The first time I meet Reese is during a break from filming on the set in Los Angeles, where they’re shooting a circus parade at 20th Century Fox studios. Her costume of pink sequins, feathers and halo of platinum blonde ringlets conjures up the allure of old-school Hollywood as she rides Rosie the elephant through town, waving to the delighted crowds of extras who line the pavements. Marlena’s look was inspired by 30s screen siren Jean Harlow.
‘The glamour is amazing,’ says Reese, whose fabulous costumes in the film range from slinky, halterneck evening gowns to today’s spangled leotard. ‘They just don’t make movies like this any more!’
Robert Pattinson, 25 this week, plays Jacob, who is studying to be a vet, but has to drop out of university when his parents die, and joins the circus instead. There is an instant chemistry between Marlena and Jacob as they bond over their love for the elephant. But the relationship seems doomed, because Marlena is trapped in an abusive marriage to the volatile ringmaster (played superbly by Christoph Waltz, who won an Oscar last year for Inglourious Basterds).
Their romance develops against the odds – ‘Jacob kind of melts her heart,’ says Reese – and Marlena inevitably ends up in bed with him. ‘I’ve got to say it was a little disappointing,’ she laughs.
‘Rob had quite possibly the most hideous cold of any co-star I’ve ever had to do a love scene with. I was spraying the sanitiser trying not to get sick myself! We had a brother/sister kind of relationship,’ she adds.
‘I know his girlfriend (Twilight’s Kristen Stewart) really well, and he’s met my husband.’ (Reese married Hollywood agent Jim Toth in March.) It wasn’t the first time the pair had worked together, if you count Robert’s fleeting turn as Reese’s son in Vanity Fair. ‘I was 27 and he was 17,’ she smiles.
‘We didn’t really know each other very well.’ And the scene ended up on the cutting-room floor.
Read more of her interview here.. She talks about her life and more.