Either way, with a role as a mysterious financial PR in David Hare’s new BBC political thriller, Turks & Caicos, alongside Christopher Walken, Bill Nighy and Helena Bonham Carter, Ryder’s bemused by talk of a comeback.“Only because they’ve been saying it for so long,” she says with a laugh. There’s a big part of me that just wants to do good work and not have that pressure. And although I’d love to say that everything I’ve done has been a passion project – when of course I’ve done things just to work and I’ve done clonkers – you get a letter from David Hare, and you’re like, ‘Oh my God.’” The second part of Hare's Worricker Trilogy, Turks & Caicos follows Page Eight, which was shown in 2011.
She talks in open-ended sentences, dipping in and out of whispers and veering off on tangents.And at 42, in a battered cream leather jacket, vintage T-shirt and jeans, she’s still as fragile and translucent-skinned as she was at 18, as Cher’s pious teenage daughter in Mermaids, with the underlying grit of Lelaina, her character in the Generation X time-capsule that was Reality Bites, and the quiet wisdom of May Welland in Martin Scorsese's The Age of Innocence.The star of Heathers, Girl Interrupted and Black Swan – an actress who has been reductively if accurately described as “the poster girl for the 1990s” – has been telling me about “this weird thing I do if I have to get emotional in a film.It always works.” She doesn’t just want me to take her word for it; she wants me to try it.Any resentment she does harbour towards them is for setting too good an example of what marriage could be, she says.
“It’s crazy because they are still so in love after 43 years together – and I mean giddily in love. I think it may be why I never got married.” She came close twice: once in the early 1990s, when, having got together with Depp on Edward Scissorhands, she became one half of the Brangelina of grunge, and later in 1998 when she and Damon became engaged, only to split up in 2000.’ And it’s true that I get sent these scripts and they’re so dark,” she says.“I just got sent this one about paedophilia and it had a great cast but I read it and – maybe because of Polly – just thought, ‘I don’t want to be a part of that.’” In this sense of responsibility – and in so many other ways – Ryder is atypical of her industry."But what’s weird to me is that I’d rather just look my age.My favourite performances are by actresses like Bette Davis in All About Eve or Gena Rowlands in pretty much anything – performances that have nothing to do with age.Which I do because this is Los Angeles and nobody would bat an eyelid if you were to assume the lotus pose in the middle of a bar and start chanting, “Om shanti, shanti.” But also, simply, because Ryder wants me do it.