PHOTOGRAPHY ALEKSANDAR TOMOVIC
“You [might] have her pegged for one thing [but] she’ll surprise you as she reveals more and more of herself over time.”
Miranda Otto is describing her latest role as a psychiatrist with a few unresolved issues opposite Greg Kinnear on Fox’s buzzy new legal drama, Rake, but equipped with the type of genre-busting resume most actors only dream of, she might as well be talking about herself. In fact, just this month alone, you’ll find the crimson-haired beauty pulling double duty: sparring weekly with the Academy Award nominee, whom she calls “extremely funny, and a complete gentleman,” on the set of their small screen dramedy, as well as heating up theaters alongside Aaron Eckhart in Stuart Beattie’s I, Frankenstein.
In the latter (which is based on a popular graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux) Otto is Leonore, a warrior of the first order, but one very different from a certain battle ready shield maiden who brought her international fame. “I don’t wield a sword in this one. I’m queen of the gargoyles and my position is like [that of] a general. I also have this spiritual aspect to [my character], but I don’t so much fight myself.”
This news might disappoint a few fanboys and girls out there who’ve idolized the talented chameleon since she first donned her armor as brave Éowyn in Peter Jackson’s unforgettable Lord Of The Rings trilogy (Ms. Otto appeared in the second and third films of the series), but like all great actresses, she’s not looking to repeat herself or to recapture a moment that, even at the time, felt like magic.
“I remember saying to people when I first got onto that set, “This is one of those movies that captures the fantasy of something so strongly [that] it’s going to go on forever, just like The Wizard of Oz!” You always hope to do something that will overrun time in some way, and I believe that those films have.”
She clearly knows the difference between the ephemeral and the concrete in this business, an awareness that she attributes to her parents (both are working actors; dad is Aussie stage and screen vet, Barry Otto), who never shielded their two daughters from its often harsh realities. “I didn’t really have stars in my eyes coming into [this industry]. I knew the things that turned me on about it, and I knew the things that would be tough about it, and I think in some ways you [have] that maturity when you grow up in this business.”
It’s a combination of wisdom and level-headedness that has guided her from small but acclaimed parts in Aussie film and TV as a teen to auteur-helmed prestige pics (The Thin Red Line) and big-budget Hollywood blockbusters (What Lies Beneath, War of the Worlds) with uncharacteristic ease. Of course, there’s also that undeniable talent, once again on display in Tommy Lee Jones’s upcoming film, The Homesman.
“It’s about [these] three women (played by Otto, Grace Gummer, and Sonja Richter) who are being transported across the plains from Nebraska to Iowa, and we’ve [each] lost our minds or lost [touch with] reality.”
Sounds fascinating…quite like the thought of being directed by the famously no-nonsense Oscar winner, a man for whom the actress has the utmost respect. “The great thing about Tommy is you know where you are with him; he will tell you if he likes something, he will tell you if he doesn’t. There’s such clarity and subtlety to what he does, and I was in constant awe [of him], really.”
She offers up some high praise, but once again, Ms. Otto might as well be describing herself.
PHOTOGRAPHY ALEKSANDAR TOMOVIC (WWW.ALEKANDSTEPH.COM)
STYLING WARREN ALFIE BAKER (WWW.WARRENALFIEBAKER.COM)
MAKEUP DESIRAE CHERMAN (WWW.DESIRAECHERMAN.COM)
HAIR CATHY HIGHLAND AT AIM ARTISTS
Production Bello media Group | Words by Brad Liberti