Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Alicia Silverstone v. Lindsay Lo-- Who's Clueless? (Q&A)




















...Lindsay Lohan's recent alcohol-addled run-in with the fuzz (just weeks after getting out of rehab ) got me thinking of other young actresses I've met around town who have managed to NOT get sucked into the meat grinder...One of them is Alicia Silverstone...here's a transcript of an interview with Alicia from last year that I didn't really get to use, it started like this...I thought she was funny in Amy Heckerling's Clueless-- she's also co-starred in features like Batman & Robin, Scooby Doo 2 and TV's Miss Match (gotta get in where you fit in, son)...She was MIA on the film front for the past couple of years, Alicia returned last fall in Operation Stormbreaker portraying the main character's American housekeeper/ nanny, JackStarbright-- even though the film wasn't anything to write home about, I thought she kicked a little Buffy-styled ass with the swords. At the time she was set to star in the mid-season replacement sitcom The Singles Table but it too was first cut from 13 epis, down to six and then it too went away-- NBC replaced it with the reality show Biggest Loser, according to what I've read...ouch, this is one tough fuckin' town...at least she's not in jail; running from the po-po or anything...

CP: Where've you been, what've you been doing?

Alicia Silverstone: Well, this film just came out in England, like a month ago and in like July and August of last year I was filming it.

Q: So what else? Did you take time off to just enjoy being a married woman?

AS: No, I got married and four days later I got on a plane to do the movie. I thought there was going to be time off and then when we were away on our honeymoon, I kept thinking 'I wonder what I'll be doing when I get home, maybe I'll not work for a really long time and I'll just do my garage, clean my house..." but I got off the plane and had to go straight to the shoot.

Q: So what did you do after filming this?

AS: Then I did a play with David Mamet at the Geffen Theater and that was amazing and it was called Boston Marriage, it was with Mary Steenbergen and Rebecca Pidgeon and that was so cool to just to see three girls and [David Mamet] -- it was pure artistic heaven...and then I did a few movies and now I'm here. [laughs]

Q: How did you get involved in Alex Rider?

AS: I got asked to be in it right after I got married and it sounded like it would be a lot of fun because I knew it was gping to be Ewan McGregor, at the time, and Sophie Okonedo -- both of them, I'm a huge fan of, so I thought 'this is awesome.' I didn't even feel like I needed to read the script, I just knew that I wanted to be in the movie with them. But then I did read the script and it just seemed like it would be a lot of fun and my character works with Sophie Okonedo and Bill Nighy a lot, so we were this threesome that really had a great time together. And then I did some other work with Missi Pyle -- we had this big fight scene and that took a while to do. So, she and I got to know each other -- those three people I became really good friends with.

Q: Did you even meet Ewan McGregor?

AS: You know what, I didn't meet him until the premiere but I had dinner with him -- he's lovely! When I met him he was so nice and so great and then I had dinner with him and Sophie and Bill it was great to meet him.

Q: Did the script even have a part for an American to play your role?

AS: When I read it, she was an American -- I don't know how that originated or whatever. I'm pretty sure they always had it in mind that she was American but I may be wrong.

Q: Had everyone else already joined the cast or when did you come in?

AS: The only people that were on it when I joined was Sophie Okonedo and Ewan McGregor. And then when I signed on [over exaggerating] all of these people came -- Mickey Rourke signed on and Bill Nighy and Missi Pyle and it kept growing and it got more and more exciting, it was really cool.

Q: And then how did you train for all the sword play?

AS: We had like an hour [laughs] no, we had a few more hours than that but I showed up and I was like 'what're we going to do about this fight scene? That's a big part of it, it's the most important part of my [role] was like the big fight scene, what's happening?' And they were like 'yeah, you'll have rehearsals, you'll have rehearsals' -- that and [learning] the Japanese. I was like 'when am I going to learn my Japanese and when am I going to do my [fight] rehearsals?' And then we did rehearse [martial arts] with the Chinese action star Donnie Yen -- he showed up and Missi and I were so excited that he was there. He's really impressive and he brought these two guys -- one of them I fell in love with, his name was Andy, he was hilarious, and he would dress up as me because he was my stunt double-- it's sort of funny to have a man, who's Asian being my stunt double because he had this huge blonde wig on and he put butt pads on his bum. And I was like 'hey, ease off on the butt pads, I don't think you need [so much of it].' And he'd be walking around just having so much fun being funny. And for Missi, she had to work opposite Andy because he was playing me [for stunts] -- that must've been very funny because we don't look the same. And sometimes he'd be Missi, he was really all over the place...it was strange when he was her because he'd have black leather on...but the fight scene was awesome, we only rehearsed, I think, for like two days, for a few hours and Missi and I had a really good time doing that. We both took it very seriously because Donnie's a really brilliant [martial arts] choreographer, he's really serious and we really wanted to impress him -- it was horrible when sometimes you could tell that you're not impressing him.

Q: You ever get hurt or anything?

AS: I know we had lots of cuts and bruises but nothing to be concerned about -- it's hard, you know, the adrenaline's going and you only have a certain amount of hours to get [the scene] done, so the pressure's on and you just kind of throw yourself into it. Of course the logical thing to do would be to stretch or to prepare a long time beforehand but none of those things happened so you definitely walk away [feeling like] "ugh, I can't move my legs."

