Emily Mortimer Explains Why She Wears a Hazmat Suit in Her New Film Spectral
Emily Mortimer has all the trappings of a quintessential Englishwoman: artfully undone hair, menswear-inspired style, and a polished accent that nods to her London upbringing. So it may come as a surprise that the actress, best known for playing a fiery producer on Aaron Sorkin’s HBO political drama, The Newsroom, prefers life on this side of the pond. “I once joked that I became a U.S. citizen to dodge taxes,” she says.
The real reason was to solidify her future in Brooklyn’s quaint Boerum Hill neighborhood with her husband of 13 years, American actor Alessandro Nivola, and their two children, May, 6, and Samuel, 12. “I auditioned for a role there,” she says. “I didn’t get the part, but I got a home.” She developed a fond appreciation for the city’s cultural diversity, which brought her to tears during her naturalization ceremony. “Everyone was from a difference place. That’s what is great about America.”
But despite embracing her New York City lifestyle, Mortimer insists she is still sartorially influenced by her hometown. “People in England dress a bit more eccentrically, with a sense of humor and a wry twinkle in the eye,” she says. On a balmy, overcast morning by a lake in South Salem, a hamlet in New York’s Westchester County, she’s dressed for comfort in white Rachel Comey jeans, a vintage men’s button-down, and ruched ballet flats by English designer Emma Hope. A go-to label for Mortimer is the London-based L.K.Bennett, one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s favorites, and her first style splurge was on a pair of the brand’s red stilettos.
She will be wearing a decidedly different look in this month’s Spectral, a sci-fi thriller about a group of CIA operatives fighting supernatural beings in Eastern Europe. “For a good portion of the film, I’m in a hazmat suit,” she says with a laugh. “In a weird way, it’s kind of sexy. There’s a space-age, Barbarella element to it.” Off-camera, brogues, cardigans, and duster coats are mainstays in her wardrobe. “I keep those in rotation,” she says, “depending on which one my kids haven’t dropped food on.”
Joachim Muller-Ruchholtz; hair: Shinya Nakagawa/Kerastase/Artist; makeup: Linda Gradin/Dior/L'Atelier NYC; styling: Jane Howard; manicure: Casey Herman/Dior/The Wall Group; production: Firstlight Production