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Meet Andrea Riseborough: Rising Star of 'W.E.,' 'Oblivion,' 'Shadow Dancer,' 'Birdman' (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 24, 2013 at 3:17PM

I like meeting actors for the first time, when their careers are starting to take off, before they've erected that protective coating that movie stars often need to survive. I was curious to check out Andrea Riseborough, especially, because she's one of those actresses--much like Meryl Streep-- who vanishes into every role. She's a chameleon, utterly unrecognizable from one movie to the next. She explains why in our flip cam interview below.
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Andrea Riseborough
Andrea Riseborough

I like meeting actors for the first time, when their careers are starting to take off, before they've erected that protective coating that movie stars often need to survive. I was curious to check out Andrea Riseborough, especially, because she's one of those actresses--much like Meryl Streep-- who vanishes into every role. She's a chameleon, utterly unrecognizable from one movie to the next. She explains why in our flip cam interview below.

Like most folks, I first discovered the Brit stage actress in 2011 as Wallis Simpson in Madonna's "W.E.," and was astonished at how she not only embodied this familiar woman but carried the film, which was critically drubbed, but Riseborough emerged unscathed.

Casting directors have jumped on the RADA-trained actress, who is now 31 and lives in Boise, Idaho with her artist boyfriend. This spring she's starred in back-to-back movies "Disconnect," "Welcome to the Punch," replaced Jessica Chastain as Tom Cruise's partner in dystopian sci-fi adventure "Oblivion," and stars opposite Clive Owen in James Marsh's excellent IRA drama "Shadow Dancer." (TOH review here.)

While she liked the original script, she found it a bit talky, she admits, and traveled to Belfast, Northern Ireland to add some first-hand research to her character, an IRA terrorist who turns into an MI5 informant at the behest of agent Clive Owen, in order to stay with her young child and not go to prison. In the end, she found that less was more in the dialogue department. Her best moments are silent.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu brought her in to play Michael Keaton's sexy younger girlfriend in the black comedy "Birdman," which is shooting in New York. And there's much more in Riseborough's starry future.



This article is related to: Andrea Riseborough, Shadow Dancer, James Marsh, Video, indieWIRE Video, Video, Interviews, Interviews, Interviews


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.