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Rebecca Hall on playing a comprehensible antihero in Christine

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In the new biographical drama Christine, Rebecca Hall plays the tragic role of Christine Chubbuck, the Florida news anchor who shot and killed herself on a live broadcast in 1974.

It’s an undeniably disturbing story, but as Hall told EW in a recent video interview, Christine is all the more powerful because it illuminates Chubbuck’s humanity and relatability.

“She struck me as someone who is desperately trying to live, actually,” the British actress said of her character. “She’s desperately trying to do well, and part of that is this constant performance of what she perceives to be normal and acceptable in the world — which is something that I think everyone can relate to.”

Hall also expressed gratitude for the opportunity to play such a complex and challenging protagonist. “It is so rare that you get a Christine as an actor,” she said. “I think if you’re really very, very lucky, you get them maybe two or three times in your entire career. And that’s only if you’re lucky, and massively successful, and probably only if you’re a man, to be honest with you. Thank goodness there’s more and more a celebration of women playing big heroes in huge movies. We’ve still got a little way to go before it’s acceptable for women to be antiheroes.”

She added, “For me being an actor is about taking a character that is difficult to like and making them relatable, understandable, comprehensible on some level. And as a woman you don’t get to do that all that much. And the film I think is successful in humanizing [Chubbuck], and as a result it’s horrible to watch the end because you don’t want it to happen.”

Christine opens Oct. 14. Watch Hall’s interview above.