Rosamund Pike has accomplished quite a bit over the years. She joined the James Bond film franchise, was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in Gone Girl, scored the Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series for her performance in State of the Union, delivered exceptional work in Hostiles, A Private War, I Care a lot and so much more. But even with all of that, Amazon’s The Wheel of Time marks a major first for Pike — it’s her very first time leading a live-action series.
She stars as Moiraine, a member of the Aes Sedai, a group of women with the ability to wield the “One Power.” Men are forbidden from channeling this magic because all previous attempts have had devastating results. Now, Moiraine is on the hunt for the Dragon Reborn, an extremely powerful individual prophesized to save or destroy the world. She comes to suspect that the Dragon Reborn is one of five people living in the small town of Two Rivers - Rand al'Thor (Josha Stradowski), Perrin Aybara (Marcus Rutherford), Egwene al'Vere (Madeleine Madden), Mat Cauthon (Barney Harris) or Nynaeve al'Meara (Zoë Robins). The first season covers Moiraine’s attempt to lead them on a treacherous trek back to the Aes Sedai home base, the White Tower in Tar Valon.
With the first three episodes of The Wheel of Time now available to watch, Pike joined us for an episode of Collider Ladies Night to celebrate the show and to revisit her journey from first getting discovered at the National Youth Theatre to headlining a blockbuster-level Amazon series.
By the time David Fincher’s Gone Girl came around, Pike had already appeared in major productions like Die Another Day, Pride & Prejudice and Doom, just to name a few. But Gone Girl is the film she credits with first hitting her stride. Here’s how she put it:
“It was like letting out every single part of being a woman. I’d come home to my partner and say, ‘I just get to do everything with this character.’ Because even if she isn’t that thing essentially, Amy, she’s playing it or she’s putting it on or she’s doing a show or she’s pretending to be something she’s not or the whole kind of cool girl trope and all the different selves that she’s able to project, and then obviously where it goes it’s like you get to do everything. And it was like, after that, the floodgates opened, and I’d kind of fully let out the crazy and after that, I never had to put the crazy back in the box again. [Laughs] It was kind of out there and people asked me to do it again in different ways, many different ways. Sometimes just extremity of emotions, sometimes physical extremity, and it’s just been more and more fun really since then. And also I had hundreds of hours on camera, because that’s what Fincher does with his films. He puts all the budget into time, quite a small crew and the budget of the film goes in number of days, and so I was definitely more in front of a camera on that film than ever before in all the cumulative films of my career to that point.”
Once those floodgates opened, one might suspect Pike could have had opportunities to jump into the live-action series format sooner, but ultimately, it was a seven-year gap between the release of Gone Girl and the premiere of The Wheel of Time. So why wait so long to finally commit to a starring role in a live-action series?
“I didn’t want to commit to a live-action series before because there were too many things I still had to learn, too many women to play. I’ve played this whole slew of characters since Amy that taught me more and more and I grew a lot as an actress I think. And then I kind of felt that this character called me. There’s a reason that these things come to you at a certain time and I felt there was a very strong — it was like a voice in my head that thought, ‘You have to listen to this. You have to do this one. I think it’s gonna teach you stuff,’ and it was something about the nature of channeling this woman who could harness the powers of the universe and I thought there was a dimension of this character that would be a teacher, be a guide. I mean, she is a guide in the show, but I thought she could be a guide to me, too.”
Eager to hear more from Pike? This right here is only scratching the surface of our Collider Ladies Night conversation! You can watch more in the video at the top of this article or listen to the full interview uncut in podcast form below:
These lessons actually came in handy on 'Wheel of Time!'
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