly about the movie as well as some of the other projects she’s been shooting including Cavalry, the new movie from The Guard director John Michael McDonagh and Chinese Puzzle, the finale of Cedric Klapische’s ensemble series that began with L’Auberge Espagnole over ten years ago.
Specifically, we spoke about:
* How I watched the movie not realizing it was Kelly in the role
* How it was her first real American movie
* How she heard about the project
* Why she was so interested in the script and role
* Whether she had to do a lot of prep before auditioning for Zemeckis and Washington
* Finding the proper Southern accent for Nicole
* Facing Zemeckis and Denzel for the first time
* The chemistry that’s developed between Nicole and Whip
* Why these two very different people end up together
* Bob Zemeckis’ directing style
* Whether there were any particularly difficult scenes
* Whether she’s had any interactions with actual junkies who’ve seen the movie
* How she worked with a recovering heroine addict to get the character right
* She talks about her character’s departure from the movie (spoilers here!)
* The end of the movie, which REALLY is a spoiler (spoilers end at 17:40
* Shooting Chinese Puzzle and Cavalry, which she’s been doing at the same time
Here’s what she said about reuniting with a familiar ensemble in Chinese Puzzle, which she says takes place in New York and Paris:
“We’re almost like a little repertory company. We come back every five years and play around together, but it’s charming. You get to go revisit a category. I’ve never played a character so many times in a movie in different stages of their life and sort of quiet observation that they make about relationships and what it means to get a little bit older and decisions you make. To play these characters, like in L’Auberge Espagnole’ we were students and in Russian Dolls,’ we were falling in love and getting our first work and having our apartments, and now we’re separating and having children.”
And regarding John Michael McDonagh’s Cavalry:
“I had the most amazing time. Brendan Gleeson plays my dad in this movie. He’s a good priest in a small town in Ireland, rural town on the West Coast of Ireland, the most beautiful place on the planet and it’s about the people in his community that don’t see life the same as him. I’m his daughter who comes from England to see him at a bit of a troubled moment in her life and it’s just nice father-daughter story. It’s beautiful and John Michael McDonagh is a hugely talented man. It was like coming home, back to Ireland.”
Lastly, she has no idea about what’s going on with Sherlock Holmes 3 or whether Guy Ritchie will direct it, but she’s heard rumors and we talked about some of the possibilities:
“I think everyone wants to, it’s just how you get those kind of players together. Everyone is so committed to other things, so I think there’s a script floating around–not that I’ve seen it–and it’s just timing I think is the issue. I think if they leave it too long it will not necessarily work. You want to keep the momentum up but I think those movies are fun and Downey is awesome and Jude Law is the nicest man in Hollywood.”
When we asked her about Mary possibly getting involved with the action, she said:
“That’s the role. She’s the Victorian wife at home, which is fine – there’s a place for that. There’s this whole thing about Moriarty, he’s going after the doctor and his wife, that’s what he says and my thoughts are like “