Andrea Riseborough is on a roll. Not content with having portrayed Margaret Thatcher in BBC Four drama The Long Walk To Finchley, and and Wallis Simpson in Madonna’s 2011 film W.E, the 31-year-old North East actress now features in Oblivion, Tom Cruise’s new futuristic sci-fi blockbuster. She and the Cruiser play the last remaining humans left on earth after an alien invasion in the film which premiered in London last night. Andrea, who lives in Idaho with artist boyfriend Joe Appel, spoke exclusively to Grazia to tell us about visiting Mr Cruise’s house, how down to earth he is and that she hopes to work with Madonna again someday.
Grazia Daily: Tell us about Oblivion. Is this the sort of film you’d usually do?
Andrea: I was so excited when I read the script. My agent called me and said, ‘[the director] Joseph Kosinki would like to meet you at Tom Cruise’s house and talk about this project. I said, ‘Great. When’s the next plane?’ I got on a flight from Idaho to Los Angeles. It was all a bit of a blur! I met them and they took me through their whole world visually. I’d never seen anything like it before. It really felt like a fantastic environment to be working in, even just in the space of a sitting room, to be working with Tom and directed by Joe. They then offered me the part. We had months to prepare and it took us seven or eight months to shoot. It was exciting because you got to see what was inside Joe Kosinki’s head come to life as we walked onto the set of the Sky Tower which is this phenomenally beautiful minimalist box of zen perfection thousands of feet in the sky where Tom’s character and my character live.
Grazia Daily: Tom Cruise has a reputation for being super professional and something of a perfectionist on set. How did you find him?
Andrea: He’s such an inspiring team leader. Every morning, he’s enthusiastic, smile on his face, coffee in his hand and raring to go. It just gees everybody up. He makes everybody feel like they’re part of something very special that we’re creating. Often that can get lost in the crazy process of big filmmaking because there’s so much going on but he takes time with each individual person to always make them feel valued and despite his great success, he’s always looking to evolve and try new things. I learnt so much from him on that set. I really hope to continue myself to be open in that way.
Grazia Daily: What surprised you about working with Tom Cruise?
Andrea: Everything was a surprise to me. I don’t know why but I never seem to have picked up on any of these things people have said about other people beforehand! I just went into it looking forward to meeting him and, having my own admiration for his work, I was so excited to be able to work with him. So everything was a surprise because I had no idea what he was going to be like.
Grazia Daily: You’re one of the few people to have worked with both Cruise and Madonna. What is it about those icons that set them apart from everybody else?
Andrea: You know all the readers want to know the answer to that- the secret to how to be so successful and inspiring. I don’t know the answer! What I can say is that I have been so inspired by each of them and so fortunate to work with both of them. Each experience was very different and both experiences were so valuable.
Grazia Daily: How do you look back at playing Wallis Simpson in Madonna’s W.E.?
Andrea: It was a fantastic experience, a wonderful time in my life. It was fulfilling in so many ways-for instance, artistically, in terms of the wonderful team that we had. I made friends for life [on W.E]. It was a life-changing experience.
Grazia Daily: Do you still keep in touch with Madonna?
Grazia Daily: Would you like to collaborate with her again?
Andrea: I’d love to.
Grazia Daily: Oblivion is quite a stylish blockbuster, is it not?
Andrea: It is just so breathtaking to look at. We didn’t have green screens while we were shooting. We had huge screens of skyscapes that Joe had already shot from a volcano in Hawaii. Outside there would be a sunrise or a lunar eclipse. It was a very strange experience because this was so believable and you felt you were looking at the outdoors but then you’d go outside and it would be pitch black. My character in Oblivion only remembers ever loving Jack [Cruise’s character] and being devoted to their lives together. She’s very logical and sensible. I had to be sensible for a long time and I’m not very sensible myself.
Oblivion is in cinemas now.
Interview by Tom Teodorczuk