Rosamund Pike, Real-Life Gone Girl, Likes Her Phone Better on Airplane Mode

The actress and “timekeeper” of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival for IWC Schaffhausen prefers to stay off the map.

Rosamund Pike portrait
Photographer: Willy Vanderperre Stylist: Olivier Rizzo

It’s been a few years since Rosamund Pike starred in Gone Girl, but the British actress has found other ways of staying off the map, from distancing herself from the news for days to keeping her social media-less phone on airplane mode. It’s no surprise, then, that lately she’s also been sporting a giant analog watch, which she received from IWC Schaffhausen as its brand ambassador, and which has come in particularly handy this week for her role as “timekeeper” for its partner, the Tribeca Film Festival. Fresh from flying in from London, Pike made time to sit down at the brand’s New York flagship store and talk movies and her upcoming one-woman show, in her culture diet, here.

What’s the first thing you read in the morning?

Well, I don’t read a paper. If I open my laptop, it’ll be the New York Times or it’ll be an email, but I never do it first thing in the morning—I try not to read anything for the first hour. I keep all my devices on airplane mode. If I do read, I read a book before I let the world kind of crash in.

What books are you reading right now?

I’m reading a lot of biographies, actually—I’m doing a film about Marie Colvin, so I’m reading a lot of her journalism at the moment. I’ve been obsessed with her and wanting to make a film about her for well over a year, so as soon as I heard there was something out there, I really wanted to do it. I just believe in her courage and voice, and am very, very compelled by it. But for the last year, really, I’ve been incredibly engrossed in rereading Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem. It’s a Chinese science fiction trilogy made up of three immense books that are the best thing I’ve read in a while.

What TV shows have been keeping you up at night?

The People v. O.J. Simpson. That was the last thing that really obsessed me, that I couldn’t miss. But I watch more films than TV, actually—I’m one of the rare people who do these days.

What was the last movie you saw in theaters?

Ghost in the Shell, Scarlett Johansson’s thing based on the manga. I admired things about it, but I didn’t find the characters to be easy to engage with. I don’t think I’m the target audience. [Laughs.] But you know, it was one of those things where I went to the theater to see Get Out, and it was sold out so it wasn’t quite the evening at the theater that I planned. But before that, I went to the BFI which was amazing—there’s no trailers, there’s no adverts, and it’s a completely different cinema experience. I went to see [Rainer Werner] Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, and it was just magnetic. It was very similar territory to the United Kingdom, actually, and it’s just brilliant—I was completely riveted by it. It’s about racism and interracial marriage, with an older woman marrying a younger man.

It’s just really good when you’re working on cinema to keep going back and seeing what people were doing and the way faces were formed. I’m preparing to do a short film with a friend of mine based on [Jean] Cocteau’s The Human Voice, so we were just looking to see whether Fassbinder could give us any sort of thoughts, because it’s a one-woman piece, basically. I knew the opera, because my mother was a singer, and she did the [François] Poulenc opera, which is a one-hour, one-woman opera. I remember once her score was out at home, and I put the headphones on and listened to the CD, and I just didn’t move and listened to the whole thing. And now it’s come round for me to do it, so it’s pretty exciting.

Do you typically watch movies at home?

I try to go to the cinema. When you’re a member of BAFTA or the Academy, you get invited to the screenings. I go a lot, and you don’t often see other actors there. Every awards season, I always go to watch them. But I’m sure a lot of actors probably have bigger screens than I do at home. [Laughs.]

What’s the last piece of art that you bought?

A friend of of mine, a painter called Ali Silverstein, who’s based out of L.A., has actually done a series of paintings based on one of my children. They’re beautiful—somehow, she’s captured his essence—but they’re huge, so it’s just whether I can find a place for one of them. I do buy photography. In preparing for The Human Voice, a lot of those Bill Brandt images he did in Campden Hill are kind of on my mind—the way he sculpturally put a woman in the foreground. I would love to own a Bill Brandt photograph, but I don’t. [Laughs.]

What’s the last museum exhibition you saw that you loved?

There was a retrospective of Howard Hodgkin at the National Portrait Gallery. It’s sort of wonderful how some of his paintings you can really see, and some are just a feeling. There’s a wonderful one in Venice of someone on a bed in a window, and somehow you just see it, even though it’s not clear. I’m not very good at talking about art or knowing the lingo, but it’s just something that you feel, especially in the various couples he painted throughout his life. You feel the energy between him and his friends. I didn’t love when he started painting over the edges of the canvas onto the frames, but there were lots of things I loved.

What’s the last song you had on repeat?

I went to see Hamlet with Andrew Scott recently, and they were using a lot of [Bob] Dylan—a lot of “Hurricane,” actually. I went and listened to all of it after that.

Do you have any favorite social media accounts to follow?

No, I don’t do any of it. Nothing. I know I have to at some point, but I’m just not organized enough to get around to it. I feel I’m already so pushed for time.

How do you get yours news?

I don’t. I see it when it reaches me. No, I get it from radio, but I can happily go days without keeping in touch with the news, and I don’t feel any shame in that. There’s a lot of ugliness out there, and I don’t need to see it every day. It’s not going to pass me by that there’s going to be a general election in England—it’s obviously in discussion, but the news doesn’t drive my world. But then I’m an actress and I suppose a lot of my responsibilities have been in bringing the past to life, especially recently. If I were suddenly playing a journalist or in a political drama, I would be riveted and that would be my whole world, but I’m living in past eras at the moment. Happily, I should say.

Last thing: what’s the last thing you do before you go to bed?

I go and check my children—I just go and tuck them in and tell them I love them. I can never not do it. It has to be the last thing.

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