Meet the real actress behind the CG ''Simone''
Follow closely now: ”Simone,” the latest movie from ”The Truman Show” director Andrew Niccol, is about a computer-generated actress who is passed off as the real thing. In reality, the film’s studio, New Line Cinema, made an attempt to pass off the real thing (actress Rachel Roberts) as a computer-generated actress. The film’s press notes go so far as to claim that the French effects house BUF, Inc. digitally created the ”synthespian” by pooling from a virtual melting pot of leading ladies — including Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. Not so. Now, after the film’s release, New Line fesses up to the hoax and Rachel Roberts can finally admit that she is, in fact, Al Pacino’s co-star in ”Simone.” Sparking memories of the first time Cameron Diaz — then an inexperienced model-turned-actress — waltzed on to the screen in ”The Mask,” Roberts has the looks to make audiences wonder ”whodat?” EW.com spoke to the actress and offers eight things you need to know about the virtually perfect blonde bombshell.
1. Until recently, Roberts never existed, according to New Line Cinema.
Prior to the film’s release, Roberts was prohibited from doing interviews in order to preserve the illusion that Simone is really CG. To maintain the hoax, Roberts was whisked to sets in a wig and glasses, and she worked under the alias Anna Green (short for anamorphic green screen). Bound to strict confidentiality agreements that prevented her from telling even her parents about the part (Dad knew, she admits, but Mom had no idea what was up), Roberts doesn’t even get acknowledgment in the film’s credits, which read: ”Simone as herself.”
2. Roberts’ acting was touched up to make it look less real.
”They started with the basis of me,” she explains. ”I did my performance, and they fed it into a computer and ‘simonized’ it.” That process involved such changes as perfecting her skin by removing freckles and making her vocals just a touch out of sync. In addition, she was asked to behave slightly less human: she learned to slow her movement and not blink or breathe for up to two minutes at a time. (The average human would blink approximately 24 times in the same period.)
3. She’s a rookie — ”Simone” is her first acting gig.
Not only does ”Simone” mark Roberts’ first acting job, it’s the first time she ever auditioned for a role. Hesitant to take the leap into acting without the know-how, Roberts was begged by her agent to show up at an open casting call for a top-secret part. It wasn’t until after the rookie beat out a slew of unknown models and actresses that she learned what the role was.
4. She’s a top model who’s been working the runways since high school.
As a teen in Canada, Roberts launched a successful modeling career that bounced her between Paris, London, L.A., and New York. She appeared on the covers of Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire, and in Sports Illustrated’s 2000 swimsuit issue alongside fellow model-turned-actresses Heidi Klum and Estella Warren.