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'Invisible Woman' Star Felicity Jones Talks Her Dickensian Drama, Ralph Fiennes, 'Spider-Man 2' & More

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist December 19, 2013 at 12:06PM

As our own Oli Lyttleton pointed out in his under/over selections, Ralph Fiennes (starring and directing) has a new movie coming out this month that is really quite brilliant and barely anybody is talking about. And that film is "The Invisible Woman." It's based on the real-life affair Charles Dickens had with a young actress who served the author in one of his theatrical productions, and is based on the nonfiction book (of the same title) by Claire Tomalin. We were lucky enough to get a chance to talk to the Invisible Woman herself, Felicity Jones, about what it was like playing this forgotten historical figure, what additional research she did on her own, and whether or not she can tell us anything about what she's up to in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."
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Felicity Jones, The Invisible Woman

The movie obviously doesn't have a big budget movie but looks incredible. Can you talk about it was like trying to pull off something like that?
I think it was all about the communication between all the departments, and Ralph was very encouraging about that. I met with the set designer very early on and had a strong impression of what the world we were going to be existing in. And I think those people who worked on the film are incredibly experienced and show meticulous detail and care for what they produce. I love in the film how many of the scenes start as a still live and the characters emerge from that still life. And all of the costumes and sets play into that.

Even the train crash is like that.
Yeah that was a boiling hot day and lying on the ground with five petticoats and a huge coat on, face down, was a pretty long day. But it was amazing how I thought that the set design was so beautifully done.

One of the other amazing sequences in this movie is your interaction with Joanna Scanlon when she's bringing you the necklace. Can you talk about that scene?
Well, neither of us wanted that scene to be a bitchy scene in any way. We said both women were intelligent and had a empathy for each other. They weren't against each other, there was just a sadness and a tragedy to the circumstances they found themselves in.

I saw "The Invisible Woman" around the same time as we saw "Breathe In," with you toggling between a modern setting and a historically based one. Do you ever have whiplash?
I think they do demand different styles of performance in you. So much of it is about the dynamic with the director and that creates another performance again. I don't think you can judge anything based on what time it is. I like doing things set in the past but it doesn't feel like it should be any less relevant or that you should play it in a very different way. The key is just being truthful to the character.

Felicity Jones, The Invisible Woman

Can you talk about your relationship with director Drake Doremus?
Well, that experience is very different from a more traditional way of making a film; it's improvised. So I feel that Drake and I have a very easy communication and collaboration. We both like to work in a similar way. And obviously "Breathe In" and "Like Crazy" we keep developing that dynamic and relationship.

What can you tell us about "True Story," with James Franco and Jonah Hill? It sounds nuts.
It's a thriller in many ways. It's an intense story about obsession and it's coming out next year.

You're also going to be in "Amazing Spider-Man 2." Is there anything you can say about that?
I would love to … But you're going to have to wait and see it.

Have you been assured that you are going to make it into the final movie?
You never know. We shall see. It was a fantastic thing to be a part of.

Are you a fan of that character?
Oh yeah! I loved the cartoon. I used to watch it with my brother when I was younger. I always have such an affection for that story. As an actor, I love to keep doing different things and am always open for a challenge.

What's something that you've never done that you'd love to do?
That's a good question. I did a movie called "Chalet Girl." I loved doing something that was funny and comic. That would be great. I haven't done a horror movie. I don't really see horror movies that much myself, I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to horror movies. Maybe I should push myself to be in one.

We're reaching the end of the year. What were your favorite movies of 2013?
I loved "Blue Is the Warmest Color." I thought it was fantastic and beautifully made with incredible acting. And I also loved Michael Winterbottom's "The Look of Love." Again: I thought that there were some fantastic performances with that. Those are my two favorites of the year.

"The Invisible Woman" opens on Christmas Day. 

Felicity Jones, The Invisible Woman


This article is related to: Felicity Jones, Ralph Fiennes, The Invisible Woman, Breathe In, Interviews, Interviews


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