Rothschild pulled together an eclectic cast to tell Nica’s story, including Helen Mirren, who is the voice of the Baroness; jazz aficionado Clint Eastwood, who also gave Rothschild recorded interviews of Nica from the documentary Straight No Chaser, which he produced; the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, who shares memories of a pampered youth and Thirties debutante balls; her father, Lord Jacob Rothschild; and jazz musicians Chico Hamilton and Roy Haynes.
The project was liberating for Rothschild, who states frankly that as a member of her family, “you feel the weight of other people’s achievements. It can be quite overbearing. And here was someone who got away, who reinvented herself. Also, I thought she was rather glamorous.” Rothschild, who shares a spacious home in northwest London with her three young daughters, is currently at work on a biography of Nica, to be published by Virago Press. And although she may not be opening her house to a legion of cats any time soon, or challenging friends to drag races on Sloane Street, she says her great-aunt taught her a lesson.
“You don’t have to live a two-by-four life,” Rothschild says. “Dare to be different.”