Thursday, July 21, 2005

Selma Blair: A Dirty Shame Redux (Q & A)

While cleaning out the files I stumbled across an interview with Selma Blair I did during the junket for John Waters' film A Dirty Shame in which she played Caprice Stickles/ Ursula Udders. Like most of Waters' films, this one quickly faded from the mainstream public's view -- despite the fact that he had a whole heap of things to say vis a vis the current state of affairs in America's sexual repression. The flick was quite funny, yo. I've posted my interview with Waters and wrote a review about the film here (at the bottom of the page). At any rate, I never published the face time I got with Selma anywhere else and she was quite cool...Waters called her "the female Johnny Depp because she's one of the few actresses who'll play against type and take creative risks...I thought I'd post what she had to say right here....

Q: So, do you miss those prosthetic breasts or what?

Selma: No, God.

Q: Could you keep them/ [for posterity]

Selma: You know, I guess I could've but I had a different pair every day because to take them off they'd get ruined. Because you'd have to put on this oil to break the seal on the latex. So not only did I look like I had leprosy at the end of this movie from taking them off everyday [laughter] -- I'd like rip my tits off at the end of the day because I couldn't wait for Connor [the makeup guy] to take them off. So no, the last thing [that] I wanted was to keep a soggy, oil-filled latex, over-sized pair of breasts. [laughter] But I did hear that some people -- some real fetish collectors -- were going through the waste bins looking to take home "a little piece" of movie magic.

Q: Did it make you feel different? [to wear huge breasts] Did you feel sexy?

Selma: You're so sweet to think that for one moment that they might've looked sexy. (laughs) No, in real life, there were titters behind me -- no pun intended -- but people were tittering like [with a rural accent] "oh, that poor girl. Oh, she must be deformed." You know, people that had no idea that they weren't real... I think, MAYBE, one person in the whole world would think that they were attractive. But they were really perky! [laughs]...they stuck out a lot, you know, because they were latex. So they didn't quite have the "swing" that that size of breasts might've -- that, I think, would've been more fun -- but they were kind of fun. I gained all this weight from eating all of this really delicious fried Baltimore food -- a lot of crab cakes and all that stuff -- and you couldn't tell at all because in comparison to my breasts, everything was small. [laughs] So I felt the same.

Q: So you'd go walking out in the streets of Baltimore with them still on?

Selma: No, it was funny because John was like-- "no." I wore a bathrobe around them all the time -- John was like "don't let anyone see them" and " I don't want anyone to catch wind that you have such big breasts - I want it to be a surprise" and there's just no way that that could be a surprise. I mean I'm wearing a bathrobe and you could that I have these gi-normous tits underneath. So we could hardly keep them under wraps. But I did (go walking around B-more) one day -- I would get the prosthetics put on at four in the morning, the makeup artists would come and the prosthetic maker, and I'd lay there naked and [afterwards] they'd get to work and four hours later they'd be done. I'd have all the makeup done and I went outside -- and there's a big construction crew outside -- and one morning, I couldn't help myself. I just thought, "You know, it has to be done." I'm wearing the bathrobe and the tits underneath with the nipples, like the real ones -- I had sets, I had some that didn't look real, some that had perfect nipples - depending if I had to be nude that day or not. So I just said, "Hey boys!" And it was like," They just cleared out -- I mean, truly. There wasn't a laugh -- nothing! They were just horrified. They [the prosthetics] weren't "really hot" at all. It was not like, you know, sexy.

Q: Where did they find the prosthetics maker for A Dirty Shame? Probably not something that there's really a market for.

Selma: Well I don't know, I think -- I know when we started with the prosthetics, I was doing Hellboy at the time when I was cast in this movie. And I was talking to Jay Garber, who was Hellboy's makeup artist for Ron Perleman, and he said "oh, I want to do the tits. I want to do them so bad [ly] that would be such a fun project. Because it's never really been done before because it's hard because you have movement in the armpits -- it seems so simple but it's really difficult [to believably pull off]. So they wound up going with Tony Alterion the guy that did -- this doesn't make me feel much better, but -- the guy that did the "saggy breasts" on the lady in There's Something About Mary. [laughs] He did the dog's cast in There's Something About Mary -- that's who I let make nude body casts of me. He did Gwyneth Paltrow's fat suit for Shallow Hal. I guess, you just figure it out -- movie magic...

Q: Do you go out of your way to find stuff that's "different?"

Selma: No. I don't go out of my way. My work finds me -- I'm really lucky. It's when I decide to do something, you know, the sunnier, cuter actress would want, that's when I'm really fighting. I definitely kind of get the "off" roles. [pitched] But, you know, I'm an actress. I like to play all different types. Guillermo [del Toro] came to me for Hellboy, John came to me also...Legally Blonde came to me too, so yeah, I think the [characters] that I play are kind of off, the directors just have that sensibility thinking that that's something I do -- I don't know.

