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"I had to get used to that." It so happens that the real Deborah – actually named Barbara Kuklinski – was involved in a rival movie project with Mickey Rourke, which ultimately fell apart.
While the film graphically details Kuklinski's working methods – he is said to have killed more than 100 people for the Mob – the big question that looms over the film is whether Deborah/Barbara really knew about her husband's crimes.
It was once worn by Audrey Hepburn to a screen test, she explains, with a quiver of embarrassment.
"Back in the early 1990s, they'd have auctions at the studio." She has a collection of vintage Hollywood outfits, apparently, including Leslie Caron's dress from An American in Paris, Claudette Colbert's gown from It Happened One Night and Olivia de Havilland's blouse from Gone with the Wind.
Back in 2003, Woody Allen had wanted to cast both Downey and Ryder in Melinda and Melinda – Ryder had worked with him once before in Celebrity – but, as he told one reporter, "I couldn't get insurance on them." Three years later, however, Ryder and Downey finally did get to work together – along with Keanu Reeves, Ryder's co-star from Dracula – in Richard Linklater's animated take on Philip K Dick's A Scanner Darkly.
It was the first in a series of baby-steps taken to resurrect her career.
Emerging as a poster girl for Generation X-ers after starring in slacker touchstone Reality Bites – she even dated musician Dave Pirner, of Soul Asylum fame for a time – she then teamed up with Al Pacino for Shakespeare doc Looking for Richard and starred opposite Daniel Day Lewis in a film adaptation of Arthur Miller's The Crucible.
"I'm not big on the internet," she tells me at one point, and you can understand why; too much exposure to cruel jibes.Two Oscar nominations came in quick succession – for Scorsese's Edith Wharton adaptation and, a year later, for Little Women.While she lost out both times – to Anna Paquin and Jessica Lange respectively – it hardly mattered."It's one of those movies where you go, 'Is this gonna work?' because it's about the ballet world and she's hallucinating and all this stuff. When I saw it, I was blown away." There were more small but significant roles, in Rebecca Miller's The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Ron Howard's domestic comedy The Dilemma and JJ Abrams' Star Trek, playing k Spock's mother.