Rebecca Miller's third novel, Jacob's Folly, is expected to hit shelves in Ireland on June 6. The acclaimed writer - and wife of triple-Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis - recently talked to the Irish Independent about her career, her marriage and her famous name.
Miller, who is the daughter of American playwright Arthur Miller, revealed she once considered changing her name.
"I considered changing my name to my mother's name briefly very early," said Miller, whose mother was renowned photographer Inge Morath. "But then I thought my name is so common. Miller is not a very distinctive name.
"In the end, people are still going to know if they're going to know. I sort of ended up deciding it was like being part of a family circus, and I didn't mind any more."
Miller's newest novel is a fantastical tale of an 18th-Century French-Jewish peddler who is reincarnated as a fly in modern-day New York. The novel has already received praise.
"It takes a certain amount of forgetting about what anybody might expect of you," said Miller.
"In my case, I think I retreat into my family so that I almost cleanse myself of any of the literary part of me, and then [emerge] just ready to go.
"I try to almost hypnotise myself into thinking that I'm free each time I write a book.
"I think if you convince yourself you're free, then you are, because it's a mental state, really. I didn't think particularly about being original, or anything else. I just thought: 'How can I tell this story?'"
Miller also talked about her struggle to find her own creative niche.
"I started by being a painter, partly because it was either going to be painting or writing, and I had an instinct that it would be healthier for me to go that way in the beginning.
"Then I started to do screenplays, which seemed like 'non-writing'. It was like writing without writing.
"I had been screen- writing all these years, but couldn't get money for my film.
"Finally, when I had a baby, I thought: 'Why am I writing all these things that nobody wants, and spending all my time doing it – why not try to write fiction?'
"That's when I wrote Personal Velocity, which, funnily enough, brought me back to film-making when it was adapted into a film [in 2002]."
Of her marriage to Day-Kewis, she joked," "Luckily we have circles of privacy outside of which we manage to act like normal human beings, more or less."
"I wrote a lot of the book in Ireland actually, because we were living in Ireland until two years ago.
"When you're writing, you tend to go into lockdown.
"The whole book took five years to write, so I was in that state for a really long time.
"I would drop the kids off at school, come home and just write for three or four hours until I had to get up to do something else. Or I would have to take six months off and just read [for research].
"That means I let a lot of things go; a lot of relationships just get cooled . . . so you have to then re-start them."
Miller has also tried acting, and shared the big screen with Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey in 1992's 'Consenting Adults.'
"Acting wasn't my natural state," she tells. "Even then, I was aware that I was leaning [towards] something else.
"What's great is that it gave me so much respect for acting; kind of a window in on it that you can't get unless you've actually gone inside of it and done it in a serious way.
"But I don't have any desire [to do it again]."
The 50-year-old mother-of-two admits she is happy to remain the less famous spouse in her marriage.
"I think a tiny, tiny bit maybe people recognise me, but very, very minimally. I'm not a famous person, thank God. It's a terrible thing, actually, being famous.
"I mean, some people really enjoy it, I think, and other people don't. I like to observe and watch people, I wouldn't [like] to be the person being watched all the time."
Miller says that the family has split their time between US and Ireland, moving back to US for their sons education.
We had always decided to split [our time between the US and Ireland]. I said: 'I can't be an expatriate forever,' and Daniel understood that.
"So we came here for seven years, now we're there. Once they're in college, I imagine a more balanced life between here and there.
"I love Ireland," she says. "I definitely have come to feel like this is a second home to me. [But] New York city is my place."
Miller also talked about her work as a female director and its challenges.
"Somebody said 2pc to me once," says Miller of the minority of female directors in Hollywood.
'One of the problems for women, quite frankly, [is that] if you're a director for hire – which most directing jobs are – you could suddenly be in Australia for six months.
"For women who have a family, it's a big decision because of the expectations on women, and the expectations they have on themselves.
"I also don't know that women do a good enough job of championing each other, and that's something I've been thinking about a lot myself.
"I always try to hire the best man for the job, and most of them happen to be women!"
She adds: "I've got a screenplay that I'm trying to cast and finance – one never knows.
"I would love to work with Marion Cottilard one day; I really love Reese Witherspoon and Elle Fanning is wonderful.
"There are so many wonderful actors and actresses; that's where it would be hard to say goodbye to making films, as much as it's a pain in the neck.
"I've had an amazing, miraculous career where not only have I been a female making movies, I've also done something that men would like to do, which is just tell my own stories."
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