Was it difficult to work with director Sam Mendes since he is also a good friend of yours?
It wasn’t difficult. In fact, I think one of the most important things about working with a director is finding a way to trust him and feeling like he is seeing you – all the complicated subtle things that you’re doing. So if the director is a friend and you know him already you have both of those elements. Usually you have someone whom you trust and you have someone who sees you. So in my view it only makes it easier.
What have you discovered about motherhood that surprised you the most?
Oh, everything about being a mother has surprised me. I think anyone who is a mother will tell you that.
Is it true you have quit smoking?
Yes, yes it is.
You are seen as a sex symbol across the globe – do you feel like that?
I find myself much sexier than I did when I was 22, partly because I’m so much more in command than I was then. I used to wear the most awful fabrics and not care that they rubbed at my skin. Now I just want to be comfortable and I’ve realised that’s the sexiest thing of all.
Hollywood is obsessed by image. Has it made you more image-conscious?
I have never been someone who is excessively worried about how I look. I’m just a normal girl who thinks it is a pain when I can’t fit into my favourite pair of jeans – but it never bothers me enough to do anything about it. Saying that, we all go through days when we are paranoid about our bodies – it would be ridiculous to say I didn’t.
Who is your fashion icon?
I would have to say, primarily, Audrey Hepburn. Especially in My Fair Lady. I was dumbstruck by the crown of diamonds. I love that film. She is amazing. I also admire Charlotte Gainsbourg and Julie Christie in their old films.
How would you describe your personal style?
It’s about expressing yourself: who you are and how you feel. Your clothes reflect who you are and what you are feeling inside. I use fashion as a way of thinking about who I am. I hold something up against my body and ask myself, ‘Can I wear this?’ If it doesn’t feel like ‘me’, then I suppose I ask myself why.
Jake Gyllenhaal is your younger brother – do you have any sibling rivalry with him?
I’m so bored with that question. I don’t feel competitive with him any more.
You and Jake did Donnie Darko together. Would you like to work together again?
We’re not planning to do it right now, but maybe at some point in the future. It was a lot of fun before. cns