Check out our exclusive interview with Sienna Miller on “21 Bridges”!
Best known for her roles in “The Lost City of Z”, “American Sniper”, “Layer Cake”, and “G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra”, Sienna Miller now plays Frankie Burns in “21 Bridges”. Starring alongside Chadwick Boseman, and J.K. Simmons, “21 Bridges” produced by the Russo brothers, follows an NYPD detective who goes on a manhunt throughout Manhattan to find two cop killers and uncover a massive conspiracy behind the murders. Check out our exclusive interview with Sienna on shooting the movie!
The Knockturnal: So how did you get to that point with your character? Did you sort of come in with this fully formed or did Brian Kirk sort of push you in that direction?
Sienna Miller: You know, we were moving at such a pace, as you can see in the film, that there wasn’t much time for too much rehearsal or conversation. It came together very last minute and I hopped off a project and, into this. So, I felt a little discombobulated, which I tried to use in it. I tried to imagine what that would be like to be a single mother raising a very sick kid at home, having to be out and put in this situation. You know, she’s complicated. We all were exhausted, as I’m sure you’ve heard, because it was a nonstop night shooting schedule. But yeah, I think she’s the kind of character that she wouldn’t be seen. She’s not asking for anything. It would have been fun to be like the big personality in that group, but I think if you’re in narcotics and the way of reaching detective status means you’d have been undercover for three years doing drug deals and hanging out with very shady people. So, she’s good at disappearing and hiding, and that was interesting.
The Knockturnal: You’re also born in New York City. Was your character sort of modeled off of maybe some people you knew either now or growing up?
Sienna Miller: I spent time with people in the police force. They all have these thick accents as they call “real language” and I think hanging out with them before and on set probably influenced some of that. I also love an accent, so I’ll just run with it if I see an opportunity.
The Knockturnal: What was it like working with the Russo brothers as producers? Did you see them at all on set?
Sienna Miller: I saw them from a distance. I didn’t spend much time with them. I’m a big admirer of them. They’ve been incredible to Chadwick who is a great friend at this point. And he’s had huge success with them and I think it’s great that they’re stepping into this kind of world and making naked, gritty cop thrillers- and the kind of movies that I grew up loving.
The Knockturnal: Exactly. I was going to ask you that. What were some of your favorites growing up?
Sienna Miller: What are the iconic cop movies? “Fugitive”, some of those Lumet movies, “Heat” is one of the great movies of all time, you know, and this felt like it had those ingredients. It wasn’t just your standard good guys and bad guys. I liked that it toed a complicated moral line. It had more substance. And the Island lake where they were going to flood the island with glue; it’s just like these moments like, “I want to see that!”
The Knockturnal: This movie, “21 Bridges.”, it’s about New York City, which is sort of this architectural marvel. You’ve traveled the world, what are some of your favorite architectural marvels?
Sienna Miller: Anything by Frank Lloyd Wright here. “Falling Water” I have not been to, but I’m desperate to. But what you see a lot in our architecture around and the Getty Museum is beautiful, New York the Guggenheim- obsessed with. And the Cloisters is Incredible. Eiffel Tower, you know, Sydney Opera House and in London, Parliament takes my breath away. It looks like someone’s dropped a waxy candle in this building. And Big Ben -iconic. I don’t know if you could call Stonehenge architecture, but it sort of is. But I mean every city has beautiful architecture, the Colosseum, the Pantheon in Rome. Every city has something beautiful about it. But those European cities really have my heart, obviously because I grew up near there and just because they’re so old.
The Knockturnal: You’re a well established actress, have you changed your approach from when you first got in the game when it comes to learning a character?
Sienna Miller: I think I probably am a little bit more focused than I was then. It was definitely more of wherever the wind blew, I would go. I think I’m more strategic now in terms of where we are shooting the movie. My kid is in school in New York. There are other considerations that I have to make. Before, I could just do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And I think I always worked hard, but in my first two films, I was slightly overwhelmed. I think I did this movie “Factory Girl” which was my third film and I couldn’t have done more on that. So, I think the work ethic was there. I just needed to be interested and the more interested I am in a character, the harder I work and the better I am. So, I just know I have to be really invested in it for it to be worth potential time away from my kid and worth me doing the work.
The Knockturnal: You guys were on a pretty rough schedule for the movie. What was that like?
Sienna Miller: We were shooting a lot in Philly, which was doubling for New York. We did a lot of exteriors in New York as well, but I live in Manhattan, so we’d start shooting at 7 pm and then wrap at maybe 6 am, sometimes 5:30 am, sometimes 8 am. But I would try to drive back to New York, do the school run. Get into bed in New York, go to sleep, wake up at three, pick my daughter up, have an hour with her, drive back to Philly and I’d sort of sleep in the car or try to, and get earplugs, a duvet, a pillow and I kind of moved into this car. You just make it work. But that was the schedule. We were all like in a Twilight zone. It’s just, it really messes with your rhythms. I now would be very careful about looking for nights when I read a script.
The Knockturnal: And then what’s it like working with Chadwick Boseman?
Sienna Miller: You know, he’s a legend. He’s an absolutely phenomenal actor and everybody kind of knows him from Black Panther. I’ve watched him for years. He’s a character actor and I think he’s amazing and he’s amazing in Black Panther as well, which I think really redefined a universe of those movies and took it seriously. And that probably should’ve been nominated for best picture. You know, they made a serious film and it was saying something. He was producing this, he was disciplined, he was focused, he’s generous, he’s kind. He, as a producer, really for the first time treated me respectfully in terms of pay, and that really came from him. So, I’m incredibly grateful because I think a lot of men in this town talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. But Chadwick Boseman does. I can vouch for that and that it feels he’s respectful. He’s a pretty special guy.
Check out 21 Bridges, in theaters Friday, November 22!