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Rebecca Hall Redefines Stardom

Rebecca Hall stood in front of an easel, her face contemplative. She moved a paintbrush gently on a palette, then applied the paint to the canvas. This was in her studio, a converted barn next door to where Ms. Hall lives in upstate New York with her husband, the actor Morgan Spector, and their 5-year-old daughter, Ida.

When she’s not acting, Ms. Hall paints as a way of channeling her creativity. Her father, Sir Peter Hall — who founded the Royal Shakespeare Company — once warned her about dividing her talents. “He said that it’s very hard to do more than one thing, which really haunted me for a really long time,” Ms. Hall said. “Increasingly, though, I refuse to stay in one lane.”

This, in many ways, is Ms. Hall in a nutshell: unwilling to be boxed in, an artist at heart. At 41, Ms. Hall is considered by some to be one of her generation’s most talented actresses.She possesses an unnerving maturity and an unparalleled capacity for versatility. She can so thoroughly embody a character that, as the New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis once wrote, “she becomes your way into the movie as well as the reason you keep watching.” But her career choices reveal a circuitous route toward stardom, a push and pull between projects with famous directors and actors and those on a much smaller scale, including independent films and stage productions.

Most recently, she appears in this month’s “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,” a big-budget monster film. In it, she plays Dr. Ilene Andrews, an anthropological linguist, who serves as a maternal Jane Goodall-type figure for Kong. It’s the type of heavily marketed blockbuster that a younger Rebecca Hall might have objected to altogether. So why did she choose to do it?

“The cynical answer is you don’t get to be an artist in this day and age without doing some of those,” she replied. “But I’m also a straight-up lover of cinema, and that involves all kinds of cinema. I don’t have the mentality of, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do one for them, and then I can do one for me.’ There’s also a huge amount of fun in it, and I’m proud of the end result.”

Ms. Hall in this month’s big-budget film “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.” She is “a straight-up lover of cinema, and that involves all kinds of cinema,” she said.Credit…Dan McFadden/Warner Bros. Pictures

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