Meg Ryan

In The Cut

Interviewed by Stephen Applebaum

“I do think that the character is extremely brave. We often talked about her as a warrior ”

The last time Meg Ryan orgasmed on film, she was faking it for Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally. In The Cut is a whole different ball game, thrusting the Queen of Romantic Comedy into the fevered heart of an erotic thriller. She pulls off the transformation magnificently, and might even be on course for an Oscar nomination. Who'd have thought it?

Jane Campion says you have "the courage to go to the edge and beyond". Was that how making this film felt to you?

I felt I was in such sure hands with Jane, I didn't really feel it required an extreme amount of bravery on my part. I do think that the character is extremely brave, though. We often talked about her as a warrior, because she's a very unlikely person to risk her heart for a guy.

We've never seen you in anything like this before. Is that because you don't normally get sent scripts like this one?

Well it wasn't at all like anything I usually receive. I've never done a thriller. This kind of character is a really interior person and I know that Jane's interested in expressing interior life on screen, and has always found different visual languages to do that in. So, yeah, it was a cool opportunity to do something new. I also always liked movies from the 70s where there is an anti-hero, and I felt Jane really hooked into that sort of type.

Having been the poster girl for romantic comedies, were you apprehensive about the sex scenes?

Um, well, it's not the day you look forward to. You see it coming up on the schedule and it's like, "Uuuurgh." They were done on the last couple of days, in a really protected environment. They were very choreographed, we knew every shot and every angle, and Jane was incredibly collaborative about it.

Your hair in the movie really changes your appearance. Whose idea was that?

It was so organic. I went walking round New York with Jane, and we saw this little nihilistic cartoon character, Emily the Strange, on a t-shirt. So that's where the idea for the hair came from. I also got to dye it brown, which was kind of cool, because I was able to walk around New York and nobody said anything. That hadn't happened in quite a while and it was really liberating. I liked it.

In The Cut is released in UK cinemas on Friday 31st October 2003.