The Ring of confidence


Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"

Miranda Otto has been groomed for stardom before, but now, playing Tolkien's strongest female character, her success seems assured.

Marion Hume
Sunday December 8, 2002
The Observer
Miranda Otto had approval rights on the facial design of the Eowyn doll, one of the myriad merchandising items produced to coincide with the second film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. 'She's got [green] eyes like mine and wonderful long blond hair because I had a great wig. But her figure is pure Barbie doll,' Otto laughs. 'Having your own doll is odd. I will probably end up in the remainder bin reduced to 50p.' Otto's own price is starting to climb at last. Eowyn, Tolkien's strongest female character, who makes her debut in this movie, is the niece of the weary King Theoden (Bernard Hill), and is a warrior princess who eventually leads her compatriots into battle. She is also involved in a romantic triangle with Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen).
According to Otto, she got the part because director Peter Jackson wanted a pale-skinned, fair-haired woman who could alternate between being feminine and displaying an aggressive physical presence. In the third part of the trilogy, she dresses as a man and kills the Witch King. 'It suited me fine, because, despite appearances, I am not too much of a girlie girl,' she says. The 34-year-old Australian actress leapfrogged over a number of more famous American stars to win the pivotal role in the new film. 'I don't know how it will be,' she says. 'People keep telling me I'll be famous,' she shrugs. 'Generally, with films, what tends to happen is that a few people get a lot of momentum out of it and a lot of people don't. Who is to say whether I will be one of those people? You just can't tell.'
We're in a cafe in Sydney where no one has a clue who she is. We have met in a cafe in Sydney before. Five years ago, I was assigned to interview her for US Vogue when she was about to become a well-known name rather than a 'Who?' As a waitress takes our orders, Otto remembers that the piece didn't run. 'It didn't appear because I didn't get famous,' she states before I have a chance to explain.
A decade ago, as the star of her year at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts - the drama school in Sydney that numbers Baz Luhrmann and Mel Gibson as alumni - everyone thought Otto, who was named after Prospero's daughter in The Tempest, was destined for success, especially because she came from an acting dynasty (her father is Barry Otto, best known as the repressed dad in Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom).
'They said I would be perfect for period roles,' recalls Otto. 'Then I graduated and they weren't making any period films.'
Still, she played the lead in a succession of contemporary Australian films. When she really wanted a role in a local movie called The Well, she discovered an actress called Cate Blanchett was also up for it.
Otto got the part, but Blanchett went to England and made Elizabeth instead. Blanchett, as well as Toni Collete, Rachel Griffiths and Frances O'Connor, all went on to become stars in the northern hemisphere, while Otto remained at home.
Then Miranda met Terrence Malick and got her first break. The reclusive director of The Thin Red Line has only made three movies, but helped launch the careers of a young Sissy Spacek and Martin Sheen with Badlands and Richard Gere in Days of Heaven . In The Thin Red Line, Miranda appeared in flashback as the girlfriend of Ben Chaplin who deserts him when he goes off to war. 'They will stone you as you walk out,' whispered a friend who snuck into a Leicester Square cinema with her to see it because she had missed the premiere. 'But no one noticed me,' she says.
Otto disagrees when I describe Malick as a starmaker. She bristles. 'I have never thought of him that way. I think of him as a fantastic filmmaker and philosopher. It was a fantastic experience. He is a great person to talk to about life and love.'
Then her burgeoning career hit a couple of speed bumps. She narrowly lost the female lead in Being John Malkovich to Cameron Diaz, but screenwriter Charlie Kaufman didn't forget her and she starred in his next film, Human Nature, a comedy with Tim Robbins and Patricia Arquette. The next breakthrough was supposed to have been the thriller What Lies Beneath, starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer. Unfortunately she played the unhinged neighbour who, 'cried a lot, which is never pretty'. When she turned up for castings after the movie's release, Hollywood people were evidently surprised, 'to the point of being rude. They were expecting the ugly dog they saw on screen'.
In last year's BBC drama The Way We Live Now, she played Trollope's scheming Mrs Hurtle, after turning down a Hollywood offer. I suggest this might not be the best way to capitalise on the heat generated by Lord of The Rings. 'I haven't found the experience of being hot very great. It usually means you are about to be overexposed. I would rather be respected,' she says. 'In the last couple of years, I have been incredibly happy with my lot. I have worked hard on many things and I haven't been pinned down.' She has recently finished filming a thriller, Doctor Sleep, in London with ER actor Goran Visnjic, and she enjoyed playing opposite a more established star. 'For myself, I like to disappear,' she says. When she is out with her boyfriend, Peter O'Brien, an Australian TV star, 'people come up to him all the time and unless they are in the industry, they don't know who I am.
'I was glad to be on the sidelines last time,' she says of the Rings circus. 'I'll do publicity, of course. I'm so proud of being part of something that will be as lasting and fantastical as The Wizard of Oz.' She hasn't seen the film yet. She's been travelling around Vietnam and only confronted herself as Eowyn when she changed planes in Hong Kong: 'So I've seen the poster and my pewter miniature and my china figurine. But I still haven't really got a sense of how big it could all be,' she says, as we walk out of the cafe.
I suspect that she won't be wandering around like this for much longer. But then, I said as much five years ago. We say goodbye and Miranda Otto turns a corner and disappears.

to groom – przysposobić (kogoś do czegoś)
approval rights – prawo do zatwierdzenia
a myriad – lots of, miriady to coincide – to happen at the same time, zbiegać się (w czasie)
compatriot – person of the same nationality/race, rodak, ziomek
pale-skinned – having white skin, bladolica
fair-haired – having light hair, jasnowłosa
to alternate – to change between two states
to leapfrog – to jump over something, przeskoczyć
pivotal – central, main, most important, główny
momentum - pęd
alumni (plural), alumnus (sing.) – person that completed studies at some school, absolwent
reclusive – keeping away from other people, odludek
a flashback – retrospekcja
to bristle – wzdrygnąć się
to burgeon – to grow, rozrastać się
speed bump – a small structure on the road to force drivers to reduce speed, próg ograniczający prędkość
unhinged – insane, szalony, chory umysłowo
to pin down – to force someone to do something, zmuszać
sideline – linia boczna
pewter – stop cyny z ołowiem


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