EXCLUSIVE: Mike discusses THE EDGE OF LOVE with Sienna Miller & John Maybury!

Plus lots of juicy movie gossip besides, including G.I. JOE, being friendly with the crew, stateside views on smoking and Heath Ledger.

The Edge of Love opens in the U.K. tomorrow and the word is it's far more than an Atonement knock-off, a topic that director John Maybury mentions in our exclusive interview below. He was speaking alongside the gorgeous Sienna Miller to OWF's very own Michael Edwards... Sienna, we know you joined the cast at pretty short notice. How much time did you have to prepare for the role?

SM: Two weeks.
So it was a shock when the call came then?
SM: Well no, I mean we've been friends for years and I knew all about the project anyway. And I'd heard that there were maybe a few problems so I'd had an inkling.
JM: I actually called Sienna to get Lindsey Lohan's phone number, I'd talked to her via email and not get a response so I said "Have you got Lindsay's number" but it was also like "Just stay out of the sun!"
SM: But two weeks is really not enough, I'm normally a bit of a boff and it's especially important because she's a real person. So it was really two weeks of sleepless nights or waking up in cold sweats! In a way though I think it kind of served the character because it's just as free and as brave as you want it to be.
And of course Caitlin's feisty and free-spirited, pretty close to your own character you might say.
SM: I mean, I'm pretty feisty and free-spirited I think... but maybe not quite as much as her! But I'm an open person. And I might do a cartwheel in a pub.
Have you ever done a cartwheel in a pub?
SM: Yeah.
JM: She's certainly done one in the back garden.
SM: I DID do one in the back garden! But then who doesn't... No I haven't done one in a pub though.
There's been a lot of interest about Dylan Thomas recently and there's some more films in the pipeline we hear.
JM: Yes. I mean this certainly isn't the definitive biography of Dylan Thomas, it was never meant to be, and there is room for another film or two or three! If anything it'd be nice if this were to set up something. I mean this is an interesting period because it's when he started becoming self-destructive. When he was still in England he just drank beer though, and when he got onto the cocktail circuit in America, where he became very famous, he was drinking Martinis and whiskey and he actually was allergic to alcohol, unbeknownst to him.
Not a good career move.
JM: Well it didn't do his poetry any harm, but it certainly did him a lot of harm.
Do you think the film will get a wide appeal because Dylan Thomas is so well known over there?
JM: Well they're pretty down on the smoking thing in America... I wanted to put a credit in the end actually saying 14, 567 were harmed in the making of this film! But they wouldn't let me have a joke on the end credits because they said it wouldn't go down well in America. Although the fact is that they did smoke like chimneys in the forties!
I was wondering how influential David Lynch was on the film: Angelo Badalamenti did the music, you've cast some pop culture icons...
JM: David Lynch is a huge hero of mine and to get Badalamenti to do the soundtrack was a dream come true, and certainly in LOVE IS THE DEVIL where I put shots of burning cigarettes in ironically, I was very influenced by David Lynch. I wouldn't say he was an influence on this film just because it doesn't have the beautiful obtuse quality that his work has.
SM: I think when you're a filmmaker you have your influences and they're your box of tricks, and they inspired you.
JM: And I think that the film owes as much to Fassbinder, I deliberately cast friends who can't really act in certain parts because I think that gives another weird edge... I don't mean Sienna of course.
SM: Yeah, thanks.
JM: But I mean as influences go, I don't see a lot of contemporary cinema. I don't see much contemporary British cinema, I watch a lot of old films on DVD. Which I know is a bit of a betrayal of our industry but... for instance I hadn't seen ATONEMENT so I didn't realise I was basically doing a low-budget remake(!)
SM: Oh no, this isn't...
JM: I was joking!
SM: I know but jokes don't always transfer to print. Take it from one who knows!
Sienna, what did you think of the relationship between Caitlin and Vera?
SM: I though it was extraordinary for there to be two female leads and a relationship that wasn't one-dimensional. Here are these two strong women and I just love the opening scene! It's really rare to find two women who were well written let alone in the same film so it was kind of bliss. It's nice not to just be 'the girl'.
Caitlin goes through a very emotional and, thanks to her bikeriding skills, physical ordeal. Was it hard to get the character out of your head when the characters stopped rolling?
