Emily Watson: 'War Horse Feels Like Payback'
"I think there's a lot of guff sometimes.
"I look around the room, and realise I've already spoken to most of the people in it, and wonder, 'why are we all here, listening to the same anecdotes all over again?' Why don't we all just go home to bed?!"
Emily Watson has a very refreshing, slightly intimidating, very British take on the whole circus that goes with having a role in the already-celebrated War Horse, although she's quick to appreciate the upside too:
"I can't complain, it's been such a thrill to be on this ride, to work with an iconic American filmmaker - and I don't know who would've taken on such an ambitious project."
Watson's co-star Tom Hiddleston has revealed time slowed down for him when he got director Steven Spielberg's call, so how did it feel for the actress who got her big break 15 years ago in Breaking the Waves?
"It feels a little bit payback," she reveals, "because I spend a lot of time grubbing around in the dodgy end and working hard.
"He made that call because he'd seen me in a movie ten years ago, Hilary and Jackie. We met at a nominees' luncheon in Hollywood, he came over and said, 'well done.' Ten years later, I got the call."
Despite knowing she's worthy of inclusion on his roll call, Watson is clearly in awe of her director's skill:
"He's like a great pianist - he can do a great range of different things with a camera, be intimate and emotionally quiet and then create these huge spectacles, action and battles. He can turn on a sixpence. And he's a compelled storyteller, he's made his life out of it. He's one of those superhuman people, and you think, how do you do it?"
Watson had better not tire of the circus just yet. She's currently in Los Angeles doing it all over again for the Golden Globes, where she's nominated for her role in Fred West TV drama Appropriate Adult, an exercise at the opposite end of the spectrum from War Horse:
For Appropriate Adult, we were doing 15 pages a day (on War Horse it was two), working on incredibly long scenes. When we finally reached the interview scenes with Fred West's revelations, the core of the drama, there was a real sense of occasion. It was almost like being in theatre. But... it was good to leave that one behind as well. I had mixed feelings."
So which is more satisfying, medium-sized fish in epic pond, or...?
"It's great to mix it up and have both. As an acting workout, in Appropriate Adult, I was going for the burn. I was aching and sweating at the end of that, but this (War Horse) was a great, epic thing to be part of. When I read the script, I knew it seemed good, but I thought, how the f*** are they going to do that?"
War Horse is in UK cinemas now. Watch the trailer below: