Believe it or not, it was also directed by a man. I was looking for a story to tell and also act in. I was looking for a story where I could find another role for a woman. He was the first director who read it and he said immediately that he wanted to do it. He adapted it and then we brought in another writer, Rebecca Lenkiewicz. I was involved in the whole two-year development process of the script, and then I just became an actress.
What was it about Ronit that you felt attached to? Had you ever considered playing Esti? So what about her? That appealed to me. You mention how both Ronit and Esti are like two halves of the same woman, which is so interesting. How did you and Rachel discuss your characters and their bond? We read through the script out loud once, a couple of scenes.
He is Esti, he is Ronit, he is Dovid, he is all of us. He sees from all our points of view. As he says, the antagonist is within. What was that like working with him for this sex scene? So he just has a male gaze that is subjectifying. He feels his characters from the inside. I think that speaks to why this movie is already so well known for its sex scene. About two weeks before we started to shoot it, he presented Rachel McAdams and myself with a storyboard, which had every gesture, like my face — everything that you see in the sex scene, it was storyboarded.
None of it was our idea, it was all his idea. But on the day, I guess we felt safe because we knew what was required of us.
We had to hit these points, and then we could abandon ourselves to doing our jobs, which was to feel. It was very vulnerable, very emotional. It was the culmination of many, many years of waiting. It was emotional, very emotional. How did that compare to your previous work with male directors for sex scenes? Was it any different? I think sometimes male directors get kind of embarrassed. It was very different in that he authored all of the gestures that are in the scene, so it was immensely specific everywhere in the film.
But he was specific everywhere in the film, in tiny gestures and moments. Sort of choreographed, but also very free.