Set in the 18th century, director Clare Peploe's Triumph of Love stars Mira Sorvino as a princess posing as a young gentleman. In this gender-bending comedy opening today she must charm the pants off co-stars Ben Kingsley, Fiona Shaw and Jay Rodan, slipping in and out of male/female personas to get her way in a royal intrigue.
To get a leg up on her character's seductive, macho alter ego, Sorvino turned to an "enterprising" TV hero for inspiration. "I have to say the most prevalent persona in my Phocion character is William Shatner's Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek," she tells TV Guide Online. "The way he walks onto a planet and just starts seeing things he likes and taking them including alien women. You can [even] hear a little bit of James Kirk's rhythm in Phocion's voice!"
"In order to play Phocion effectively, I had to seem very in control at all times," she says. "Wearing shoulder pads and men's breeches helped me walk more the way I was supposed to. [But] to the camera and to the world around me, I had to seem totally sure of myself. As soon as I acted insecure, I looked female. I'd see a take and go, 'Oops... girlie.' And I'd have to go back and just know exactly what I wanted."