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In the movie, the hop to Paris the trip of Jenny's lifetime was the last part that was shot. You clearly ended shooting on a high note.
It was so much fun. We'd shoot something and then have a glass of wine. The weather was beautiful and we ended up at that restaurant on a Saturday night, and the whole crew sat around the table and we made little speeches. I was a little drunk and did the whole thing, saying "I love you guys." And then the next day I got on a plane and went to Chicago and was on the set of Public Enemies and dyed my hair white for the job.
That sounds like a surreal shifting of the gears. When did you see the final cut of An Education?
The first time I watched it was three days before Sundance, actually. And I thought I was completely awful. I took my friend Zoe Kazan and her mom, and I was like, "Oh my God, I'm so boring! I don't do anything with my face!" I had never really watched myself before as the star of a film. I had been in supporting roles all the time, and [with those] you can come in and then disappear. But in An Education I'm there all the time, and of course you're so self-involved that it's all you can do the first time you watch it, is to focus on yourself and become convinced that you're the most boring person in the universe.
Do you like the film now? I mean, there's a lot of praise of the movie and of your performance. Do you believe what people are saying?
I love the film. You're always critical of your own work, and the more time that goes by from when you did it, you start saying, "Well, now, I'd do this differently or that differently." But it all works very well together and you can't think you'd go back to change something because you're not the same person anymore and the same stuff that I see in it that drives me crazy is what others think made the character real. That's who I was at that moment in time. So I'm happy with it.