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- Unknown Interviewer -
(Planet Of The Apes)

 

Helena Bonham Carter, who plays the role of Princess Ari, the main sympathetic chimp in 'The Planet of the Apes':

Can you tell us about your character?
My character. Well, she’s basically a human rights activist, who’s a chimp. And she’s sort of an upper-class chimp, and a princess, but they demoted me, I don’t know why. They wooed me with the idea that "She’s a princess, she’s got all these courtiers and she’s very powerful and smart," and then it all vanished and suddenly I just became an upper-class chimp. I didn’t have a crown, nothing, no courtiers. But I’m just this upper, this human rights activist who’s disgusted with the state of affairs on the planet vis a vis how humans are treated, and I strongly believe that humans are sort of savages and slaves, but I believe that they have a potential – that they have souls and they can be taught to live with us as equals. And I see in Mark’s character, who’s this human who has come from a different planet, I don’t know that – when I actually meet him I feel a potential...and a sense that he likes me has a rebellious quality. Actually that we can change and help make change, as he promises, the situation.


Do you like being a chimp?
I’m happy being a chimp, as it were, but it would be great to have… Things that I feel like they got the edge of us, it’s like having the four hands. I mean how useful it would be to have, you know, feet that are kind of like… And also their sense of smell and again their sort of aliveness and being, you know, in the present. I hope by the end of this film - not that I’ve managed to incorporate all that into my performance anyway – but I hope by the end I’ll be able to focus and I’ll just be patient, and maybe I’ll be able to bring what I had to acquire for this into my daily living. (laughs)


Actors are supposed to be in the moment.
They’re meant to. So it’s sort of kind of… I went to drama school for four weeks. (laughs)

 

Bonnie Siegler Interview
(Theory of Flight)

The london-born helena bonham carter was last seen in her oscar-nominated role in 'The Wings Of The Dove'. Iin fact, except for the occasional foray into Woody Allen-land, the doe-eyed actress, 32, is perhaps best known for period pieces, starting with 'The Merchant-ivory Canon'. In 'Theory of Flight' she's a wheelchair-bound woman with a fatal neuromuscular disease who hires Kenneth Branagh's character to deflower her.

She and Branagh initially met as co-stars in the 1993 Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' and have been dating since 1996, a year after he and his wife Emma Thompson split. Her next role is in 'Fight Club' with two other beauts, Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Before heading home to England, Bonham Carter spoke to people online's Bonnie Siegler in Los Angeles.

Is it hard to do a movie with somebody you love, as happened with theory of flight and kenneth?
No, i think it's easier. it was certainly easier in this case. given it was only six weeks long for shooting, we didn't have that much time and i think any warmth or sort of emotional intimacy that we had already just informed it. there wasn't a love scene, really. and that wasn't originally in the script. but that would not have stopped us from doing it. i think there's a degree if you think it's too invasive and also question if the press would be there—the english press. would this be a license for them to be more invasive than they already are, which is not difficult. we didn't want people to write more about us than the film. (but making the film) was easy and he's terrific—well, you know that. he has a great sense of humor and he's fun.

Do you rely on him for comment?
We're both good at reassuring each other if something has been in good taste because we have the same sort of judgment. what's good about ken is he has a very unpolitically correct sense of humor. i love the film for its own unpolitically correct sense of humor. he's always teasing me to get on with it because i have habit of speaking in the voice of character just for practice.

How do you feel when you see someone you love having sex with some gorgeous blonde, as occurs in this film?
It doesn't upset me, really. the sex scenes are so technical. the reality of kissing somebody is nothing. there are so many other people around. you are never really present. there is always a shut-off switch, a protective mechanism.

Does your mother pester you to get married?
No. she knows that is the last thing [i want to hear]. if she wants me to get married, she shouldn't tell me to. i definitely want to have a child, but not tomorrow. i'm definitely aware that it explodes your life, but i have a few more roles i'd love to do. having a child takes a lot of attention and time. i think a woman should have a child when she doesn't resent the commitment. regardless how much a man says he will be helpful, it's ultimately the woman's career that will change. and it's not a given these days that just because you want a child, you will [have one].

You are wheelchair-bound in this movie. what was the hardest thing about that?
The head cranked over to one side was a decision i made day one which i couldn't change my mind after that. it was very difficult. but after every take, i got up and walked around. i first thought i'd do a daniel day-lewis and be very method-y and doing that the whole time would give my performance another dimension but i got too stiff and couldn't do it. i also knew that ken would never put up with me if i stayed in the wheelchair the whole day and asked him to do everything for me.

Do you ever look at your performances and say, well, that's pretty good?
Sometimes. rarely, i suppose. but when i look at all the acclaim i got for wings of the dove, i couldn't understand what that all was about. there comes a point, though, where you think there's no point judging anyway and you're just going to cause yourself grief. if it works for other people, that's what i'm here for—entertain others, without sounding too pollyanna-ish. i'd say this role as jane is probably one of the best things i've done. i've never been quite so emotionally and intellectually committed to something.

What was the oscar experience like for you?
It was quite bewildering, quite overwhelming. i talked nonstop for six months. miramax certainly knows how to sell a market and i owe them, i'm sure. an oscar is a world event and you're talked out by the time this big night rolls around. and i get talked out easily.

You're going home now?
In february i'm going home, but not just to do a movie. it's a film called women talking dirty. elton john is producing it. it's really, really for women. so i've gone from a film primarily about men (with brad pitt and edward norton) to doing a film principally about women with a woman director—it just felt right. it's about a friendship between two women.

Finally, do you have any horrible habit you'd like to confess?
[long pause]. well since the age of fifteen, i squeeze my spots [pimples]. that's not a particularly attractive habit, but it is a hobby. [laughs].

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