We first meet at The Standard Hotel’s 24/7 Restaurant in West Hollywood, which is mostly empty at 11 a.m., the late morning sun streaming past retro beaded blinds, flooding the long, narrow space with light. When Miller enters, the light catches the new rosy-orange shade of her hair before she slides into a corner booth just out of the sun’s range. After we say our hellos, conversation quickly transitions, as it does, into analysis of her new hair color. “I’m just not sure about these,” she offers, in her delicate English lilt, pointing to her eyebrows, which have been dyed to match. “Normally, I’m blonde with black eyebrows!” Other than that, Miller looks as Sienna-esque as ever, both casual and polished in a thin, navy-striped top with a long, swooshy cream-colored skirt and platforms. (In a few weeks, her hair will be back to its signature shade of blonde.) Occasionally, she flashes her approachable smile, revealing the naturally pretty teeth of a head cheerleader, rather than the glow-in-the-dark Chiclets favored by many movie stars.
Miller, who primarily lives in England, is in Los Angeles to take meetings for her second wave of projects following the year she spent away from acting due to the birth of her daughter, Marlowe. (Marlowe’s father is Miller’s fiancé, the actor Tom Sturridge.) A tidier narrative would point to the birth of Marlowe as Miller’s moment of refocusing her acting career, but the truth is, when she was only a few months pregnant, she filmed The Girl, in which she brilliantly portrayed real-life Hitchcock muse Tippi Hedren, earning the actress her first major American award nomination—a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV movie or miniseries. But according to Miller, while it may not be the exact beginning of a change in tune, the year she spent away from the industry did serve a purpose. “In the past I was always drawn to the roles, and was often really exploring characters, but then the final result was not what it was supposed to be,” she explains. “My modus operandi after I had the baby was to work with great people, no matter the capacity, even if I had a smaller part.” She fills her water glass from a bottle of Pellegrino and continues: “I feel far more focused now than I ever have.”