Q: Did your husband hang out on the set while you were shooting?

AS: He could've come on but he doesn't like to come on movie sets, so he didn't come to the set, I think, ever.

Q: Is he in the business too?

AS: He's in a band. The band he's in right now is called Little Wolverine.

Q: What instrument does he play?

AS: He's a singer.

Q: So has married life been exciting for you?

AS: My whole time with him has been exciting, we've been together for a really long time..

Q: In considering your work with animals, you seem like a very caring and gentle person. This role seems like a natural set up.

AS: Yeah, when I was a little girl, I used to carry other people's babies around and say 'my baby' so I think that's the beginning of it all -- I did this with real, live children. [laughs]

Q: Are there a lot more challenges than you anticipated before getting into the married life?

AS: Well I was with my husband a really long time before we got married, so it's been like a long time -- it's not much different. The only thing is that there's a few, simple things that are different. It's like, I call him [my] husband and I always thought I would hate that word -- I really thought that was a horrid word, I just didn't like the sound of it. But now I love the sound of it and I don't know why! Something happened where I just like saying 'my husband.' I like it, I don't know what happened.



























Q: You feel like you've gotten the relationship aspect of your life squared away and now you can focus on your acting career?

AS: I don't think about things like that but I'm sure, naturally, that's the truth...I don't think about 'I've got to get a husband and then I've got to do this,' I just don't work that way. But that would've actually freaked me out if I thought I had to have those things in place -- it just doesn't make any sense to me. But, instead, that's probably because I've been lucky and I had it. I had this really solid relationship for such a long time, there's no drama, I'm not all consumed with madness and mayhem, so I'm able to really just focus on the things that matter. We just love to do yoga together, meditate, grow vegetables in the garden and go on wild, rocky trips and just enjoy being together, really. It definitely alleviates any drama -- I haven't really had any drama in a long time. Been married for like a year too. [laughs]


























Q: Where do you think your love of animals comes from?

AS: I think that every child loves animals and then it's whether it's encouraged or not encouraged [by the parents]. I've never met a little kid, I mean maybe there's a Damien-child somewhere, but I'm pretty sure that most babies and kids love animals...and then we slowly try and distance the children from the animals. We try to teach them that they're our property -- I think, as adults, we do damaging things to the children [psychologically] and usually try to lie to them so that they don't actually face, like, 'oh, that burger is also that cow that you have on your bed [sheets]... I think that if we did tell them the truth they would all arrive at a similar place that I've arrived at. It's been nurtured in the way that my mom, when I was little and with my love of animals, she didn't scoff at that. It was not encouraged entirely because they didn't know how to eat vegetarian, so I don't think they thought like that but in terms of if I was in school and there was a [lost] dog running around on the property, I'd immediately think 'how do I find it's home?' And I'd call my mom and ask her how do I help and she'd either come help me or she didn't have a problem with when I got called by the principal when I'd skipped school because I got this dog. There was no, like, 'you shouldn't have done that.' ...Always, since I was born I've had cats and dogs around me. Which I think is also really good for kids, to be around animals -- they were a part of our family, they were my mom's kids too...they were all a part of our family union and so I think it was a really healthy way to grow up and have respect for life. To not think that you're better than, just sort of work with instead of working against [animals].

Q: Where'd you grow up?

AS: I grew up in the San Francisco area, like the suburbs of San Francisco -- San Mateo and like every year we'd go to England for the summer. My parents are both English, so...

Q: You a vegetarian?

AS: Yeah.

Q: Is your husband a vegetarian?

AS: Yes, we both did it together.

Q: For how long?

AS: About eight and a half years.

Q: Since you're married to a musician, what kind of music are you listening to?

AS: That's such a big question because I love so much but I really, really Etta James and I really love Eartha Kitt and Spearhead, the Stay Human album in particular but I like the Beatles, I like T Rex, David Bowie all that good stuff and I just found this really interesting band called Scribbler which is kind of cool, I found them up in Nova Scotia and they're this really, grungy band that were so good and wild and raw -- I think it's Scribbler, I'm probably saying it wrong. I think they just released and album or something but they're these cute little 20-year olds that are crazy.

Q: Where are your parents from?

AS: My mom was born in Scotland but raised on the Isle of Sheppie, a little suburan place in England and my dad is from Northeast London.

Q: So, when you were out there shooting this, did you visit any of your folks?

AS: Well, my parents were there while I was there, so that really worked out. I got to spend a lot of time with my family. When I was little my mom and I used to go on little walks through these really romantic places for me to be with my mom from when I was a baby until I was like 12. Every summer I would go with them and spend such quality time together. Her and I, getting into mischief, walking through the cobbled streets, it was so lovely -- so I was really lucky that she was around when I was doing the movie...One day I was in my hotel and she just showed up and [although] I knew they were there and she said she'd come over sometime that day but it was just so cool that she'd gotten on the tube, come over to see me -- it was such a nice feeling that that could happen. That can't happen [in LA].

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