Q: You were doing Hellboy and you got offered Ursula/ Caprice's role -- what compelled you to take this "titular" role?

Selma: [laughs] Aww, bravo.[for the pun] I think, well I was friends with Johnny [Knoxville] -- we're kind of pals -- and I wanted to work with John [Waters] years ago but it didn't work out, because of my schedule -- I don't remember exactly what I was doing at the time. So, we had met and really got on and he knew that I was ridiculous [about working with him] and I'd auditioned for him years ago and was just screaming like a banshee -- just making a fool out of myself. So, he knew I was game and then Johnny was meeting with John about this movie and [Knoxville] called me -- and I was in Prague -- and I said "oh my God, I want to do it! I want to do it too." And he said, like, "hey, okay, I'll talk to him" and that was it. So then I just got the part and did all this research -- what a joke. I was with dancers and working with choreographers -- I wanted to be the best go-go dancer. I wanted to really make people think that I was a hot, talented little lassie. And then I got the boobs on and they all went to pieces [laughing] because I couldn't move! Go-go dancers are tiny, you know, Goldie Hawn framed girls. You can really do all this stuff [waving arms in front of herself], it's all about the movement in front of you. And then I have these [prosthetic boobs] and all I could do was move like an ape instead of all the stuff I'd planned to do.

Q: What was it like working with John -- as a director, in comparison to some of the other directors that you've worked with?

Selma: Well John, like so many other directors that I'm so fond of, is so specific about what he wants. You know, there's a few you work with, these new directors that I like to give a chance to because I'm starting out also, and they just don't know yet. It's just not an exciting experience but with John -- he's been making movies for forty years. And he's so specific about the tone and the voice that he wants, I mean they all kind of sound the same -- John's films -- I think. Like a similar rhythm and cadence of all the actors. I think it's because - maybe he doesn't realize this -- but he's in the background mouthing every single actor's words as we're going. So I couldn't tell if we were trying to mimick him or he was mimicking us but we all sound the same because we're all on the same rhythm of John's mouth moving -- you can't help it when someone's doing that. He's a pleasure. He's a very dignified gentleman and he's terribly intelligent, so that's always an inspiration. I mean, maybe, for laymen it wouldn't look like it when you're watching his films, you can't tell how smart he is but I mean they're coming from such a place of innocence and joy.

Q: How was it working with Tracey Ullman? Was it fun?

Selma: Yes. We've become very dear friends. She's probably my closest friend now, definitely my closest friend in the business. She's one that I like to talk to as much as I can everyday. She's working right now, in Vancouver, on The Princess and the P, Once Upon a Mattress. I'm terribly sad that she's not here right now - loved [working with] her. To me, there's Madeline Kahn, Gilda Radner and Tracey Ullman - those are the three women that I idolized and was inspired by growing up and thank God she's still with us and will be forever. She's young and beautiful and wonderful, so I'm lucky I got to start working with her now. I hope I get to again.

Q: So what's in the future?

Selma: I have a few movies coming out, I have Synergy coming out -- with Scarlett Johanssen, and Dennis Quaid -- I'm Topher Grace's wife in that. And then I play Sam Elliot's wife in a movie called The Alibi, I play a nice Mormon wife. {one Mormon wife?} Yeah, I play one of many. I think I have four other wives in my family. [laughs] But, of course, I put a really realistic spin on it -- I'm like a Mormon slut-wife. [laughter] I know, it's impossible. I don't know what I was thinking and then I have another movie where I play a wife. I play Ron Livingston's wife in Pretty Persuasion with Evan Rachel Wood -- so, now that I'm married I guess it's just wife roles [jokes]

Q: What do you think the message in A Dirty Shame is?

Selma: [laughs] I don't know, I can't find a clear message other than: I think it raises some really simple and amusing questions about tolerance and why do so many people find this movie, or John Waters movies, so offensive -- because plenty of people do. I mean there's teaching on the internet about the Christian groups blah-blah-blah that are just thinking that [Waters' movies] are the devil's work. You know, these movies should never be seen or made or whatever and why is this so offensive to people? I'm not saying that it's not or it is, but it's pretty joyous and harmful. And I think, for me, it raised the question of "why with this one issue [sexual preferences] do people get so wound up?" You know, people talking about sex or making sex goofy. Why is it so scary for people to be different or loud if they're not beautiful?" I don't know what it's about - John's the director. I have no idea what he's saying [laughter].


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