Rosamund Pike SA interview: Love is a powerful weapon

2016-12-07 07:01
Rosamund Pike

Cape Town – It was just another Friday at the office when I got the call, "I know its short notice, but would you be keen to interview Rosamund Pike later today?"

I jumped at the chance it’s not every day that you get to speak to an Oscar nominated actress on the telephone. 

Pike is perhaps best known for her role as Amy Dunne in the thriller Gone Girl.

In her latest movie she is far removed from the character who one could say put her on the map. 

Pike stars alongside David Oyelowo in the biographical drama A United Kingdom.

Based on the sweeping true love story of Seretse Khama (Oyelowo), the first president of Botswana and Ruth Williams (Pike) a a young clerk – their interracial relationship shook their families and the British and South African governments. 

A real life love story

Minutes before my call I was a bit nervous but that soon changed when I heard her warm tone on the other side of the line.

It was the love story that drew Pike to the project.

"I feel that people have an appetite for love stories, but nobody is making them. To love and be loved is one of the most fulfilling things in life. They withstood so much opposition because of their love," says Pike. 

Pike speaks about Ruth with so much admiration and reveals that it is Ruth's optimism that resonated with her. 

"She committed to this love whole heartedly. During the war she was an ambulance driver and saw pilots injured and killed. She had lived with life and death. So thereafter she lived life to the fullest. She had the certainty at all times that she wanted to be with Seretse."

Before signing on for the role Pike had known nothing about the Khama's story but once she learned about it she fell in love with them, just like everyone will after seeing the film. 

Filming in Botswana

The Khamas are by all accounts Botswana's national treasure and it was only fitting that the film was shot in the country. 

In fact before filming they had initially considered South Africa because it has better infrastructure but in the end Botswana won.

Shooting in the country was an amazing experience for Pike who loved the beautiful landscape. 

And during filming their son Ian Khama, the current president paid a visit to the set. 

"He saw me dressed like his mother and climbing out of the car she used to drive. David said he faltered a bit when he saw me in character and said that I reminded him of his mother, it was like she had come to life again. That was a tremendous compliment for me," says Pike. 

This is not the first time Pike has worked with Oyelowo. The pair previously starred in the action film Jack Reacher with Tom Cruise. 

What surprised her this time around was the chemistry they had.  

"It was so great working with him again. I didn't think that we would have that kind of chemistry – it surprised me. It was such a joy to rekindle the love story of these very loved characters."

During a time in our history where race relations have hit a tipping point we can learn a lot from the story of Seretse and Ruth. 

"The film allows people to look at things from a different perspective – to have compassion. Fear causes people to be hostile and then to react out of fear. Love is a powerful weapon, their only goal was to be together and in turn they changed the political landscape of an entire country," says Pike. 

See the trailer here:

A United Kingdom opens in cinemas on Friday, 9 December. 

(Photos: Getty Images/UPI Media)

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