Rosamund Pike is more than just a pretty face, though she certainly has that going for her, too. The British beauty has cooked up an impressive resume peppered with everything from action adventures like "Die Another Day" to period dramas like "Pride and Prejudice."
"Jack Reacher," however, launches Pike into new places — like Tom Cruise's bedroom. Well, sorta. In this action thriller, Pike plays Helen, a well-heeled attorney who likes to cross her "T"s and dot her "I"s, while Mr. Cruise takes on the titular role as an ex-military vigilante who takes the law into his own hands … and only owns one shirt, which seems to get wet a lot.
We chatted with Pike about what it was like getting up close and personal with this living legend, why she misses old Hollywood and who she'd love to be courted by on screen next.
This is such a big, action-packed movie. What was it like on set?
It was fun. It was exhilarating. It was exhausting. We all felt very invested with the idea that this is perhaps the first of a series, so that's always exciting to feel that you are pioneers, setting a kind of tone. I think it's very important with this movie, since it was already such a popular book, to get the tone right. The books are cool and it's very important that it doesn't lose that cool.
Were you a fan of the books before?
I read them once this came along and I loved them. I love Jack Reacher. He's sort of a modern-day cowboy in my mind. He's the antithesis of James Bond. He's a guy who doesn't need material possessions. He's kind of a renegade avenger and moves around in this reckless fashion seeking justice, but not for any personal gain.
Though he is a little shady.
Yeah, he is a little shady. But then there's my character, Helen, who is really a by-the-book kind of girl, and she finds it troubling because she meets this guy Reacher who she is attracted to, frustrated by and interested in — even though she really doesn't want to be — because he does things that are completely opposed to how she conducts her business.
My job in the movie is sort of to echo the audience, because that's how the audience learns about Reacher, through Helen's puzzlement at how he's conducting himself.
How was it working opposite Tom Cruise and even more so as his love interest?
It's a thrill, obviously! It's kind of every teenage girl's dream — certainly mine, and then suddenly 20 years later here I am working with the man in such a close way that I actually got to know the man. Really, that was such a privilege, because I now count him as a friend.
Was there anything about Tom that surprised you? Something you just weren't expecting?
He's so gracious, and he's such a great comedic actor. He really puts everything in. He's passionate. He's still like a 17-year-old kid in some ways, in the good ways, only the good ways!
But at the same time, he totally puts you at ease. He is willing to engage with who you are. He's interested in you as a person. He's not immune to your energy, just like you're obviously not immune to his energy, because his is just so powerful.
It sounds like it was a bit existential being around him.
[Laughs.] Yeah. It was.
How was it being around him with his shirt off?
I told Christopher [McQuarrie], "I can't believe you're asking me to try to act while Tom is standing three feet away shirtless! What are you trying to do to me here?"
Was Christopher sympathetic?
No, not at all! But I have to say it was fun having the man play the sexual object. I liked that. A lot. [Laughs.]
Now that you've played opposite Tom Cruise, who is your next dream love interest to work with on screen?
I have to say, honestly, it would be a dream to work with Tom again after this. I'd love to get the chance to play with him again. I think we have a nice energy together and I'd like to continue that.
It's funny enough because in the old days when the studio saw that the chemistry between a couple was electric, they'd say, "OK, we want these two together on-screen again and again!" And now it's funny how rarely that happens. The studios don't really set people up for another film together just because they were great together.
So you think the powers-that-be should bring back the old studio system and pair you and Tom together again and again?
Well, I don't know if I would say it exactly like that, but, you know, it makes sense if you have good chemistry. It's more of an old-fashioned way of working, but it does deliver great performances. You can get things out of acting with someone a second time around that you don't necessarily get the first time because you're more familiar, more comfortable. It's such a chemical thing. You just never know who's going to have chemistry. You can put two of the sexiest people in the world together and they could be completely flat.
You have an impressive resume at this point, but are there any actors or actresses whose careers you would love to emulate? Who do you admire?
There are certainly contemporaries that I admire, like Emily Blunt. I think she is amazing.
And you've been in tons of big movies now, but can you think back to your first real Hollywood paycheck? What did you buy?
A 1972 Citroen DS car. I drove that all of the world ... well, all over Europe anyway. I loved that car.
What's a dream role that you would love to play that you haven't played yet?
I would love to play the lead in a big romantic comedy. That's definitely a dream of mine.
Maybe opposite Tom Cruise?
Sounds good to me.