Amy Adams on body image, the gender pay gap and playing a woman with no vanity in Arrival

“
I didn’t have to play
 younger, I didn’t have to
 play coy, or try to attract or
 distract someone. I wasn’t
 trying to explore a love interest. 
It’s unusual”

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The reason for my meeting with the five-times Oscar-nominated Amy Adams is to chat about her new film, Arrival, in which she plays a professor of linguistics hired by the military to decode alien communications.


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It’s a strong, intelligent lead role for a woman, so I’m embarrassed to confess that our conversation begins with her gravity-defying breasts. The actress is wearing the same plunging neckline that defined her role in American Hustle and I can’t resist asking if she worries about wardrobe malfunctions?

She laughs. It’s a damp, autumnal London day and Adams says she is more worried about getting cold than exposing her breasts. “I think it comes from being a dancer for so many years. I’m not self-conscious about my body but maybe I should be. My daughter got upset by my chest-baring in American Hustle.” But it didn’t stop her from turning up to the London premiere of Arrival in a diaphanous white robe with a neckline to the waist.

In sharp contrast, her character in Arrival is make-up free and wears nothing but plain T-shirts and combat trousers. “It was great just rolling out of bed and going to work, not having to worry about hair and make-up. It’s refreshing to play a character with no vanity. I have always felt an expectation
 to look my best. I often play characters who are younger
 than me so I worry about
 that. But with this role 
I didn’t have to play
 younger, I didn’t have to
 play coy, or try to attract or
 distract someone. I wasn’t
 trying to explore a love interest. 
It’s unusual.”

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Arrival

Arrival (in cinemas from Thursday 10 November) plays to one of our greatest fears, the threat of planetary extinction, but does so without resorting to the action-packed hysteria of most Hollywood films. Jeremy Renner plays a supporting role as the mathematician on the team. His credits include The Hurt Locker, The Bourne Legacy and the Avengers films, and he was keen to work with Adams again after they met on American Hustle.

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It would be interesting to know how his fee for this role compares to hers.