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It’s Blake Lively as you’ve never seen her be­fore. The star un­der­goes a series of ma­jor makeovers in her sexy new spy thriller The Rhythm Sec­tion – an adap­ta­tion of Mark Bur­nell’s 1999 novel of the same name. The 31-year-old ac­tress – who ad­mits she wigged out mak­ing the movie – stars as Stephanie Pa­trick, a woman who goes un­der­cover and as­sumes three dif­fer­ent iden­ti­ties to seek re­venge against those who planned a plane crash that killed her fam­ily.

“She came to me to di­rect her in some­thing,” says di­rec­tor Reed Mo­rano ( The Hand­maid’s Tale). “She found out I wanted to do [ The Rhythm Sec­tion], and then planted that seed: Maybe we do it to­gether? And I thought, that’s a good idea. You just get a feel­ing.” Reed also re­veals that the well-pub­li­cised hand in­jury Blake sus­tained dur­ing film­ing – and the movie’s sub­se­quent pro­duc­tion hia­tus in Jan­uary last year – turned out to be a “bless­ing in dis­guise”.

“It was a re­ally busy shoot for Blake, so it was nice be­cause it gave her some down­time. We had some re­ally ex­cit­ing stunt pieces planned, and we were just able to do those and ex­e­cute them per­fectly be­cause we had that ex­tra time,” she says.

Here Blake – who co-stars with Jude Law in the fast-paced flick – spills on her “hard­est” role to date...

Ste Stephanie (left) isn’t glam all the time lik like Ser­ena van der Wood­sen. How did y yo you feel about the make­un­der you had too have for part of the movie? [She is] a h he heroin-ad­dicted pros­ti­tute. You al­ways see t th that thing in movies where if a woman is a pros­ti­tute or a sex worker you al­ways t think, “I don’t want the guys to be grossed o out by her.” We have to still make her kind o of sexy – trag­i­cally sexy – but, you know, i if you drive down skid row, that’s not what y you see. That’s not the truth. So it’s re­ally im­por­tant to us to show a woman who so­ci­ety has writ­ten off, and so­ci­ety has for­got­ten about.

Did you hhave tto ddo much re­search to get into char­ac­ter? I did ride-alongs with cops on drug busts and I spent a lot of time walk­ing through al­ley­ways talk­ing to some ad­dicts – some of whom were just teenagers! It was the hard­est thing I’ve ever had to do.

Did you get to glam up for any scenes? I play an as­sas­sin, and I was wear­ing a lot of mil­i­tary boots, and I start to get a lit­tle Sin­gle White Fe­male with my char­ac­ters. I start to take on their style and fash­ion a lit­tle bit, so I started wear­ing com­bat boots a lot.

You loved film­ing in Ire­land, though? Oh my God. You have to go to Ire­land just to go to Avoca [a small town in County Wick­low] – it’s just heaven. How it’s de­scribed in the Bi­ble is in­ac­cu­rate, heaven is what Avoca is... It’s just hand weavers and amaz­ing pas­tries and it’s just heaven. If every­body goes and sees The Rhythm Sec­tion then we will have to make a few more, there are about five books so it will be our sec­ond home. Ire­land will be my sec­ond home.

Do you find it hard be­ing a work­ing mum? My mum had a ca­reer and had five kids. Don’t com­pro­mise one for the other. You can do both fan­tas­ti­cally, and some days you’ll do both hor­ri­bly. As long as you’re happy and give your fam­ily all the love and at­ten­tion they need, it all sort of falls into place. In cine­mas Thurs­day Fe­bru­ary 21

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