What, or more specifically, who do you think of when you hear the name, Sienna Miller? I think of Tippi Hedren. Miller played The Birds actress with such a likeness in The Girl that it was eerie, but she lit up the screen. And she has done this each and every time – remember gems like Layer Cake and Factory Girl? – being one of the few actresses that I feel can truly get lost in character; you utterly believe who she’s portraying on screen. But the 35-year-old admits that many still see and refer to her as “Jude Law’s ex-girlfriend.”
Such was the intense scrutiny of her private life around the clichéd famous-actor-has-affair-with-nanny-and publically-apologises scenario that the American Sniper star feels her career took such a dive that only now – almost ten years later – does she feel she can be taken seriously as an actress. The severity of her experiences of misogyny in the industry led to her acting talent getting “overshadowed” by media coverage of her personal life. It might come part-and-parcel with being a public figure, but as we’ve reported on countless times, it’s women and not men who tend to suffer from the boxes society seems desperate to put us in.
“I’ve always been a hard worker, I just think that I was seen more as ‘someone’s girlfriend’ or someone who was trendy,” she told Yahoo Movies. A series of high-profile relationships kept her in the tabloids, but that sounded a death knell for her being taken as a commodity in Hollywood. Until she directly hit back at the press.
It wasn’t until the actor – who is currently starring in Live By Night – was awarded £100,000 in damages during the News International phone hacking scandal that she has been offered more complex film roles.
“Having been as litigious as I have been,” said Miller, “fighting against bad media and paparazzi, it just means that’s died down, and I can be what I’ve always wanted to be, which is a serious actor.”
And in a time when it’s a struggle for females to be taken seriously in all walks of life, be it down to their reproductive rights or trying to combat “Smurfette Syndrome,” such a statement remains deeply depressing. That to combat her media-given persona as “The Girlfriend” she had to fight in a court of law because strange men armed with cameras chasing a then-21-year-old is in fact “pretty intimidating.”
But at least, her persistence paid off. “Since that’s slowed down it’s opened up a world of filmmakers. People see me as an actor now, and not necessarily the other side of things.” And her run in many high-profile films, including Foxcatcher and High-Rise, have proved this; Sienna Miller is not to be toyed with or unjustly labelled for tabloid fodder.
Sorry, Jude Law who?