HOLLYWOOD (Reuters) – Like the lead character she portrays in the highly acclaimed movie version of “Gone Girl”, Rosamund Pike fell off nearly everyone’s radar.
At the tender age of 21, the British actress was cast as the sultry Miranda Frost, a sword-wielding vixen in the James Bond film “Die Another Day”, her first studio feature.
She powdered on enough make-up to look a decade older, donned a black sports bra, and met an untimely demise with a knife to her heart. Onscreen, she was killed by Halle Berry. Off-screen, she suffered a far worse blow to her budding career.
The baggage of playing a Bond Girl backfired. “It cemented a sort of patrician, frigid, English, stand-offish cold image,” says Pike, over breakfast in September at the Toronto Film Festival.
“People think I lie about my age. I never had a chance to do those young roles.”
After her high-profile gig in the 2002 Bond picture, the actress persevered for years in supporting parts, in films such as “Pride & Prejudice”, “An Education” and “Barney’s Ver-sion”.
But all that changed in July 2013 when she landed her first lead in a movie – as Amy Dunne in David Fincher’s thriller “Gone Girl” – the most coveted role of the year.
“I’ve always been given roles that are more mature than I am,” says Pike, 35.
“Now it could be that it’ll all start reversing, and I’ll stay around 30.”
The film could reverse a career trajectory that until now had not been headed in the direction of stardom.
There’s tremendous excitement building around her standout performance in the movie, which 20th Century Fox debuted nationwide on October 3.
In “Gone Girl”, based on Gillian Flynn’s bestselling novel (8.5 million copies sold and counting), Pike stars as the perfect wife, who disappears from home one day, leaving police suspicious that her husband Nick (Ben Affleck) has murdered her.
Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck (R) star in ‘Gone Girl’
Amy is a riotous, multilayered role that every A-lister, from Reese Witherspoon to Olivia Wilde, chased after.
But Fincher, who prefers to cast less-famous actresses (think Rooney Mara in “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”), hand-picked Pike to walk in Amy’s shoes.
The movie-star business could use a fresh force like Pike. The hot female superstars of the ‘90s (Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan and Demi Moore) no longer headline blockbusters, and their re-placements (Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley) are much younger.
Other than Angelina Jolie, who is 39, there aren’t many actresses in their 30s who can carry a movie.
“Amy has many sides to her, and Rosamund was able to really show one emotion to the next,” says Flynn, who also adapted the screen-play.
“It’s a pretty thrilling and frightening talent.”