58°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

‘Rogue One’ star Felicity Jones on her role as Ruth Bader Ginsburg

When Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s nephew, Daniel Stiepleman, came to her with a request to write a screenplay based on her life, she had only one response. “If that’s really how you want to spend your time,” she replied.

British actress Felicity Jones, 35, knew that playing the formidable justice was how she wanted to spend her time. “On the Basis of Sex” centers on Ginsburg’s pre-Supreme Court days, when she finished first in her class in law school but couldn’t get a job because firms didn’t want to hire a woman.

Jones, best known for her role in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Jane Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.”

Review-Journal: What is a perfect Sunday for you?

Felicity Jones: It’s definitely a day of destressing at home. I just need to sleep late and maybe I’ll cook my favorite breakfast — hard-boiled eggs with salt and pepper. I’ll cook something for dinner and then have friends over later. We talk, listen to music and maybe binge-watch a show, or I love putting on favorite films like “Annie Hall.” Diane Keaton has been such an inspiration for me.

What was it like meeting RBG for the first time?

That first day, I kept calling her Ruth by mistake when you’re (supposed to) call her the Justice! I remember we were all nervously waiting outside her private chambers at the Supreme Court. When we went in, she couldn’t take her eyes off Armie Hammer (who plays RBG’s husband, Martin). She was very welcoming and just made you feel comfortable. She allowed herself to become an open book. The best moment is when the Justice said, “I’ve seen your work, Felicity, and I know you can do it.” It gave me enormous confidence.

What surprised you the most about RBG?

She came from very modest circumstances and had to face trials and tribulations. The odds were always against her. She was such an outsider. The system wasn’t designed for her to be there, so she had to change the rules. I kept thinking of her in the vein of Rocky because she’s such a fighter. She gets knocked down but gets right back up again. That was my inspiration when I’d go to work. I’d think about all of those punches.

How did you feel when your name was thrown in the mix to play her?

I’ve always loved her and she has become this punk icon. But the key was really learning about her. Most of us have this wonderful image in our minds of the Justice in her robes with her collars. But the story is so much more than what we know today.

How did you prepare?

I listened to her recordings and became obsessed with her vowel sounds. I had a vocal coach. I also wore special contacts and practiced walking like RBG. I’m so detail-obsessed when I take on a role. I just become meticulous about how that person behaves, walks and talks. In terms of the physicality, it was working with the hair and makeup departments closely. I tracked images of her from the ’50s through the ’70s and looked at her face in a very detailed way.

Didn’t you change your teeth?

I have horrible British teeth. I wanted to get my teeth capped to imitate the shape of her mouth. I spent a lot of time at the dentist trying to get my teeth in the right way.

This sounds extreme.

I love becoming another person. I want to inhabit them in a way that’s living and breathing them.

Didn’t you go to her home?

She welcomed me into her apartment where she showed me her pictures and her desk in her bedroom. The desk is key. She can get up in the middle of the night if she feels inspired and wants to write something down. She lives and breathes the law and cares so deeply about America. You just feel the absolute integrity of this woman.

You also explore her private life in the film with her late husband, Martin.

Her apartment is covered with photos of her family, which really warmed my heart. Her heart is her family. The great love of hers was her husband, Marty. They were teenage sweethearts who had a very long and loving marriage.

Why is this film important in 2019?

We’re living in a time when we’re exploring real equality. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been fighting for that her entire life.

You grew up in England, where your dad is a journalist and your mom worked in advertising. How did you become interested in acting?

I grew up loving movies as a way to get away from it all. We lived in a small town and my mum and I would drive over an hour in her tiny car just to see the latest release at the nearest movie house. Those are some of my dearest memories of being a little girl. Even now, I’ll go see a scary movie, munch on my popcorn and scream at the monsters. It’s the most fantastic experience because dreams come true on that screen.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Celine Dion’s lounge gig a boon to Las Vegas act

Celine Dion performed “Because You Loved Me,” “Ashes,” Beauty and the Beast” and “My Heart Will Go On.” Her arrival drew a roar from the 300 VIPs in attendance, who were not informed of the night’s entertainment.