Talking with Emily Watson-- The British actress discusses her new film ''Separate Lies''

By Missy Schwartz
Updated September 23, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Like any smart, polished British gal, Emily Watson, 38, is excited by ”proper, complicated, grown-up” stories. Which is why she was thrilled to play an upper-crusty adulteress caught between husband Tom Wilkinson and lover Rupert Everett in Separate Lies, the directorial debut of Gosford Park‘s Oscar-winning screenwriter Julian Fellowes.

You knew your Lies director from Gosford Park. How did this experience compare?

Very different. On Gosford, Julian was quiet, because obviously, [director] Robert Altman was running the show. [Here], he’d never directed a movie, but he really knows the English aristocratic, posh world, so that gives you trust. He’s very forthright, very funny, very opinionated, and very firmly in that world. The story so comes out of his DNA.

Did you enjoy stepping into that sphere?

The thing about people in that particular strand of Englishness is they don’t express themselves; they don’t talk about how they feel. I thought about what it would be like [to] suddenly find yourself on the other side of 30 with two beautiful homes, lots of cars, a hair appointment every week, false nails, but no life.

Here you play the wandering wife; in Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, you voice the role of the abandoned fiancée.

[Laughs] I do, yeah! Well, I’m never going to be a sort of riding-a-horse-and-toting-a-gun girl, am I? I’m at the wiving age, I think — in my 30s and wiving. I’m just about to have a baby [with actor husband Jack Waters], in fact, in October.

Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?

I do, but it’s a secret.

There are lots of those in this movie — plenty of lies, too. As an actress, you must be a deft fibber.

Um, well, I don’t know… I suppose when I’m up against it, I am quite a good liar.

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