How did you help Natalie cope with the physical and mental strain?
The mental elements were hard but not nearly as hard as the physical elements. I think she spent a year training - five hours a day. It was very gruelling.
It took a very long time to raise the money, and the movie kept pushing back, and every time we pushed it three weeks I’d go and tell her.
And she was a good sport about it, but now I realize that I didn’t know how much pain she was in. She was like “Another three weeks of almonds and carrot sticks, I’m gonna kill myself!”
So it was very very tough for her to pull off. We tried to surround her with as many quality people that could take care of her as we could.
What Natalie had to do with this move was very demanding – I’m sure she was very happy when the movie stopped, for example, because she took a year of intense ballet training.
In between the takes she was going back to the bar, stretching again, keeping warm - because otherwise when you go back you hurt yourself. So day after day, I couldn’t really interfere – she was so focussed I didn’t want to. I knew she had things to do.
Unlike Mila, who was the ‘cool girl’ of the movie – then there was no problem [for her] to get out of character. I think that what Natalie must have carried away every night was the pain.
As for me, coming out of character? I always do. I’m a non-suffering actor!