‘A Private War’s Rosamund Pike on the Emotional Impact of Working with Real Syrian Refugees

     November 8, 2018


Now playing in limited release and expanding into more cities this weekend is the fantastic true-story drama A Private War. Based on the life of celebrated war correspondent Marie Colvin, the film stars Rosamund Pike as the real-life hero and chronicles the physical and psychological effects of covering war up close. The film does an incredible job of showing her career from a life-changing moment in the jungles of Sri Lanka through the war in Iraq and the Arab Spring in Libya to being under siege in Homs.

Helmed by Matthew Heineman, making his narrative debut after directing the tremendous documentaries Cartel Land and City of Ghosts, the gifted filmmaker brings the same intimate realism and unflinching depictions of life in the heart of conflict to his narrative debut.

a-private-war-posterWith journalism under fire around the world, A Private War is a powerful reminder of what some brave individuals are willing to do to ensure that important stories get told. If it’s playing near you, I strongly suggest buying a ticket. Scripted by Arash Amel, the film also stars Jamie Dornan,Stanley Tucci, and Tom Hollander. You can watch the trailer here.

When I sat down with Rosamund Pike (who delivers an Oscar-level performance in the role) to talk about the film, she shared what it was like working with nonprofessional actors and real Syrian refugees on set, how many people don’t appreciate the physical and mental costs of reporting in war zones, how she tried not to think about the movie as a great role for an actor or she’d mess it up, and more.

Check out what she had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis.

Rosamund Pike:

  • Will she only play characters named Marie in the future?
  • How it’s not only an important story but it’s also a meaty role for an actor.
  • How they cast nonprofessional actors and real Syrian refugees.
  • How the Iraqi women on set went into a prayer for the dead on set when filming a scene involving digging up remains.
  • How the film is coming out at a moment in time when journalists are under fire around the world.
  • a-private-war-rosamund-pike

    Image via Aviron Pictures

    How people don’t appreciate the physical and mental costs of reporting in war zones.

Here’s the official synopsis for A Private War:

In a world where journalism is under attack, Marie Colvin (Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike) is one of the most celebrated war correspondents of our time. Colvin is an utterly fearless and rebellious spirit, driven to the frontlines of conflicts across the globe to give voice to the voiceless, while constantly testing the limits between bravery and bravado. After being hit by a grenade in Sri Lanka, she wears a distinctive eye patch and is still as comfortable sipping martinis with London’s elite as she is confronting dictators. Colvin sacrifices loving relationships, and over time, her personal life starts to unravel as the trauma she’s witnessed takes its toll. Yet, her mission to show the true cost of war leads her — along with renowned war photographer Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan) — to embark on the most dangerous assignment of their lives in the besieged Syrian city of Homs. Based on the extraordinary life of Marie Colvin, A PRIVATE WAR is brought to the screen by Academy Award nominee and critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman in his pulse-pounding narrative feature debut.


Image via Aviron

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