Watts knows about the complexities of heritage; although she's routinely described as Australian, the actress was actually born in Kent, England, and lived in various parts of the U.K. until she was 14 years old. And she says she still has a vestigial British accent. "Certainly, when I pick up the phone and talk to my mother, it comes back. It comes back at weird times, like when I'm emotional. My brother and I came to Australia at the same time, yet he sounds completely English; there's not even a trace of Australian."
Watts did require a dialect coach for the film, because, as Cronenberg notes, "there would be times when the Oz would creep in, so we'd expunge it." Not that the director is complaining about his star: describing their collaboration, he eventually likens her to a fine-tuned machine. Given Cronenberg's well-documented gearhead tendencies, the four-wheeled metaphor is a high compliment indeed. "I had a huge respect for her before we started, and I have even more now," he says. "It's like looking at a Ferrari and thinking 'That must be great' and then riding it and realizing that it is great."