Morton, Watson share screen time

May 24, 2008 5:33:27 AM PDT
Samantha Morton says people sometimes confuse her with fellow British actress Emily Watson. Fans will be even more confused after seeing their first film together.

Morton, 31, and Watson, 41, co-star as variations of the same character in "Synecdoche, New York," which premiered Friday at the Cannes Film Festival.

"It's really weird. Over the years, I've been in situations where people ... have mistaken me for her" or complimented her for "Breaking the Waves," Morton said.

"And I went, `Oh, I wish,"' she said of the 1996 film that gave Watson her breakthrough role and earned her an Academy Award nomination. "And apparently, she's had a similar thing herself with me, so the casting was incredible."

Morton, an Oscar nominee for "Sweet and Lowdown" and "In America," plays an assistant who has a lifelong flirtation with a theater director (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in "Synecdoche," the directing debut of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman ("Being John Malkovich").

Watson, who wasn't at a news conference with other cast and crew, co-stars as an actress cast to play Morton's character in the director's theatrical re-creation of the world at large, which includes a massive New York City set built inside warehouses.

The two eerily resemble each other in "Synecdoche," sharing distinctive hairstyles, mannerisms and speech patterns.

Spending a few days together on the set, Morton and Watson developed a bond that went beyond their physical resemblance.

"We naturally started kind of dancing," Morton said. "Not physically, but it became a dance, of how we would do things, and it was just so wonderful."