So you’re starring in Domino as the fashion model/bounty hunter Domino Harvey. That must have taken you to some new places.
We did bounty-hunter training school in the desert, teaching us how to kick down doors. It was like extreme hide-and-seek. And we were in strip clubs quite a lot–I had never been in one before.
What did you think?
They’re interesting. The underwear looks uncomfortable, and they must be chafing when they slide on that pole. I had lap-dancing lessons for the movie, with my mom in the room—she brought me lots of coffee and cigarettes. I was coordinating with my bum double, figuring out if I moved the top half of my body, what would happen with the bottom half of hers. I practiced on my lovely assistant Derek, who’s a bloke.
You’re saying that one of the perks of being your personal assistant is free lapdances?
Yes, but that’s all over now that I’m working on Pirates of the Caribbean again.
You complained that you didn’t get to use a sword in the first Pirates movie—how about this time?
I’m getting to use two swords. One is so last year, man.
Was Domino the first time you ever fired a gun?
Yes, and I hated it. I was okay with the automatic, but the machine gun freaked the fuck out of me. Something about the power of it—after I finished practicing with it, I burst into tears. So Tony [Scott, the director,] said, as soon as we start shooting, just start screaming at the top of my lungs. And it worked.
And that’s a technique you can use the next time you’re having a rough patch in a romantic comedy. You also displayed your nunchuk technique in Domino?
I was learning to use them when I was shooting Pride and Prejudice, so I’d sneak off and practice with the nunchuks while wearing my Elizabeth Bennett dress. Nunchuks look good, but apparently they’re a crap weapon. I kept hitting myself in the back of the head. They were covered with foam at first, but you need for them to hurt, so you’ll stop hitting yourself in the back of the head.
It must have been disconcerting when the real Domino OD’d.
It was shocking. I wish I’d known her better. I hadn’t met her that many times, on purpose. I actually based my performance on my best mate–I decided to pick somebody completely different. It’s all or nothing with me, and in this case it was nothing.
What have you been spending your money on?
I bought a flat in Marble Arch, in the Arabic part of London, and I’ve been watching other people do it up. It looks really cool, but there isn’t much furniture—so I don’t have to worry about people spilling their drinks.
What was the most trouble you ever got into growing up?
I was a real boring, swottish kind of girl. I regret it now. My best mate had so many detentions—do you have detentions in the United States?
Oh, good. She had piles and piles of detention slips, for every possible reason, and she made them into a huge collage, which now covers one wall of her apartment. It looks brilliant. So the moral of the story, kids, is that detention slips are cool.
What’s your greatest vice?
Oh, I can’t say that here. Um, a drink and a cigarette.
You were about to say “a drink and a fag.”
Yeah, I was. But what kind of fucking country do you have here, where you can’t drink until you’re 21? How can you not hold your drink when you’re 21? I resent it hugely—I’m European, and I need a glass of red wine with dinner.
What’s the most inappropriate thing you’ve ever done with your tongue?
Use your imagination.
Interview by Gavin Edwards. Originally published, in a slightly shorter version, in Rolling Stone 984 (October 6, 2005).