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That made a tremendous difference because I never saw it as unattainable.
While I’m with her, she enthusiastically describes Craig Ferguson, the Scottish-born American television host, as her favourite ever interviewer, so later I look up a couple of interviews she has done with him, thinking maybe she actually revealed something to him. ’ he asks during one show – and is met with a stony stare. 'I kind of don’t talk about them in public,’ she says eventually. Even the way people lean up against the seat in the intermission and scoop up the ice cream with those spatulas – their body language is just beautiful.’ On the bedside table alongside her canopied four-poster bed is a weathered copy of a book about the outlaws Bonnie and Clyde – she has been cast in a television mini-series of the story, playing Bonnie’s mother, Emma Parker. 'I feel that is what is sacred about storytellers and storytelling – it’s the catharsis of a community.'I’m forever grateful’ – though 'forever’ turned out to be inapt, because the couple divorced in 2001. The reason why there’s all these different things about me is that I never talk about my personal life.’ What is known is that they have twin boys, whom she had when she was 47. I get the same reaction when I ask if she is often recognised. Most of the time I live a fully anonymous life, which is the way I like it.’ She adds, sighing, 'Although everybody is so easy to find now. I love to go out to the theatre.’ The theatre, she feels, is most alive in Britain.Since then she has been with the actor Gordon Mac Donald, who has been described in some reports as British. 'I know,’ she says, laughing: 'There’s been a rumour for years that the guy I’m with is British and I always allow that to…’ She leaves the sentence hanging. Their names are Claude and Press (apparently) but I have no way of verifying this. 'Let’s not even talk about that,’ she says, then relents. I would say it’s pretty damn easy to find pretty much anything that you want to know about anybody…’ Although she describes herself as 'very much an urban person’, she adds that she does occasionally crave the countryside. 'When I was last in London there were three productions of Macbeth going on almost simultaneously – that’s an incredible appetite.She explains why she refuses to divulge any details about herself. Hunter chuckles and shakes her head, acknowledging that this was a stretch for her. Not that she’s inhuman but she is slightly emotionally unrecognisable.’ Did she hesitate? What sold the role to her was that Jane Campion was the director. So I approached the character investigating what it means to have that kind of stillness, that lack of kinetic energy.'There are millions of people out there saying, “Follow me [on Twitter]. It is the first time the women have worked together since The Piano, though they’ve stayed in touch through the years. I wanted the character to be very real, so I wanted her to be doing totally fundamental, elemental things like eating, drinking, smoking.’ Hunter speaks in a pronounced Southern drawl, unsoftened by all her years away from Georgia, where she grew up on a cattle and hay farm. 'It’s also a place I had to get away from.’ The youngest of seven children, she jokes today that her parents were exhausted by parenting by the time she came along. ”’ So she was more or less brought up by her only sister, nine years her senior. We were very, very tight and still are.’ Acting never even occurred to her until she went to high school. There was a drama club in our high school and I just did plays.In case I have not got the message, she tells me that she is just a vehicle. I want to protect that thing: the suspension of disbelief.
The rest of it is just distraction.’ 'Top of the Lake' is on BBC Two at 9.10pm on Saturday, July 13 Follow @Telegraph_TV The Big Short, the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' book of the same name about the causes of the financial crisis, opens in UK cinemas this weekend.
Top of the Lake is a gritty crime drama about a pregnant 12-year-old girl who goes missing.
We meet in her hotel room in Los Angeles, where she is staying while she promotes a new television mini-series, written by Jane Campion, the writer and director of The Piano.
Welcoming me warmly, she urges me to select something from her minibar. In Broadcast News (1987) – which earned her an Oscar nomination – she played the driven television producer Jane; in Raising Arizona (also 1987) she played the baby-snatching cop Ed – a comic role written specially for her by the Coen brothers.
'Minibars are very appealing,’ she jokes, 'especially when someone else is paying.’ In the end we both choose water, albeit expensive sparkling water. And in the television series Saving Grace, which ran from 2007 to 2010, she played a dedicated detective whose life is shaped by hard drinking and promiscuity.
Let me tell you about the nuts and bolts of my life,” and I’m just not one of them… 'We’ve maintained this great connection with each other that’s remained really current. I was in the chorus in ninth grade [aged 14], but when I hit tenth I started playing leads.