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Rebecca Hall: Strong Female Characters Ain’t Saints – ‘We Need to Be Villains, Too’

"We need to be messy and sloppy and three-dimensional and complicated"

Rebecca Hall thinks Hollywood gets it wrong when it comes to women.

Strong doesn't equal saintly.

"There’s been a sort of trend for awhile of people writing strong women as women who are morally right, which is so uninteresting, " Hall told TheWrap. "It's no fun and frankly it's a massive disservice to womankind. It boxes us in to making these sort of slightly dull, virtuous choices."

The English actress' search for a character who was prickly and flawed led her to the legal thriller "Closed Circuit," which opens Wednesday. In it, Hall plays a brilliant lawyer whose extramarital affair with a colleague (Eric Bana) ruins his marriage and threatens to undermine their defense of an accused terrorist.

Also read: 'Closed Circuit' Finds Parallels With Edward Snowden, Wikileaks

Hall said she has noticed a trend where there are more parts for females that involve behaving badly.

"We need to be villains too," Hall said.  "We need to be messy and sloppy and three-dimensional and complicated and that’s writing a strong woman. I liked that this woman was making mistakes and was compromised."

"Closed Circuit" may only be a teaser for what's to come when Hall makes her Broadway debut later this year in "Machinal." The play is inspired by a true murder case that inspired "Double Indemnity" and "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and centers on a woman who has an affair with a younger man and kills her husband.

The whole caper sounds, well … messy and sloppy.

The play was written by journalist Sophie Treadwell and was first produced in 1928. However, it is not well known; with the exception of a Fiona Shaw-led revival in 1993 at London's Royal National Theatre, it is rarely performed.

"It’s a fascinating play that’s essentially been buried for ages," Hall said. "I think people study it in colleges and people are aware of it, but nobody really does it. It's an example of a writer being slightly written out of history."