"Isn’t that glamorous? The theater doesn’t have the budget for a hairdresser, so it’s become my nightly ritual. I’ve got it down from 45 minutes to 15 minutes," says the 24-year-old London-born actress, flexing her biceps. "If anything, it’s given me quite good arms."
Still, no amount of discomfort can wipe the smile from Pike’s face. Since winning the role as sword-wielding agent Miranda Frost in the latest 007 flick, "Die Another Day," she’s been wandering around in a haze of happiness. "Life is fun right now," she says. "It’s a ludicrous, gorgeous world and I love living in it."
And fame clearly hasn’t lost its novel allure. "I’m having these sort of delayed reactions," she says over a plastic cup of fizzy water at the theater’s upstairs bar. "I recently saw a picture of myself fighting Halle Berry with a sword and I couldn’t believe it was me."
"Hitchcock Blonde," a triple-plot story about Alfred Hitchcock’s obsession with the fair-haired set, is Pike’s first professional theater role and her first project since the Bond film, though she had acted in plays at the National Youth Theatre, where she studied as a teenager, and at Oxford, where she earned a degree in English literature.
On the London stage, Pike plays a generic blonde — Janet Leigh’s body double in "Psycho" — who dreams of stardom and of leaving her trashy life and abusive husband behind.
Pike has garnered good reviews — the play will move to the West End and run until September — and her performance has generated a lot of chatter. During the second act, Pike sheds her dressing gown, walks naked on stage and gives her breast to a stunned Hitchcock to fondle.
"I think sex is often unnecessary, but in this case it’s not about sex. It’s about fantasy, and how disruptive intimacy can be to certain people. It’s really the crux of the play. If it was titillating, I would not have done it," she says.