One of the best surprises from last week's Golden Globes nominations was the inclusion of Sally Hawkins in the supporting actress category for "Blue Jasmine." As Cate Blanchett's on-screen sister Ginger, Hawkins, who is British, played her first American character, a role that she carried off with the help of dialect coach and studying performances from Julianne Moore and Laura Linney.
"Blue Jasmine" is the second time Hawkins has collaborated with Woody Allen, following 2007's "Cassandra's Dream." In 2011, Hawkins won a Golden Globe for her breakthrough turn in Mike Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky" as a jubilant London grade school teacher. When she stumbled to the podium that night, her fellow nominee Meryl Streep whispered in her ear, "Are you happy now?"
"Blue Jasmine" and some of her other roles.
I want to ask you about something not related to Woody Allen first. Is it true that were an extra on "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace"?
Oh, I don't even know if I made the final cut. It was one day, many, many years ago. I was still in drama school. A friend was working on it and got me in. I was in a huge audience scene. We were replicated about a thousand times.
Did you wear a costume?
I wore a chiffon costume. It was quite a look. And I saw Ewan [McGregor]. He would not remember me.
That's right you later worked with him on "Cassandra's Dream." Did you tell him about the cameo?
I never told him. I just passed by him. He was playing football, and I was on my way to set.
Did you meet George Lucas?
No, certainly not. I was just an extra in the village. I got paid 100 quid, I think.
Why did Woody think of you for Ginger?
I don't know. You'd have to ask Woody that. As far as I knew, I just went in for casting. I knew it was an American, so it would be a longshot.
Haven't you played an American before?
No, and I was anxious about that. It was like "Cassandra's Dream." How he cast for that, I went to see him after he saw a screen test. This time, he didn't see a screen test. I just went along to read. You sit in a room for 10 minutes with the scene he's given you. He comes in and he watches you read it.
Was that scary?
Terrifying. It's always scary, whoever it is. But more so because it's Woody.
How did you find the accent?
I had great help from [dialect coach] Carla Meyer, who Cate's worked with before. I wanted to get to the States as quickly as possible, to immerse myself in the accent and do the proper work. She's an amalgamation of many different sounds. But she's also putting on something. She's escaped that adopted family life to start again. She has a mixture of New York thing going on, but she also has a San Francisco thing. We didn't want to make it too New York.
Sally Hawkins on her Secret 'Star Wars' Role and 'Blue Jasmine'
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