The actress, mom and supporting star of this month’s much-anticipated thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, has come full circle — and she’s loving it.Robin Wright likes to play dress-up. At least that’s what she’s telling me while we’re sitting together in her Santa Monica, Calif., bedroom discussing her favorite movie roles. For about the fourth time in two days, our plans to meet (most recently at the Marmalade Cafe, a tiny eatery and catering shop along the city’s upscale Montana Avenue) had been postponed, altered or thwarted until at last I found myself ascending the steep driveway toward her house, a two-story Spanish-style dwelling on a twisty residential canyon road. Her assistant, Nini, and a Chihuahua mix named Violet (who belongs to a friend) greet me at the door, and moments later I’m upstairs in Wright’s airy sleeping quarters — just her, me and the humming and buzzing of nearby construction.
“Hi,” says Wright, walking out from what looks to be a walk-in closet and shaking my hand warmly. “Thanks so much for meeting me here.”
I immediately notice that the long blond locks I’d been expecting are now cropped closely to her neck, her brow-length bangs held back with a bobby pin. She’s wearing stretchy blue leggings, a pair of New Balance sneakers and a faded, oversize red hoodie (“I put this on [this] morning because I’ve been planning on going running all day,” she later says), which only accentuates her tiny frame. And her face is completely makeup-free, refreshing in a town where natural is typically a description associated only with health bars.
“Can I get you something to drink?” she asks. “Water?”
I nod yes and she’s off down the stairs, returning a few seconds later with a filled pitcher and two drinking glasses.
Whatever I’d been expecting before arriving at Wright’s home — a slew of bodyguards, maybe, or a bustling room filled with an ever-changing rotation of stylists and friends — it definitely wasn’t that I’d be spending the next hour sitting beside one of Hollywood’s most talented actresses, having a casual and private conversation in such a laid-back setting. Through the years, the 45-year-old beauty has shared the screen with so many of film’s most incredible leading men (and women) that the list reads something like a celebrity-awards-show seating chart: Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, Morgan Freeman, Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, the late Paul Newman, Russell Crowe, John Travolta, Winona Ryder and her ex-husband Sean Penn, to name a few. Yet, as far as leading actresses go, she slips under many audiences’ radars. But that’s about to change. Along with having played the lead role of Mary Surratt in last year’s Robert Redford–directed historical drama, The Conspirator, Wright can be seen in the upcoming crime drama Rampart; she played Brad Pitt’s ex in Moneyball; and, this month, she stars as feisty editor Erika Berger in the eagerly awaited The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first film in a trilogy based on Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s Millenium series. The movie centers on Lisbeth Salander, an eccentric and emotionally damaged computer hacker who helps disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist solve a cold case and restore his reputation. Since the first book was published in 2005, the late author’s Millenium novels have sold more than 27 million copies worldwide, and the film — a career boost for Wright, who stars as the friend and occasional lover of Blomkvist, played by Daniel Craig — is one of the year’s most anticipated releases. In a word, Robin Wright is hot.