Naomi Watts' acting career was going nowhere. "Tank Girl" bombed, and a series of Australian movies failed to lift her profile. Then her fearless turn in David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" opened the floodgates, and box office success followed with "The Ring". Before her Oscar-tipped turn in the forthcoming "21 Grams" comes something lighter - Merchant Ivory's contemporary romance, "Le Divorce".
How did your parents' divorce affect your life?
My parents got divorced when I was four. I don't really remember it. But I know it was incredibly painful for my mum, and that must have been hard for me to watch. My mum got married again when I was ten; then got divorced again. It was very difficult for her, and it's not a good thing to go through. Unless the two people have evolved enough to feel they've reached the end of the road, and with the friendship still there - maybe in honour of the children growing up in the best possible way - it's best to separate.
What's your attitude to marriage?
I'm very interested in the commitment aspect of marriage and that is a very romantic thing. Some girls grow up with that burning desire just to have that day. I don't know if I'm one of those girls, or if I've been affected by my parents' failed marriage.
You and Kate Hudson's sisterhood is an important part of the movie. Had you met before?
Briefly, like five minutes before. We connected from the outset. Joining Kate on the set we just clicked, and knew what the story needed, and what we needed from the experience. A big part of the movie is the relationship of the sisters, and to work with Kate was a reason for doing it.
"Mulholland Drive" dramatically changed things for you. How do you look back on it now?
It was way beyond anything that I dreamed of. David Lynch took a chance on me and, career wise, I was very much at a low point and had resigned myself to thinking I'd just be a working actor - and if I worked once a year that would be great. I could probably survive on $40-50,000 dollars a year. I was quite reconciled with that.
Is the responsibility of success a burden now?
What I say is, with every problem solved, a new one opens up. The pressure of making the right decisions for myself has got bigger, and I'm just trying to trust my instinct. Certainly, the phone rings more now, and I get to read much better scripts. So there's a lot more choice involved. But with that comes a lot of pressure.