I was lucky enough to get a little extra time with Bill Nighy at the press day for Emma, but eight minutes with this prolific legend who also happens to be an absolute delight to talk to is not nearly enough. Nighy has one fantastic title after the next on his resume and the latest he’s adding to the list is a new adaptation of the Jane Austen novel Emma directed by Autumn de Wilde. In it he plays Mr. Woodhouse, the father of the title heroine Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy). At the start of the film, Emma takes great pride in being a winning matchmaker for others but soon discovers her involvement in their relationships might not be for the better despite her good intentions.
Emma is already playing in theaters in the UK but with the film set for a US theatrical debut on February 21st, Nighy took the time to chat about his experience making the film and to go into detail on his collaboration with directors in general. Check out the full conversation in the video at the top of this article to hear more about what Nighy saw in first time feature director Autumn de Wilde, what he does when working with a director whose methods don’t match his own, why he finds experience in acting overrated, and so much more. And if you’re looking for even more coverage of Emma, click here to watch my chat with Anya Taylor-Joy and her co-star Johnny Flynn.
- 00:06 – What was it about the project that made Nighy think it was worth another big screen adaptation of the source material?
- 01:05 – What’s the first thing Nighy looks for in a first time feature director he might work with?
- 01:47 – What does Nighy do when he’s working with a director and their style doesn’t gel with the way he likes to work?
- 02:58 – Why experience is overrated for Nighy and how he builds self-confidence.
- 04:28 – How does Nighy bring spontaneity to a project with such a specific tone, style and pace like Emma?
- 05:44 – Would Nighy rather play a character doing a lengthy monologue in a scene or a silent scene with tons of reaction shots?
- 06:44 – Would Nighy rather have to fake sneeze or fake vomit in a scene?