Rosamund Pike, Star of ‘A Private War,’ Will do Q&A in Malibu

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Director Matthew Heineman (left) and actress Rosamund Pike shooting a scene for “A Private War,” about real-life war correspondent Marie Colvin.

Critics are saying Rosamund Pike gave the performance of a lifetime in her latest film, “A Private War.”

The story follows the career and personal demons of award-winning war correspondent Marie Colvin, an American journalist who worked for Britain-based publication The Sunday Times from 1985 until she was killed in Syria in 2012 by an explosive device.

Pike, an Oscar-nominated Brit, will appear in Malibu this week at an early screening of the film followed by an audience Q&A. The film opens in theaters Nov. 16.

Pike earned her first claim to fame after playing a “Bond irl” in the James Bond film “Die Another Day” (2002), and then went on to make another dozen films over the next decade. In 2014, she landed the lead role in “Gone Girl” opposite Ben Affleck, which became a critical and box office hit, and earned her an Academy Award nomination for best actress.

The challenge of playing a complex character like Colvin—who wore an eye patch over an eye injured in a grenade attack while covering the Sri Lankan civil war, and also ventured into armed conflicts in places like Chechnya and East Timor—was one for which Oscar-nominated actor Rosamund Pike said she lobbied hard.

On Thursday, Nov. 8, the Malibu Film Society will screen the new film “A Private War” at 7:30 p.m. followed by an audience Q&A with Pike and director Matthew Heineman.

The Malibu Times corresponded with Pike via email to get her take on this role and her career.

“I’m drawn to playing women who provoke a conversation,” Pike wrote. “Marie Colvin was an icon: a glamorous, confounding, courageous woman who resonated deeply with me. [I liked her] in part for her deep empathy for people from other cultures struggling with the trauma of war, and in part for the dark places in her soul from witnessing so many horrors over the decades. She was feminine, outspoken and fun with a huge commitment to the truth. She drank too much, but not in the field. She was a huge romantic, but wore two wedding rings to remind her never to get married again.”

Pike spent months researching the role.

“I watched footage of Marie on a film loop for three months,” she wrote. “Her Long Island accent was conditioned by years living in London, but the main thing I wanted to capture was the whisky tone and beautiful muscularity and energy of her speech. It was exciting work.”

Pike’s research, as she described, went beyond footage.

“I went on trips that would put me in touch with my own fears,” Pike continued. “I had an expert on Middle Eastern politics tutor me at home. I also interviewed many of Colvin’s friends and colleagues, which was a delicate and rewarding process of gaining trust, and taught me about the task of the journalist.”

“She’s someone I ache to have met,” Pike went on, adding that Colvin’s work also brought to life conflicts that felt distant.

“War zones often feel very far away, but Marie brought them close,” Pike wrote. “She responded to the crises in East Timor, Iraq or Syria as if it were her hometown under attack. She made these places relatable and got people to care—she saw in women and children her own family and her friends’ families. She was motivated by a deep-rooted empathy.”

The time Colvin spent when not on assignment was different.

“Oftentimes, at home, life seemed more nebulous for her,” Pike said. “It was harder to define, and home is where the true cost of what you have seen sinks in. Marie suffered from nightmares and PTSD. She was a journalist whose commitment to the truth was always given higher priority over her own health, mental stability and comfort.”

Heineman, the director of “A Private War,” is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who made “Cartel Land” (2015) about Mexico and “City of Ghosts” (2017) about Syrian rebels.

Aresh Amel wrote the screenplay based on the 2012 article “Marie Colvin’s Private War,” which ran in Vanity Fair magazine and was written by Marie Brenner.

For tickets and/or reservations, go to the Malibu Film Society website.