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Rosamund Pike gets into mind of terrorist for 7 Days In Entebbe

Rosamund Pike plays a terrorist in 7 Days In Entebbe

Best known for her Oscar-nominated performance in Gone Girl (2014), English actress Rosamund Pike, 39, delves into the mind of a terrorist for her latest role.

Opening here tomorrow, Brazilian director Jose Padilha's 7 Days In Entebbe is based on the true story of the terrorist hijacking of an Air France jet en route from Tel Aviv to Paris in 1976. They divert the plane, which eventually ends up in Entebbe, Uganda.

The lives of 200 passengers hang in the balance.

The action switches between Jerusalem and Entebbe airport, where the four terrorists - two Germans Brigitte Kuhlmann (Pike) and Wilfried Bose (Daniel Bruhl), and two Palestinians - become increasingly edgy and threaten to kill Jewish passengers two at a time if their demands are not met.

What was it about 7 Days In Entebbe that enticed you?

I knew Jose would have a provocative take. I think it is a balanced look at a complicated story, which I was not familiar with growing up.

I think in this climate in which we are all living in fear of terrorism, it is quite a daring thing to do a film about this and look at what made terrorists in the 1970s.

Gregory Burke's script was interesting because it lets doubt in on both sides - there is doubt in moments of crisis, which keeps tension boiling, and there is doubt in the terrorists, which we never get to see normally.

There is also doubt in the corridors of power in Israel; and in doubt, interesting drama lies.

Did your research about Brigitte Kuhlmann help you prepare for the role?

There is remarkably little about (Brigitte and Wilfried) on the Internet or anywhere.

You don't really see pictures of her or any accounts of what she was like.

There are a few details about how she worked with disabled children and had a pedagogy degree - which we would call child psychology now.

So I thought: "OK, maybe this woman takes over a plane rather like she is marshalling children in a kindergarten."

And at least that was a way in for me. I thought that was quite a curious way into a character even if it is not accurate because there is so little known about her.

So you have to take clues and run with them.

How did you get in character?

These people were young. They were not experienced.

It was a huge thing they were undertaking - not that we have sympathy for it, but you can imagine that it was a stressful situation.

Just because you are on the evil side does not mean you are not under considerable stress.

So I think it allows us to look at that.

I believe that we are not wrong in saying that there are some cracks in their veneer.

The hostages are pretty unified in saying Kuhlmann was violent, unpleasant, rude, hostile, and a few of them say Bose was more up for a discussion.

I think Kuhlmann was stronger, certainly in the way our script depicts it, and it is interesting.

Bose is anxious about being understood while she is a realist - she says to Bose, "You cannot do an act like this and expect to be understood. We are the bad guys - so play the bad guys", which is kind of honest I think.

What was it like on set?

Well, the first day being on set in Malta and shooting the scene where the hostages are all disembarking the plane, I thought to myself: "OK, I have to keep my veneer up here. There is no room for me to let my guard down and befriend any of these extras playing the hostages. I have got to be a mysterious figure for them and I can't really let them know who I really am."

I had to be menacing because they were a huge part of the production, and I couldn't let them get to know me at all.

Jose is very much a renegade film-maker, and he is quite unexpected.

You might come in with a plan for the day, but that won't be how the day goes and that is not how it ends up.

There is a scene where I have to shut everyone up by firing the gun, which was not in the script.

He whispered to me: "While they are all arguing, grab the gun and fire it...':

So they had no idea, and he didn't know exactly what I was going to do either.

He said: "Go and tell them to shut up. Get the gun..."

So I did the rest (laughs). And it is in the film. He is there to push people sometimes.

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