For Neve Campbell, her work is all about how you process the world and provide something for the camera. "You do all your playing in rehearsal, and all your thinking, too. About the character, how she thinks, how to interact with the other characters. Then when shooting begins, you let it all go, and you have the freedom to be that character."
But on stage, where her second stint working with Altman occurred, in the Old Vic presentation of "Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blues", "it is much more technical. Your diaphragm, voice control, even simple physical movement—it is so much more about technique on stage. There is an interaction with the audience, live, that you can't replicate with film—but really, still, it is much more about craft on stage."
Neve has worked on an impressive array of projects with a variety of well-respected actors: Jeremy Irons in "Showtime's Last Call"; Danny DeVito and Bette Midler in "Drowning Mona"; John McNaughton's "Wild Things" with Kevin Bacon, Matt Dillon and Denise Richards; Partition, directed by Vic Sarin. The list could go on, and does.
One of Neve's most recent projects is the Richard Attenborough film "Closing the Ring", which had a U.K. release last year and co-starred Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer and Mischa Barton. "Richard is an actor himself, so it is great to work with him, explore the character. He is so passionate about his work, and has incredible energy; even when he describes a scene, he is moving—hands, arms everywhere."
She will next be seen in the two-part miniseries "Burn Up", a Global Television and BBC co-production airing in June. "It was an interesting part, and I was attracted to the themes," says Neve. "The environment, oil, energy—it's all there. And I play someone who is determined to make a difference, for the better."
Throughout the conversation, it is abundantly clear that she takes her work seriously, knows how important her choices are and how to intelligently apply herself to her career as a whole. Based on her experience with "The Company", it seems probable that she will take another turn at producing, and perhaps even writing and directing. Mention fellow Canadian Sarah Polley and her accomplished directorial-debut film, "Away From Her", and Neve positively sparkles. "That is such a fine film. She did a great job—I loved everything about it. That would, in my mind, be a standard to shoot for." So, the writing process "has begun, and I do love it, but I really only have an outline of where I want to go with it. The discipline, of giving information but not overwhelming the audience—it is a challenge."
She heads out into the shining sunlight, still to decide within 48 hours on a film or two she might do. Parked at the curb is a Range Rover, two women in their early 30s seated inside, their name-brand oversize sunglasses just the beginning of the bling on display. The passenger window rolls down. "Was that Neve Campbell?" they ask in approximate unison. Affirmative. "Oh, we love her. She's just so smart!" Agreed. This is easy to confirm, and somehow it is nice to know that behind those lively eyes and a hearty laugh that defines the word infectious, resides the tough, intelligent person who brings such life to the characters she plays. Yes, that's Neve.