Interviews with Michael Fassbender, Brie Larson, Saoirse Ronan, Idris Elba, Alicia Vikander, Kate Winslet and Benicio del Toro.

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The Chosen Ones

It is always interesting reading about how actors prepare for roles.

Kate Winslet and Brie Larson, two leading contenders for acting nominationsthis awards season, take vastly different approaches as they reveal to Screen.

For her role as the imprisoned mother in Lenny Abrahamson’s devastating Room, Larson spoke to experts, spent a month under self-imposed house arrest and stayed out of the sun for three months.

By contrast, Winslet is gleefully “not Method — quite the opposite”.

Instead, for her role in Steve Jobs as Apple’s head of international marketing Joanna Hoffman, she threw herself into the substantial rehearsals, which director Danny Boyle (unusually) broke into three parts throughout the shoot.

Her co-star Michael Fassbender, as the titular iconoclast, says he concentrated on what was in Aaron Sorkin’s script rather than take too much from the world of opinion about the divisive but unarguably pioneering Jobs.

Fassbender’s performance is putting him at the forefront of awards consideration (and his role in Macbeth cannot be ruled out either) alongside Benicio del Toro’s blistering, world-weary turn in Sicario and Idris Elba as the mesmerising, terrifying warmonger in Beasts Of No Nation. Both talk to Screen about how they inhabited such complex and difficult roles.

Saoirse Ronan, who stars in John Crowley’s Brooklyn, found many parallels between her own life and that of the homesick Eilis, a young woman caught between her family and childhood in Ireland and the new life she tries to forge in New York.

She talks to Crowley for Screen about how she feared she was not doing enough (except cry) and what motivates her to act. As a former child actor who transforms into a bona fide in-it-for-the-long-run star before our eyes in this film, her answer is inspiring.

Indeed, are stars born or can they be made? That’s one of the questions we explore in an interview with The Danish Girl’s Alicia Vikander, an actor whose rise up the A-list has been swift. We talk to the casting agents who first spotted her startling potential and discover that yes, stars are invariably born.

Louise Tutt, contributing editor