Emma is based on the novel by Jane Austen, and was adapted and directed by Doug McGrath, who I went on to work with again in Company Man. We shot it on locations in Dorset and Devon, England.
I play the Reverend Elton, who we discover is in love with Emma (Gwyneth Paltrow), even though she is trying to match him with Harriet (Toni Colette). The film also starred Jeremy Northam, Ewan McGregor, Polly Walker, Greta Scaachi and Juliet Stevenson.
Sometimes a film is memorable to me for the friends I made on it, and that is certainly true of this one. Doug is one of the nicest people in the whole world, and I can't wait to work with him again. The worst thing about this film was my hair. Every time I start a new film and I sit down in the chair to talk with the makeup and hair people about how I am going to look, I always joke about and say stuff like I think I should go blonde and permed. Well this time when I said it they didn't laugh, as they had already discussed lightening my hair and curling it! It looked okay for the character, but when I wasn't working it was a nightmare because the curls went really tight when I had a shower and I had to walk around looking like my granny for three months. I couldn't wait to get it buzzed off.
Gwyneth and I laughed so much during the scene in the carriage when I whisper in her ear. Doug said there was only one take that was completely giggle free. It was just so surreal, having grown men standing outside throwing handfuls of fake snow and bumping the carriage up and down, and her not knowing how near I was because her head was turned away from me and getting a fright each time she felt my breath on her neck. It was also nearly the last day of the shoot and we were all a bit tired and hysterical.