I sat down late yesterday with Bright Star‘s Abbie Cornish, whom I found quite personable, steady, friendly and straight-shooting. And a serious knockout, of course. She’ll most likely land a Best Actress nomination for her performance as Fanny Brawne. I mean, does anyone see this not happening? There’s never a second in which she isn’t fully submerged in that character and Bright Star‘s milieu (i.e., early 1800s London) and the intense romantic stakes. By any standard it’s a fairly serious sink-in.

I forgot Cornish was playing this somewhat limited and yet finally impassioned woman. She just “was” and I went with that. I didn’t experience the usual hesitation during the first few minutes of her performance. It was a fast sell and a deep dive.

Cornish has a kind of a chubby-cheeks going on in Bright Star (which seems a bit accentuated by her dark hair being constantly worn in a bun), which is why I noted that she seemed as if she could take her lover, John Keats (Ben Whishaw), in a wrestling match but that’s neither here nor there. She’s now her naturally blonde self and seemingly in prime athletic shape for her role as “Sweetpea” in the currently filming Sucker Punch, now being directed by Zack Snyder in Vancouver. Warner Bros. will release it in 2011.

My interview is in two parts — part 1 above, part 2 below.