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Last Updated: Friday, 16 January, 2004, 11:26 GMT
Earring actress salutes co-star
by Neil Smith
BBC News Online

Girl with a Pearl Earring actress Essie Davis says she is proud of her co-star Scarlett Johansson, who has been nominated for two Golden Globes.

Essie Davis
Davis plays Vermeer's wife in Girl with a Pearl Earring
"I think it's absolutely fantastic - it can only help the film," the Australian actress told BBC News Online.

"Awards and nominations really help sell films. I'm really pleased and proud for everyone, and if we go on to get Oscar nominations too, and Baftas..."

Her voice trails off, but the implication is clear - an award for Johansson is an award for everyone, and testament to the strong bonds that formed during the film's Luxembourg shoot.

"There's something great about being on location with a bunch of people - there's a camaraderie and intimacy that builds up over time," Davis said.

As the perennially pregnant wife of Dutch master Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth), Davis looks on in horror as he forms a dangerous attachment with a humble servant girl (Johansson).

But the dramatic story did not impact upon the convivial atmosphere of the film's eight-week shoot.

"We were trying out all the most hilarious restaurants in Luxembourg, with the oddest combinations," Davis said. "It was a great ensemble."

Colin Firth and Essie Davis
Colin Firth plays 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer
Those eight weeks on the Pearl Earring shoot were vividly contrasted by the eight days she spent making the recent Matrix sequels, but Davis has equally fond memories.

"It was great fun - I played a female doctor on a ship with a male crew, so it was all boy's fun," she said.

"The Wachowski brothers were fantastic to work with, and very meticulous - they would spend an entire morning filming a single blink."

Broadway calls for the actress, who will travel to New York in the National Theatre production of Tom Stoppard's Jumpers when it finishes its West End run.

And after that she has a small role in Code 46, a futuristic love story starring Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton.

For now, though, she is happy to be associated with a film that has been acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.

"It was a gift - I got to play one of the most complex, dramatic roles I've ever played," she said.

"It's a really beautiful film that deserves being watched more than once."

Girl with a Pearl Earring is out now. Jumpers continues at the Piccadilly Theatre, London.

Essie Davis on BBC Breakfast
"It's an incredibly sexy film"

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01 Jan 04  |  Film


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