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The cliché about Rosamund Pike characters is that she’s often cast in roles that are kind of “glacial,” and, well, that’s just unfair. In her breakthrough movie, 2002 Bond adventure Die Another Day, she even played an undercover agent named Miranda Frost! But over the years, the British actress has actually demonstrated plenty of range, and in SundanceTV’s new series State of the Union, she even gets to flex her comedic muscles.

Official State of the Union Trailer

Written by Nick Hornby and starring Rosamund Pike and Chris O’Dowd, #SOTUSundance is 10 minutes, 10 episodes, and no commitment. Premiering this spring on #SundanceTV.

Posted by SundanceTV on Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen) and written by Nick Horby (About a Boy), State of the Union follows an estranged couple (Pike and Chris O’Dowd) as they meet in the pub before their weekly martial therapy sessions. With 10 episodes of 10 minutes apiece, it’s an innovative new “short-form premium series” that’s perfect if you’re pushed for time. the Ahead of its premiere on Monday (May 6), here’s a reminder of some of Pike’s most memorable and surprising roles.

The Libertine

Two years after Die Another Day, Pike held her own opposite Johnny Depp and Samantha Morton in this somewhat underrated period romp. Depp’s performance as hedonistic 18th century poet the Earl of Rochester takes center-stage, but Pike adds emotional heft as his increasingly exasperated wife, the Countess of Rochester.  She even won a British Independent Film Award for her performance.

An Education

This Oscar-nominated British coming-of-age drama is best known for its breakout turn from Carey Mulligan, who beautifully plays a 16-year-old schoolgirl seduced by an older man. But Pike also shines in a key supporting role as Helen, a glamorous older friend who initially seems vacuous, but ultimately becomes her confidante. It’s a warm and twinkly performance which feels like a counter to Pike’s “glacial” reputation.

Made in Dagenham

The super-likeable British film tells the story of the 1968 Ford sewing machinists’ strike, in which a group of female factory workers living in London’s East End campaigned so successfully for equal pay that they triggered an Act of Parliament making it illegal to pay men more for the same job. Made in Dagenham‘s cast is stacked with classy British actors including Miranda Richardson, Sally Hawkins, Geraldine James, Andrea Riseborough, and Andrew Lincoln. But Pike is definitely a standout as a privileged executive’s wife who supports the working women’s plight.

Barney’s Version

This Canadian comedy-drama based on Mordecai Richler‘s bestselling novel features a tenacious turn from Paul Giamatti as the hard-living and often politically incorrect title character, and a supporting cast that includes Minnie Driver and Dustin Hoffman. But even so, Pike’s poised performance turn as Barney’s elegant third wife is a key part of its charm. Her quiet charisma helps to anchor a movie that could otherwise have veered toward manic.

The World’s End

Pike shows off her comedy chops in this amusing sci-fi flick from 2013, the third instalment in Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright‘s Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. It’s a relatively small role, but Pike makes a big impression as Sam, a childhood friend of Pegg’s character who rebuffs his romantic advances and bats back the laddish banter on an otherwise all-guys crawl. It’s a welcome chance to see Pike’s lighter side.

Gone Girl

It’s hard to deny that Gillian Flynn‘s anti-heroine Amy Elliott Dunne feels like Pike’s signature role, at least of her career so far. She brilliantly brings layers of nuance of intrigue to a character who initially seems serene and self-contained, but actually turns out to have some pretty dark thoughts flickering just beneath the surface. Her reward was a clean sweep of major movie award nominations in 2014: Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG, and Critics’ Choice.

A Private War

Pike’s full throttle performance as late Sunday Times war reporter Marie Colvin deservedly earned her a second Golden Globe nomination in 2018. She captures Colvin’s bravery and steely sense of morality perfectly, helping to keep A Private War compelling even when the script provides a slightly two-dimensional account of the reporter’s personal life.

Which is your favourite ever Rosamund Pike performance?

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Filed Under: Rosamund Pike
By Nick Levine