NEW YORK – The spotlight is finally on Rosamund Pike.
The 35-year-old actress first came to moviegoers' attention 12 years ago when she played a double agent in “Die Another Day.” She then alternated between independent films like “Pride & Prejudice,” “Barney's Version” and “Made in Dagenham,” as well as studio flicks such “Doom,” “Surrogates,” “Wrath of the Titans” and even opposite Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher.” The biggest media spotlight she'd received was for her supporting role in “An Education,” but if you were introduced to her at a party you probably wouldn't know where you recognized her from (or that she was even a movie “star”). That will all change with David Fincher's “Gone Girl.”
It's a cliche to say Pike's performance as Amy Dunne is a revelation, but, y'know, it sort of is. Pike just hasn't had an opportunity this rich before and she makes sure you'll never forget “Amazing Amy” (and, yes, Amy would approve). The performance has been earning raves from critics and no matter what “Gone Girl's” fate in the Best Picture Oscar race, no one thinks Pike won't end up with her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. In fact, her career might be judged from now on in a pre- and post-Fincher context, something she joked about herself during a press conference following the film's New York Film Festival debut. And that might be the most exciting prospect of all.
Last weekend I sat down with both Pike and Gillian Flynn, the original novel's author as well as the film's screenwriter (and former EW television critic*), who were still basking from the film's world premiere reception. With a character as distinct as Amy, I asked both women if they were inspired by anyone they had met in real life in either creating her or portraying her on screen.
“Not anyone specifically, but I think we all know an Amy,” Flynn says. “And certainly after talking to so many people who have read the book and now seen the movie, people always want to come up to me afterward and say, 'My ex-wife, my girlfriend, my sister, my sister-in-law, my college roommate.' Everyone has an Amy story.”
Pike adds, “Sometimes the book has let people decode people they thought were a bit puzzling. Someone said [to me], 'There was a girl at school like that who sort of attracted drama. She always seemed perfect and people responded to her, but then kids didn't quite like her and were still drawn to her. She wasn't popular, but she somehow still was.' I think the book has made people see the light and think, 'Yeah, maybe she's one of those people.'”
Flynn provided Pike some more background on Amy, such as what sort of party she would go to and what sort of friends she would have. But it was Fincher's vision that mattered the most and he had a very specific historical reference for her to research.
“David was interested in Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy as an image for Amy, which is very curious because there is very little available on her,” Pike says. “You can see hundreds of images, but nothing in her own words. None of her speech. I was trying to build someone who was really a facade in my eyes. Because I bought back issues of Vanity Fair. I looked online. I found members of her family talking, but I never found a sample of her voice. He was giving me an enigma to create an enigma.”
“Gone Girl” is now playing nationwide.
*Dare to dream, Sepinwall and Fienberg.