Sienna Miller for “Casanova”

Sporting a short cropped blonde look for a new film role, 23-year old British actress and co-star of the period comedy Casanova, Sienna Miller, admits that this has been a tough year for her, implicitly referring to her much publicized break-up with Jude Law, but is trying to concentrate on her career, she says. “I’ve had a pretty rough year with press intrusion, especially in London where it’s pretty difficult to cope with the paparazzi,” the beautiful actress confesses.

“There have been times this year when I’ve asked myself if it worth it, but actually things seem to be dying down, which is really positive, and I’m so relieved to be able to come and talk about a film I’m proud of and not everything else,” says Miller, smilingly. “I love my job, am passionate about what I do, I love every aspect of it and I’m totally enthusiastic and excited about working with other people and learning and growing as an actress, but as for the exterior stuff that goes with it, I don’t think anyone could have predicted for themselves, or might happen that it could end this way.” Miller admits that she has done as much as she can to ensure that her professional life is not eclipsed by the personal. “I wish there was a formula or a structure. I mean moving out of London has crossed my mind, but it’s not like I court this. I don’t go to every celebrity party and very, very much lead a normal life. But for some reason if I walk my dogs then that’s in magazines.”

Miller, who recently made her stage debut in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, is attaining success as one of England’s rising stars, admitting that “I never did this to be a celebrity or to be famous. Now that may sound like something you’d have to say, but I genuinely mean it, which is why I did that play for five months. If I wanted to be some huge famous person I could go and do something else. I think certain British tabloids have been very supportive. That’s not to say that they don’t write something pretty much everyday but can be very supportive and others can be extremely slanderous. It’s more the paparazzi that fuel stuff and I think it’s the way that they go about it. I appreciate that to a certain degree if you’re in a high-profile relationship or you are an actress you can’t complain about it too much, and I don’t want to sound like I’m whinging because I have to accept this with grace and dignity as much as I can. But, they will provoke you or say things to try and upset you to try and get a photo of you crying.” Miller recalls being in “situations where I’m running down the street at midnight on my own with ten full-grown men chasing me in the dark, and if you take away the cameras what have you got? I’m a 23-year-old girl being chased by ten full-grown men, and that should not be allowed, so I feel very threatened by that.”

Yet Miller has lost none of her zeal to act, and relished the chance to co-star in the period comedy Casanova, starring Australia’s Heath Ledger, in which she co-stars as a serious intellectual who resists but then succumbs to the charms of Casanova. The actress says that the film came about for her “just as a result of an audition process. I read the script, was very, very keen on it, was looking for something that was a period piece at the time, and then I just realised, as a young actress, there are very few parts out there into which you can actually get your teeth. You’re either the girl or there to serve some romantic purpose in a male dominated piece, and here was this heroine who was a sword fighting, swashbuckling, cross-dressing intellectual feminist, and just a fantastic role.” Miller laughs when asked if she could identify with her. “I aspire to be more like her and I can certainly identify with her stubbornness, but I think, but I did a lot of begging and got the part.”

As to why she specifically saw herself in a period film, Miller says that “I was getting into a little bit of a niche where I was perceived as very modern, because I think I am quite modern, and I just wanted to be able to show that I could do something different where I wasn’t blonde and I kept my clothes on,” she says, laughingly. Miller says her character, the straight girl in this otherwise romantic farce, “is keen to find love but just not the type of love that’s on offer to her at the moment. I think she is a romantic, because she says at one point ‘give me a man who is man enough to give himself just to the woman who is with him’. So love and romance are obviously on her mind, but it’s just that she doesn’t think that she will find it within the society that she’s in. Therefore, when Casanova sacrifices himself for her, she falls for him.” As for her own sense of romanticism, Miller smilingly concedes “I am hopelessly romantic as a person, but then I’m a girl, so that me both a hopeless and hopeful romantic.”

Miller remains anxious to play formidable women, on stage and screen, admitting desires to play Shakespeare’s Portia and Henry VIII’s second, tragic wife, Anne Boleyn. An actress since she can remember, Miller doesn’t recall when the acting bug first bit, but “I just remember not really having a choice, as that it was always what I wanted or was going to do and I never allowed myself to really think about anything else. I think I was brought up in a very creative environment. My mother went into labour during the ballet and I was taken to the theatre, the ballet and the opera all the time so I was constantly surrounded by creative kinds of influences. I used to see these people dressing up and playing for a living and thought that looks like a pretty good job.”

But if the acting were to stop, she says, “I’d like to be an archaeologist or a chef.” But in the meantime, she’s searching for her dream role on stage or screen. “I kind of want to do everything apart from being just ‘the girl’ or ‘the love interest’, just meaty, intelligent, strong or illuminated women.”