What’s love got to do with it? The answer, if you’re Sienna Miller, is nothing – and everything. She talks to Stylist’s Megan Conner about acting, paparazzi, her critics and breaking up with actor Jude Law for the second time
Where shall we go for lunch?” asks a sunny Sienna Miller as we stride down Tottenham Court Road, one of central London’s busiest streets. It’s a chilly Monday and I’ve just spent the last 15 minutes waiting for the actress to break from rehearsals for her new West End play, Flare Path (lunch is usually at 1.30pm, but they’re running late today). “In here?” she says, turning her feet towards the entrance of what I assume will be a discreet, hip deli tucked away from the main street. But instead, it’s a branch of Café Rouge, the mid-market French restaurant chain.
“You really want to go in here?” I ask. “I know it’s not the classiest idea,” she says, pushing open the door and darting across the room as I lag behind her. “But we’ve been coming here quite a lot since we’ve been rehearsing and...” She pauses, misreading my body language, and exclaims, “My God, you’re right, it is really noisy. You’ll hardly be able to concentrate.”
“I was thinking of you, not me,” I explain, being completely honest, because if I was wondering about going somewhere quieter than the packed restaurant, it was for Sienna’s benefit. In the past few weeks the star’s private life has come under an intense level of media scrutiny – again – following the release of a statement announcing her split with Jude Law, the actor she reunited with 15 months ago after breaking off their first engagement in 2006. The reasons contributing to their parting the first time around were well-documented – Jude cheated with his children’s nanny, Daisy Wright, who later sold her story. In the years that have followed, Sienna has never quite been allowed to forget the incident.
But there’s nothing like a new story to take the attention off her last big scandal. (“Always some drama I’m involved in!” she tells me later). Today, the elephant in the room is still Jude but this time it’s the second break-up, an incident made even more noteworthy because the pair really did seem like they were destined to be together.
Of course, we don’t start with this subject, but I do point out that it’s unlikely that Sienna is going to go unnoticed by our fellow diners. Yet far from wearing the A-list uniform of dark glasses, she’s sporting a glowing tan from a recent holiday and looking effortlessly stylish in super-skinny grey jeans, black, suede, wedged boots and a big, navy blue cape. Doesn’t she worry about being hounded?
“Me? Oh, it’s fine,” she dismisses, waving a casual hand and opening her menu. “I’m used to it. Now, I quite fancy a burger and chips…"
In our family we have a ‘no Google’ policy. I rarely use the internet, I don’t even do social networking
IN THE DOLLHOUSE
We kick off by talking about the new play that’s currently consuming Sienna’s days, a romance written by the Forties British playwright Terence Rattigan, directed by Sir Trevor Nunn and set during the Blitz. “The rehearsals are pretty full-on,” she says widening her eyes and waving her hands in an animated fashion that continues for the next hour. “And they just make me so hungry!” Having realised that there are no burgers on the menu, Sienna has ordered a steak, which she begins to attack in the manner of a person who hasn’t eaten for days.
After telling the waitress she’ll have mustard, ketchup and mayo to accompany her chips (“The triple! All three!”), she returns to her point. This, I learn, is also classic Sienna – she’s easily distracted, stopping mid-sentence to coo at the baby on the next table or ask me if we’re accidentally playing footsie. “Doing a play is just such an intense thing,” she tells me. “Right now we’re rehearsing Monday to Friday but soon we’ll be doing eight shows a week. But that’s kind of the challenge… It’s like an endurance test.”
Sienna has already starred in two big theatre projects – As You Like It in the West End back in 2005 and After Miss Julie opposite Jonny Lee Miller on Broadway, which finished last year. Both plays collided with two incredibly high-profile periods in her life: first, the revelation of Jude’s alleged affair with the nanny, during which time there were crowds of paparazzi waiting outside performances of As You Like It every night. And more recently, there was her reunion with Jude – a friend of Jonny’s – in New York in 2009.
I suggest the intense pressure of performing on demand is something Sienna must be well coached in. Even so, she says, putting yourself ‘out there’ on stage evening after evening isn’t without its challenges. “In New York the audiences were very vocal, which was quite difficult because my character in that play was quite poisonous as a person. Every night they’d be like, ‘Oh, she’s disgusting! What a vile woman,’ and it’s hard not to take that personally.”
“At first I was really trying to go for the sympathy vote, but by the end of it, I sort of loved being detestable. I was ashen on the floor, spitting on Jonny. In the end, I found it really liberating.”
Surely as an actress, you simply look at the next role as another character you’re playing? “Not with me,” Sienna replies, with endearing honesty. “A lot of what inhibits me is my attachment to what people think. And I think I overcame a hurdle with After Miss Julie because I didn’t need to be loved [by everybody].”