Sienna Miller: 'The patriarchy is weakening'
Sienna Miller says changes to how women working in film are treated are having a real impact.
The actress, who has the lead role in new film American Woman, told Sky News that as well as the evolving attitudes in the industry, she feels she herself has changed.
“I think that as women we’re kind of galvanised by this movement, I feel like there’s a solidarity between women that wasn’t there before,” Miller said.
“And I think I just have a deeper sense of self – being 37 years old I just know what is worth my capitulation and what isn’t.”
“I love my job and I love going to work, I’m good at it, I would like to be treated respectfully as I have seen men treated the entire time.”
Miller said she wouldn’t put up with some things that she was subjected to earlier in her career.
“I don’t mind walking away from something and then telling absolutely everybody about that experience if it were to happen and I think people are being very careful now and valuing women in the way that they deserve to be valued.
“The patriarchy is weakening and we’re all human beings and we all deserve to be treated and valued as that.”
In the film Miller plays Deb, a woman who finds herself raising her infant grandson after her daughter goes missing.
The story takes places over eleven years and we see how Deb changes following the disappearance, and the impact it has on her whole family.
At one point she explains to her grandson that she’s putting up with a bad relationship so that her bills are paid while she goes to college to better herself.
I ask Miller if there’s anything she put up with earlier in her career that she wishes she hadn’t.
“I think I probably tolerated being very underpaid and things that I should have been valued more in,” she said.
“And I think that was just Hollywood at that time, I do think that’s changing.”
Miller added that it wasn’t just financially that she was mistreated – but that she didn’t have the terrible experiences that some other actresses have.
“I suppose I did probably allow people to be disrespectful and that felt very gendered but I was so happy to be there,” she explained.
“I think that’s just intrinsic to our experience as women growing up in the world, and I think that what is taking place in Hollywood is a very essential important thing, and it feels like it’s happening all over the world.
“But I didn’t have to tolerate sexual abuse on set, thankfully.”
Deb is a very strong woman, and Miller says that’s something she could relate to.
“She’s pretty unafraid of judgement, and I love that in people.
“I think I probably have as steely a core [but] I don’t think I’m as careless in ways that I love about her – I’m more English.”
Miller admitted it was tough inhibiting a character who goes through a parent’s worst nightmare.
“The whole experience was gruelling because however far away she becomes from that moment [of her daughter’s disappearance] it can never be too far beneath the surface, I think that not knowing is always with her.
“Obviously I felt incredibly relieved to go home to my daughter every night and it’s something as a parent that you just consider, I think you have a child and you imagine the worst thing in moments and read stories and imagine the worst thing.”
The actress said she spoke to parents who had been through what her character faced in order to help with the performance.
“I had people who had lost children that I would call who were very understanding and very helpful as touchstones to get the tone right,” she said.
“Just to sit in that space of what is just real empathy for that experience and also to celebrate the resilience of humans – that the unthinkable happens and people somehow put their lives back together without ever letting go of that experience.”
“I love that bravery, that courage.”
American Woman is out in cinemas now.