Talulah Riley (England, 36) hadn’t yet given herself the time to apprehend acting stardom when it came to her out of the blue for her private life. From a good family, educated in British schools for young girls, if she wanted to be anything, she was always a writer, acting came from school acting lessons and seeing that her father, a policeman all his life, started writing series scripts (police, of course) when he retired. The role of Mary Bennet in pride and prejudice Joe Wright’s with Keira Knightley (2005) was his debut; but it’s thanks to St Trinian (great pipes in Spanish), in 2007, the date of the launch of his career. And then, attention shifted to her from another side: in 2008, she started dating one of the richest and most controversial men in the world, Elon Musk (SpaceX , You’re here). In 2010 they got married, they divorced in 2012 to remarry in 2013 and finally divorced in 2016. Originby Christopher Nolan, was his last film before marriage and the series Westworld, after the final divorce, his return. In the middle, secondary and cameos, as he took a break to focus on family and marital life. Now, finally, six years into this whole chapter, when her personal life doesn’t seem to matter as much to the tabloids, she feels reborn as an actress and, what’s more, a mature actress thanks to the series Gun (Disney+), created by Danny Boyle based on the memories of Steve Jones and focused on the formation of the sex guns and the punk era in London. In it, Riley plays fashion designer and icon Vivienne Westwood.
Were you a fan of the Sex Pistols before Gun?
I don’t know if they are fans, but I knew them, of course. My dad was a policeman at the time so I knew them through him, another point of view I guess [se ríe].
In the series she plays Vivienne Westwood, could you meet her before filming?
Yes, she was very kind and generous with me and agreed to meet us before the start of filming to talk about the era, her look, her aesthetics. And, in addition, the Vivienne Westwood Foundation opened its archives to us so that we could recreate the entire wardrobe. Few people know this, but she was responsible for the punk aesthetic, the creator of the anarchist symbol. Her then-partner Malcolm McLaren [que interpreta en la serie Thomas Brodie-Sangster, actual novio de Riley]was the manager of the Sex Pistols.
It represents punk, irreverence, rebellion, do you identify with these words?
If we talk about the punk movement itself, I don’t know, it was another era, but I like its aesthetic aspect and its sensitivity. I think saying it now is very cliché, but they fully understood the need to change things and the feeling of helplessness when you have no control over your environment. I understand this feeling, but the reality is that I am one of those who follow the rules too much. [se ríe].
Who would be punk today?
Vivienne Westwood remains our best example. And I don’t know, I guess when Facebook was born it could be considered disruptive, but it’s not anymore.
Now that you mention Facebook, you recently admitted that you have uninstalled all social networks on your mobile.
Yes that’s it. It’s a black hole, I go in and I don’t know how to get out. I discovered that life is better without being online all the time
She’s been an actress, ‘wife of’, director, novelist, tech entrepreneur… and she’s only 36. Are there many lives in one?
Yes, I’m tired [se ríe]. I had a good life. I have many interests and I had the chance to develop several of them. Just being an actress allows you to explore so many other lives.
He has just published his second novel, Accelerationwhose slogan is “The future is female”, do you think?
I think there is room for everyone. The book is a dystopian thriller that explores and rejects extreme ideas. It focuses on a group of women who turn the UK into a rather dark political matriarchy. I should have done this two years ago, but I’m a bit of a slow, professional procrastinator. This came to mind with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, although it has evolved a lot since then.
Do you feel more comfortable as a writer than as an actress?
I do not know. As I like to do a lot of different things, I don’t set myself goals or labels, I prefer to see where I can go. I love playing. Do Gun It was a renaissance as an actress, I fell in love with acting again and I owe it to Danny Boyle. But I also like to write and I’m already working on my third novel, which is about sex robots.
When you started as an actress, you had a list of tasks or dreams, how is this list today?
I had it? I forgot all my dreams [risas], but I guess it’s not so bad to forget and keep setting new goals and dreams all the time. as happened with Gun. Before, I would never have been given a role like Vivienne Westwood, but now I feel like I’m maturing as an actress and as a woman, that I’m not seen as the naive girl or the English girl anymore. typical of the middle class. No, I’m Vivienne Westwood. [dice con orgullo], a living icon, had never played a real woman. We created a character, it’s not an imitation, the process was fascinating and different.
You say it’s not a character you would normally be given, was it difficult for you to get it?
Well I met Danny [Boyle] 10 years ago for another role, I got there foundry and as I sat down he told me the character wasn’t for me. A decade later, I saw it on Zoom, read for Vivienne and he gave it to me right away.
How he told her no like that. How do you deal with rejection, so common in your profession?
It sounds hard to hear, but then I appreciated his honesty, his easygoing attitude, and looked forward to working with him another time. It happens a lot when you’re an actress, of course, but you try not to take it personally. Every time they say no, you take it as best you can, you tell yourself that it’s a matter of luck or that the next role is going to come out and you continue because it’s still a magnificent job.
For many years while you were married to Elon Musk you were more famous for your personal life than your work, how did that interfere with your career?
It’s true that I took a big break in my acting career after working a lot between the ages of 18 and 22, and really, I just came back to 100% quite recently. We were together a long time and while we were married I focused on this life and didn’t work because I had stepchildren and other commitments. We have tried to preserve family intimacy as much as possible. And in that sense, I feel very lucky because I think in the end it didn’t have as much of an impact on my career as it could have. Press or industry scrutiny could have been much worse.
Do you think that you have already managed to overcome this image, that you are seen beyond this stage?
My life is very different now, I’m living in England again, I’m focused on what I’m doing, acting, writing… I’ve been able to move on and I don’t think anyone cares about me anymore, I’m living a fairly quiet life. Or maybe it’s because I don’t have apps on my phone and I’m not connected to the internet all day [risas], that also helps. And another curious thing that’s happening now that I’m back is that when I started I was the youngest on set and now I’m among the oldest. That’s why I guess other characters come to me too. on the set of Gun Thomas and I were called mum and dad. Oh good? How old are we? But I guess so, that the other actors were younger and see you like that, even though you still feel like a baby.
How Maye, Elon Musk’s mother, rose from his ashes and became a successful model in her 60s