It was a mixture of being desperate to meet him and being obviously terrified. I could only meet him five days before we started working, because of the technicality of the performance. So I was just worried that meeting so close to filming would make me realize I got it completely wrong. But other than suffering from verbal diarrhea and embarrassing myself for the first half-hour, he just emanated this humor and warmth. Even though he can only move a few muscles in his face, it’s one of the most expressive faces. That for me, and finding the optimism, is what I took away.
"Would you say this is the most rewarding role of your career?"
I definitely think it’s the most challenging role. I think in life, whatever you do, you only get better at what you do by raising the stakes. I’m grateful James trusted me with it, but I definitely didn’t trust myself. I tried to persuade him it was worth casting me, but I didn’t know that. His faith, and producer Eric Fellner’s faith, was wonderful. Normally I’m quite good at jumping out of things and going straight into the next thing, but I haven’t been able to work since. It has taken me a while.