“I’d love to be exciting and say that I was the rebel at school, but sadly I wasn’t.”
(On My Summer of Love (2004)
“Whether they like to admit it or not, everyone’s got a bit of ‘Tamsin’ in them”.
“It was great! Because I was a bit of a goody-two-shoes at school. I was never Tamsin, I was always the geek following her around, desperate for her to smile on me. So, I guess it was great to play someone like that who is troubled, who has such a pretentious quality to her. But you’ve got to love her; you’ve got to find her magnetic.”
“I think it’s about being a realist and being true to yourself, and your instincts and emotions; rather than it becoming a façade. With Tamsin, it’s all façade. She has kind of a frightening imagination. You have to have that as an actress. You have to be able to touch on those experiences that you haven’t had and characters that you have no relation to. It’s important to be able to dig deep, but I think it’s about being very real with yourself more than anything.”
(On being an actress)
“You feel very much like a puppet, but it had been what I was accustomed to – so you just get on with it and try to find something that rings true.”
“I have sly eyes. When I was in school they always said, ‘Emily can never be elected Head Girl because you never know what she’s thinking.”
(On Susan Sarandon)
“She’s just a force of nature. Amazing to work with. We just had such a laugh. And, she’s frighteningly smart”.
(On becoming a successful actress)
“It was just crazy. It just sort of fell into my lap. It’s an awful story for people who’ve struggled and waited. It’s a horrible thing to hear. It was just incredibly fortunate. And now I can’t believe I was so casual about it, because I really wouldn’t want to do anything else.”
(On her childhood)
“My head was occupied all the time. I was confused about what I wanted to do or who I was; I didn’t really feel I had an identity growing up.”
(On performing period-drama dialogue)
“I mean, you try to make it as real as possible but when you have lines like ‘The fallen eagle is Caesar; the vulture Octavius, and there is one, yet to be decided, who will betray them all’. And you’re just like, ‘Great, how am I going to make that work?’.”
(On accepting her Golden Globe in 2007 without a written speech)
“The Globes night was a frenzy: I hadn’t written anything. I looked down at the audience and Jack Nicholson was staring up at me and I couldn’t even remember what my bloody name was. So I have learnt my lesson!”.
I couldn’t talk as a kid because I stammered all the time, so I would just watch. I’m fascinated by human behavior. People surprise me all the time. And I love being able to morph into different characters.
“I like fashion, I’m very partial to Marc Jacobs and Prada, but I don’t want clothes to wear me. Ordinarily, I dress like a teenage boy in layered T-shirts and Converse gear. Emily, my fashion-obsessed character in The Devil Wears Prada, was an alien from Planet Fashion.”
“In the UK, which is what I know because it’s where I grew up, it’s more of a parochial thing that’s going on there. It’s not so politicized. It doesn’t have the same power or resonance that it has over here. I would say that I’m Christian, but I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly religious in any way. I think that the people that I met on the movie, and they were real born, again Christians, seemed very sorted, as if God had dropped in their laps and suddenly everything was fine. I don’t know what I feel about that.”
“I’ve definitely been in love. I’ve definitely invested so much in another person that I would put them before myself. I think that can be a dangerous game to play because you don’t look after yourself so much. I think it’s important that there is a quality of self-contentment in a relationship. But I know what it feels like to…it’s all encompassing.”
“When you’re in love you completely lose sight of everything. You can’t think straight. When you’re passionate about something there is that feeling that you want to rip it out of your brain. So, I don’t know. I think there should be some psychological forgiveness for that.”
“Life is ambiguous, isn’t it? It’s never as black and white as you see it in the movie.”