As of January, actress Sienna Miller has already had an astonishing year on screen with a major role in Clint Eastwood’s record-breaking film American Sniper and a supporting role as Nancy Shultz in Foxcatcher, but to get there, she says, she’s had to overcome systemic sexism within the industry.
She recently interviewed with Variety, where the 33-year-old actress and model opened up about equality issues in both Hollywood and journalism’s upper echelon.
Miller took a break from the industry in 2009, “not by choice,” she says. The actress instead insists public scrutiny made it difficult for her to perform affectively, by dissecting her every move. “I always had strong and pure intentions. But it was just being swallowed up by this tabloid animal,” she said.
After returning to acting, Miller has landed squarely on her feet, something most women in the industry find strenuous. She puts some of the blame on the shoulders of a misogynistic film industry:
It’s completely sexist. It’s completely imbalanced. It’s insane. I had an experience with the New York Times, where my ex-boyfriend Jude was doing a play on Broadway. They did a profile on him, and during the article referred to the fact that he had a relationship with me.
The following week, the same newspaper did an article on me and referred to Jude as “a fling.” As if I was promiscuous, and all the connotations that come with that word. That’s sexism in the upper echelon of journalism.
She then laughed when revealing Foxcatcher co-star Channing Tatum’s opinion of Hollywood’s double standard: “Even Channing says with his past of being a dancer, if that was a woman, it would be really hard to come back from that. Dancer? I mean, stripper!’
She also spoke of the production of American Sniper, and Clint Eastwood’s unique directorial approach:
I found him to be really attentive. I felt very directed throughout this whole film. He’s literally sitting by the camera and he’s looking at you, and he doesn’t take his eye off you. I remember before an emotional scene, he came up and put his hand on my back and he just whispered in my ear the death toll in Iraq on the day we’re shooting. It was an amazing piece of direction, because it grounds you.
Of her preparation to portray Taya Kyle, the widow of the deadliest sniper in U.S. history, Miller said, “I started emailing her and then we had a conversation on the phone and we started to Skype. We spent hours and hours together”
“The stakes are really high in this film, and to have her input was invaluable,” said Miller.
She also stated Taya was, “incredibly moved by what Bradley did. She said it was like having her husband back. You realize the weight of this story is enormous. By all accounts, she felt happy with what I did.”
Beyond Sniper and Foxcatcher, Miller is set to appear in seven additional films in 2015.