Gone Girl: Rosamund Pike as Missing Wife in Oscar Nominated Role

Rosamund Pike as Missing Wife in Oscar Nominated Role

Amy Dunne is gone. But at the same time that she disappears into thin air, she becomes an omnipresent media sensation, the paragon of all the beautiful, fragile things that are too easily lost in the world.  That is how she is now known throughout America. Yet that is not her only identity.

Indeed, Amy never developed a single persona. She grew up in the long shadow of her psychologist parents’ popular children’s books about her alter-ego: the impossibly perfect “Amazing Amy.” Later, she morphed into the woman she believed her Nick most desired: the perfect “cool girl,” as sexed-up and playfully easy-going as she is on top of things. Then, after moving to Nick’s recession-ravaged hometown in Missouri, leveraging her trust fund in the process, Amy took on new facets.

So just who is Amy Dunne? That is the bottomless abyss into which actress Rosamund Pike descended. A London native, Pike came to the fore as a Bond Girl in Die Another Day, and went on to roles in Pride and Prejudice, An Education, Jack Reacher and World’s End. But Amy would take Pike into fresh challenges as a character with unending layers that peel away to leave no solid center.

Pike recalls being drawn instantly towards the book’s inky, x-ray view of the underside of marital bliss. “I was quite intrigued by this idea of marriage as con game – the idea that we’re all selling a version of ourselves,” she muses. “And Amy is such a remarkable creation. It fascinated me that she is always performing, perhaps in part because it points back to the life of an actor. The challenge of being Amy is that nothing that happens with her is quite what it seems on the surface.”

That was both the challenge and the allure. She continues: “In playing Amy, I get to explore so many different aspects of the feminine brain. There are scenes where Amy is playing two different things to two different people in the same room – and the audience has to see both.”

Pike notes that Amy’s contradictions leapt were electrifying to explore. “She can be easy-going, sexy and relaxed but then there are all these other currents running underneath. It’s all very true to our lives right now, isn’t it? We all are editing a version of ourselves it often seems. Amy is the kind of girl who is not just Nick’s ‘dream girl.’ She would attempt to be the ‘dream girl’ for any man she was with – she will get in their head and be that girl, play that role for all it’s worth.”

In the beginning, Pike believes Amy hoped to construct the perfect relationship. “Those early glory days were really fun for her,” says the actress, “but they weren’t sustainable. “When things started to go wrong – when Nick’s mother got cancer, when Amy’s parents started having financial troubles – the marriage changed. I think Amy felt she showed her real self and Nick didn’t like it.”

Playing Amy took Pike through physical and emotional extremes. “The challenge was peeling back one layer after another of the onion that is this marriage,” she comments. But she says along with the challenges came rich rewards, especially working with Fincher. “David is so detailed in the most psychologically observant ways . . . and because he wants to explore everything, he leaves you feeling that no stone was left unturned,” she says.

Fincher has reciprocal respect for Pike. “Amy is a very, very tricky part,” he says. “The audience should have no idea what she’s going to do next. I’d seen Rosamund’s work and I was struck by the fact that I couldn’t get a read on her. There was something about the way she catches the light in a different way… you don’t really have a grasp of who she is. The most important aspect of Amy for me was that I needed the feeling of an only child. I needed an orchid. I needed a hothouse flower. Rosamund had that thing and she’s also impeccably craft oriented, luminously beautiful and incredibly watchable. I know there were people saying, this is a risk. But when I sat with her I saw that this was somebody who was going to give you everything.”