Keira, what was your first reaction on reading your mother's script for the film?
Keira Knightley: "She gave it to me when I was working on The Jacket when I was 18 and I can't even remember why, because she'd never done it before, but she wanted notes on it. But I thought it was a really beautiful story. You very rarely see films that really study friendship and rivalry and the complexities of a group of friends and how they can implode and how they manipulate each other. I thought it was completely fascinating. The fact that it was based on a true event and that Dylan Thomas happened to be one of the friends, I thought that was very exciting."
Were you keen on playing the character of Vera straight away?
Keira: "Originally when I read it [the characters] were written a lot older - I was 18 when I first read it. So I didn't even think that I could play either of the characters. But I gave the script to a producer just to try and help... and he said 'so are you going to play one of these parts?' I went 'yes' and he said 'which one?' and I said 'Vera'. It just sort of came out and I hadn't really thought about it but I stuck with it."
Sienna, you were cast as Caitlin after Lindsay Lohan suddenly dropped out. How much time did have have to prepare before filming?
Sienna Miller: "Maybe a little under two weeks."
Was it a shock when the call came?
Sienna: "John (Maybury, director) and I had been great friends for years, so I knew all about the project anyway and I heard that there were maybe a few problems with certain... so I had an inkling maybe. But two weeks, which was not enough. Normally I'm a bit of a boff and there's a lot to read especially as she was a real person. It was just two sleepless weeks... but I skimmed the book that Caitlin had written. I didn't have time to prepare but in a way it kind of served the character because it's just as free and as brave as you want it to be."
Would you see Caitlin's feisty, free-spirited character is quite close to yours?
Sienna: "Yeah, I'm pretty feisty and free-spirited I think. Maybe not quite as much as her! I think that's pushing it, but I'm open. I might do a cartwheel in the pub!"
What was your take on the relationship between Caitlin and Vera?
Sienna: "I thought it was extraordinary for there to be two female leads and a relationship that isn't one-dimensional. Here are these two strong women and they both stand up to each other. It's really rare to find women who are well written, let alone two in the same film. So it was kind of bliss, and to work with Keira because we're really close."
Caitlin endures such an emotionally and physically harrowing time. Was it hard to get the character out of your head when the cameras stopped rolling?
Sienna: "I think inevitably, and this is something I've realised the more I've worked, it comes home with you if you’re being someone for twelve to fourteen hours a day. Whether you like it or not... you're affected by the spirit of the person you're playing, whether it's invented or they existed."
Keira, how sympathetic did you find the central characters?
Keira: "I find them all sympathetic. I think that's what's very clever about the whole film. We're not trying to deal with one-dimensional characters, we're trying to deal with deeply complex beings that hurt each other, that make mistakes. I thought what was wonderful about the writing was that you can empathise with all of them whilst realising that what they do is sometimes not right - you know I think it's entirely understandable. I think that's part of the challenge, particularly in playing Dylan, because he could have just been a bastard. And it was really important that you understand why these two women fall in love with him. I found the whole thing fascinating and sympathetic and risible at the same time."
Having worked on bigger productions was it refreshing to work on a smaller scale for The Edge Of Love?
Keira: "Yeah definitely, I loved it. What’s wonderful about being an actor is I've had the opportunity to do ridiculously huge piratical adventures and then do something that's much smaller and intimate. I want to carry on making British films, but the industry here is absolutely tiny. There's definitely more work over in America. I think it’s important if you have a profile that can help get British films made then that’s what you do. It’s my culture, it’s where I’m from, so the stories are always going to mean more."
Did you still have to contend with the press when filming in rural Wales?
Keira: "We did have paparazzi falling out of trees. It was actually really difficult and if you have a big film then you can deal with the amount of media attention. When you're on a tiny little film it is really difficult - there were occasions when there were more photographers than cast and crew members, which was just extraordinary. But yes I suppose - I grit my teeth when I say this - but I suppose it comes with the territory, it's part of the job and you just grin and smile through it."
Sienna, was it a conscious move to find a role in an escapist blockbuster like G.I. Joe after finishing The Edge Of Love?
Sienna: "I like the variety. I've never been in anything like that and the idea of running around with guns and two MP-7 rifles shooting and sprinting - it was just a new experience that came my way. I'm not an idiot and I do get that there is a strategy to some degree, in that the industry we're in now you have to be in a film that is incredibly successful commercially in order to be in a good film that has a big budget. I love independent films, but it’s really fun being in something where there’s huge sets and everything's exploding."
The Edge Of Love is released in cinemas nationwide from Friday, June 27
> Click here for our review of The Edge Of Love