A closely kept secret: Model Rachel Roberts is ready for the real thing

” It’s really strange having to tell everyone you’re real,» says Rachel Roberts for the umpteenth time since the release of Andrew Niccol’s movie «Simone» in which the 22-year-old model made her acting debut as a digital superstar. Kathimerini met up with her at the American Film Festival in Deauville, France, earlier this month, where she talked about the unorthodox shooting of the movie. Why isn’t your name in the titles? The studio wanted to keep my identity a secret and keep the press wondering whether Simone was real or fake before the film’s release. They wanted to highlight the paradox of having a real actress play a simulated one who is supposed to be real. It’s all a bit confusing to me, but I had more publicity as the simulated Simone than I did as Rachel. I signed a secrecy agreement saying I wouldn’t reveal anything and not take any modeling jobs in which my face would be shown, even my friends thought I was on holiday. Were you annoyed that your name was not immediately known? No, because doing the film was such a great adventure. I hope people will like me and I’ll get offered other parts. Was it hard to play Simone? Not at all, though I never imagined how much work it would be. For example, I couldn’t blink for two minutes and I had to try and breathe really slowly in the scenes where only my head is showing on Al Pacino’s screen. I had to imagine that Pacino was a puppeteer, and I, his puppet. Did you meet him during the shoot? Yes, and it was one of the most nerve-wracking days of my life. The first time was during rehearsals. When I saw him, I became a complete wreck. I was all ready, I’d read my lines but when I saw him, I just thought, «Oh my God, it’s the Godfather,» and stared at him. When I saw his reaction, I had to run into the bathroom and splash water on my face. How did you end up in the movie? It was almost by chance. My agency sent me to an audition where they were asking for an unknown actress for a film with Al Pacino. I thought, «No way,» but the agency said that if I didn’t go, they’d beat me up. So I went along and found out a week later that I’d gotten the part. How do you feel about being the embodiment of the «perfect woman?» I don’t wake up in the morning looking like Simone. I had quite a few reservations at first, but the whole crew encouraged me and I believed in Andrew Niccol’s vision. Have you had any new offers? My name is just becoming known and I am starting to receive scripts. What I would really like to play now is… a real person.