In Nocturnal Animals, Amy Adams plays Susan Morrow, a successful gallery owner who is forced to confront her past when a novel written by her ex husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhal) arrives out of the blue.
Below, the five-time Oscar nominee talks about how much she enjoyed working with director Tom Ford and why she wanted to take her character’s wardrobe home with her after the shoot.
When you were reading Nocturnal Animals for the first time, what were your thoughts?
Typically when I first read a script I just look at the overview and I thought Tom had done such a wonderful job of bringing these elements of reality and story and past and present all together. And it seemed like an impossible task to bring put it together into a film and do it seamlessly so of course I wanted in. And when I spoke to Tom he had such a strong sensibility and such a strong way of communicating his intent and how he was going to weave seamlessly and I just wanted to be a part of what that was going to be. And he did such a wonderful job of doing that, bringing it all together.
What is your take on the message Edward is sending Susan through his novel?
It’s interesting because when you work with a director you know that they have their intent and what I found so fascinating is that it wasn’t until I started hearing Tom speak about the movie that I heard that he felt it was so much about hanging on to love and loyalty. You know Susan didn’t do that and she has paid the consequences and the film illustrates that very well.
What was it like being on a Tom Ford set?
It was awesome. I could probably say fun and it was fun. It was so outside of the reality that I actually participate in. The aesthetics were so exquisite. Like, I’m never going to invite Tom to my house (laughs). I love you Tom, but you are not going to invited to my house. It would probably give him a rash because it’s just not that beautiful. Nothing in my life is as beautiful as the world that Tom creates. He is so beautiful and he does a good job of making other people look beautiful. But it was really a joy because it really helped me find who this character was and find her perfectionism, and that everything had to be just so.
How does Tom’s work as a designer feed into his film work?
I don’t think it has anything to do with how he tells stories because that comes from a deeper place in Tom that is not at all related to his experience in fashion, although I’m sure when he is putting a collection together there is definitely a story there and you can see that. I think his directing comes from a different place; it comes from a place I would wager to say is much deeper inside of him. But I think that the years of paying attention to detail and being a designer, I know that he is involved in every aspect [of filmmaking] and that’s not the case with all directors. There are time when some directors aren’t involved with all aspects of the shoot but he was involved in everything and I think that allowed for the film to have such a seamless quality and such a very specific tone and look and feel and texture because Tom wanted to be a part of every detail.
You have to convey so much, with just your facial expressions, when we see Susan reading the novel. What was that like for you?
What’s great is that Tom really let the camera roll and he would tell me what parts of the book we were on and he really just let me take my time. And in doing that you are allowed to experience a whole journey of emotions, really, because he allows for the camera to just sit there for a very long time. I would get really self-conscious but that creates another wonderful level because you have to work through that and any time you allow for something to just be honest and the director doesn’t call ‘cut’ there’s a certain struggle in finding your way that can create really wonderful moments on film. And so often directors cut when they see an actress struggle and sometimes if an actor is willing to struggle through it on camera it is the most interesting thing to watch.
Let’s talk about the wardrobe for the film…
It’s amazing. Initially it’s completely intimidating because it’s Tom Ford and I’m human and so therefore flawed and I kind of wanted to be flawless for Tom but I gave that up and once I gave that up it was a lot of fun. I can say I’ve never had a more beautiful wardrobe in any film I’ve ever done. The pieces were extremely well thought out and it was designers from across the board, not just Tom Ford.
Was there one piece in particular that you were like ‘I want that one?’
One? [laughs]. There’s a white shirt and the Celine glasses. I think the glasses were the thing; I was like ‘I need those glasses!’ And then there’s a Celine shirt that’s white and it’s the most beautiful shirt. Actually, I could never own it because I would spill coffee on it immediately but it’s so exquisite. And I love the green dress. I’m so practical; I would never get it in green. I would get it in black, which I understand they are manufacturing, so that would be good. Ladies, you can have the dress, which is very smart.