There’s a lot of awards-season chatter for your performance in this film. Do you pay attention to it?
When they make a huge noise about it and they’re talking about you, you can’t not feel intrigued by it. What, me? It’s never been on my menu at all–I’ve won European prizes, but not here in America. It would be fascinating if it was for a film like this.
You’ve appeared in films for 50 years, in everything from Georgy Girl to The Night Porter to Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories, yet you’ve tended to avoid big studio blockbusters. Why?
Even if it wasn’t good for my career or my bank balance, I felt that I needed to make films that suited me as a person, not just as a performer. There had to be a coherence somewhere.
What doesn’t appeal to you about Hollywood?
It’s a style of life, isn’t it? It’s the nature of who you are. I can’t ask anyone to do things for me–I’d rather almost not do it. I like to wait and be invited to dance. I’m an old-fashioned girl.
How would you describe the kinds of films you’re drawn to?
Films that come in quietly and actually do something to you. You could read them and think there’s not much story there, but within that “not much story,” a hell of a lot actually goes on. The director wants to find out what goes on in between.
How was shooting a sex scene with your co-star Tom Courtenay?
Those [scenes]–I always step right away from them. I would never conceive of having someone watch me while I’m in that kind of situation in my life. I don’t even go there. So you just do it–and you can do that completely mechanically.
This appears in the November 30, 2015 issue of TIME.