SM: Inevitably it comes home with you if you're being someone for twelve to fourteen hours a day, whether you like it or not. It's more a mood than anything though, you're affected by the script and I think every actor is the same.
Was it a conscious move to do a more escapist film like G.I. JOE afterwards?
SM: I like the variety, I've never been in anything like that and the idea of running around with guns and two MP-7 rifles shooting and sprinting around was just all a new experience and I was just like "great!" It's all very impulsive with me. I'm not an idiot and I do get that there is a strategy and to some degree you have to be in a commercially successful film in order to be in a good film that has a big budget and I think I very much resisted these things, I mean this was a $200 million film and I was scared by that. But actually I just finished filming yesterday and it was quite fun.
So it was pretty different then?
SM: Oh yeah it's like another planet! I'm used to little films and this was like every day I'd see someone I hadn't seen before. There was a crew of around a thousand, it's vast, it's a machine. But a great crew and we were close anyway and I think you create the set you want to be on. I like to be best friends with everyone and have a good time!
Was that quite hard with a thousand people?
SM: Well not everyone! But, you know...
JM: She's a right slapper, she'll work her way through them all!
SM: He's joking! I swear!
JM: Yeah, sorry, humour doesn't come over, sorry.
SM: But I love independent films, I'd hitchhike to be there. But it's really fun to be somewhere where they've got huge sets with everything exploding. It's so new to me.
What was the most scary aspect of shooting THE EDGE OF LOVE for you?
SM: The entire thing because I had no time! I was terrified and I do beat myself up quite a lot, but John doesn't stand for any of that. He gives you one take and if you start moping he'll just say "Well do it fucking better then!", laugh and turn his punk music up! But he's got the entire film cut in his head, he's done all the ground work before and he'll manipulate you into doing what he wants without knowing you're being manipulated so inevitably the take 1 is... he just doesn't shoot rehearsals.
JM: I always say at the beginning that you've got to imagine it's like a documentary, you've got one go. Of course you'd do a second or a third if there's a technical problem but if the performance is there... you do a second for coverage in case someone destroys your neg or whatever but...
SM: But he'll have a conversation with you in the morning that's totally not relevant to the scene but will somehow put you in the headspace you need to be in and then you'll inevitably to what he wants so he'll smile and pat himself on the back and light another cigarette! It's genius really.
John, how did you go about selecting the poems that were included?
JM: Well there were a number of poems that had relevance to the scenes! There were other poems I'd have liked to have had that weren't available to us though. I wanted the poems to act as a kind of chorus, a comment on the action, what was coming or what had just been, so it kind of sold itself to me. It just became apparent what would work where, and also Matthew's readings add a sort of resonance that add a character on top of the character. But I was spoilt for choice really.
Did you limit yourself to a particular period?
JM: Yes, they tend to be from around that period. You'll probably trip me up and prove me wrong here, I mean I'm just the director, I don't do that kind of research, I'm more interested in the story I'm telling. It's more about trying to create a world - we're not trying to make a documentary, this is a drama and we're going to be creating characters. Obviously we're going to try and relate them to the people that existed but I could never restrict my actors in that otherwise it would become pantomimic, or imitations, and there's no value or currency to that.
Final question for Sienna, you've talked about Heath Ledger and your friendship with him, will you go and see DARK KNIGHT when it comes out?
SM: Oh God yeah, I can't wait. It's about as upsetting as anything can be but I want to see his last film. It'll inevitably be a bit upsetting. Oh, and while we're talking about it there's a rumour out there that I used to sleep in his pyjamas - that's not true. I just want to get that out there.
Ummm, OK. Thanks. THE EDGE OF LOVE is out in the UK this Friday, and is a superb piece of high caliber emotional filming. Go and watch it! You can read James Rawson's OWF review of the film HERE.

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Michael J Edwards hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.