Woman of Interest: Emily Mortimer

Emily Mortimer on her naturalization, her fallback career and her new role on HBO's 'The Newsroom'

by Leah Rozen
emily mortimer image
Photograph: © Peter Ash Lee/Art + Commerce

The Match Point star tackles Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO show, The Newsroom.
I play the executive producer of a nightly news show who has a complicated relationship with the anchor, Jeff Daniels.

She prefers British news.
TV news is disappointing here, but that is Sorkin’s point. In England [where she was born], it’s less sensational, and you get more international reporting.

Her surprising crush
I’m besotted with [MSNBC anchor] Chris Matthews. He manages to be passionate and to be himself, without that annoying arch tone anchors all seem to have. When I took this part, I thought, Maybe if I do this show, I might get to meet him!

Becoming American
I wept at my naturalization ceremony. The judge said, “America is a better place because you fine people have made the difficult journey to be here.” Everybody was a different color. That’s what’s great about America: You value the people who come here.

Fallback career
I can link sausages. My maternal grand-father was a pig farmer from Kent. My grandmother used to make sausages, and I’d help. There’s an art to linking them. If I was ever called on to do it in a film, I would be brilliant.

Honoring her father
My dad [barrister and author Sir John Mortimer] was a big proponent of penal reform. When he died, I started visiting a remand center in Brooklyn for women waiting for their trials. These women aren’t monsters but people just like you and me whose lives very often have taken terrible turns. 

Want MORE? Check out another fascinating Woman of Interest, Kathy Griffin.

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First published in the July/August 2012 issue

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