For actress Lesley Manville, signing on to Phantom Thread was a no-brainer: The actress told Entertainment Weekly: The Show she said yes practically the second Paul Thomas Anderson called her about the role.
“You just want to say, ‘Look, I don’t care, whatever it is I’ll do it,’ but I thought I’d better read it, I’d better look professional,” she said. “So I read it and called him the next day. And that was it, it was in the bag.”
Beyond working with Anderson, it was also a chance for Manville to perform opposite Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis, playing his sister, and her preparation for the film involved building that relationship organically. “We met a few times, about two or three times,” she recalled. “We talked on the phone a lot — we developed a friendship, a sense of humor between us, and we’re very comfortable together. So then you take that and you jiggle it around, you reinterpret it, you make that comfort fit for our characters, Reynolds and Cyril, so that we could get to the point where these two people can sit and have breakfast together and not talk, and it’s fine.”
For Manville, the film is a crucial, poignant examination of love and its place in our lives. “It’s a lovely film about how hard it is to love, how compromised it can make us be, how we do have to adjust if we want that in our lives,” she said. “You know, you want somebody, you want a soul mate, you want somebody who loves you and cares for you, but that comes at a price because you can, to a degree, lose your autonomy and your sense of self and your need to be alone sometimes.”
Even if she weren’t in the movie, Manville added, it would rank as “one of my top films of all time.”
Watch the clip above for more. Phantom Thread is currently playing in select theaters and will expand further on Friday.