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This story first appeared in the Dec. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
Leigh is a fugitive wanted dead or alive in The Hateful Eight (out Dec. 25). In Anomalisa (out Dec. 30), Leigh voices a woman who has a brief affair with a married man.
Your Hateful Eight director, Quentin Tarantino, in three words?
Genius, enthusiastic, loving.
And Charlie Kaufman, your Anomalisa director?
Imaginative, brilliant, sweetheart.
Your Hateful Eight character is treated brutally. What do you say to people who allege Tarantino’s a misogynist?
He’s about the most un-misogynistic person I’ve ever met. He loves women. He writes the best parts for women around, really.
Aside from Tarantino and Kaufman, you’ve worked with Altman, Cronenberg, Kubrick, the Coen brothers, Ron Howard and Jane Campion. Who would make the best president?
That’s such a crazy question. I’m going to go with Jane. She’s very democratic, very thoughtful and very caring. She’d be great.
Speaking of possible presidents — Hillary, Bernie or Trump?
I really like Bernie, though I didn’t love his gun control answer [in the debates]. And there’s a lot I like about Hillary. It’s kind of a tossup between them. Obviously, Trump is hilarious and a lot of fun to watch, and I really hope he becomes the Republican nominee.
Taylor Swift or Adele?
What’s the most “Hollywood” thing about your life?
I was night shooting until 5 a.m. At 10 a.m., I had a manicurist come and give me a mani-pedi. Then I had hair and makeup at my house. And now I’m in an SUV doing an interview on my way to a press junket. That’s about as Hollywood as it gets.
Is it hard to have a normal life here?
I grew up in Hollywood with parents in this business. So for me, it’s like being asked, “How do you feel about your neighborhood?” This is my home. It’s like I grew up in a railroad town and knew I was going to work for the railroad. I was so naive growing up; I didn’t know this was a hard world to break into or that it was a lot of people’s dream. It just seemed like the reality. I don’t view it from some sort of outside perspective.
You’ve also lived in New York. Do you prefer New York or L.A.?
Well, New York really has the vibrancy of a city. There are great restaurants, and you can walk everywhere. But I have to say, I really am an L.A. girl.
Are you letting your lawn here die?
I’ve cut down on water enormously. I don’t have a lot of lawn. I have grass around my pool, which is dying in clumps, and I’ve got a little area in the front that has grass — and it’s not doing great because I’m conserving.
You’ve done several Broadway plays (including Cabaret and Proof). Do you prefer acting onstage or onscreen?
Screen. It’s closer. It’s more truthful.
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