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INT: Alicia Silverstone

10.09.2006

We all know Alicia Silverstone from CLUELESS, THE CRUSH and, of course, all those Aerosmith videos. She started young and has found a way to continue to work without constantly being in the spotlight. And now she is back playing a girl named Jack in ALEX RIDER: OPERATION STORMBREAKER.

When I met with her at The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills recently, she came across much less like any of the characters I’d seen her play before. She was very open and she seemed to be a really nice person who is still cute as hell. She spoke about her character and about working with her fellow cast.

Alicia Silverstone

So you hadn’t read these books before?

No.

Did you read them after getting the part?

No; well I was trying to read them while I was on set, and the girl who plays Alex Rider’s girlfriend, the love interest [Sarah Bolger] – she’s lovely, and she asks, ‘Why are you reading that?’ I said ‘I’m trying to be a good student,’ or something. She’s like, ‘It’s the same as the story… it’s the same as the script.’ And I was like, ‘Ok, thanks.’

What about the other books?

I guess; there were other things I was reading at the time. I don’t know, it’s a great young people’s book. Have you guys read the books?

No. So how was the fight between you and Missi [Pyle]?

It took so much, because the choreographer is this really, really – I think he’s a very famous star in China or Hong Kong. And he created this amazing sequence, but he didn’t – as most artists have this tendency – did not think of the actual execution of it. So Geoffrey, the director, and us – we were thinking this is going to be like 3 million shots, because it’s here, there, and everywhere. So we did have a day and half set aside for it, but we ended up making it another day; so it ended up being about two days and a half total.

But some things were done at the beginning, and some was tacked on at the end. But it was really hilarious - he brought two Chinese guys with him as part of his team; one of the guys, his English name was Andy. He doesn’t speak English, and I don’t speak Chinese, and we both had this amazing relationship, because I really liked him – it was like, ‘I love Andy.’ So I’m following him around, because I wanted to match his shots, and the way he moved, it was just so impressive to me. And so everything, I would say, ‘Do it for me, [because] I want to copy you.’ And he would dress up, he was my stunt double; sometimes he was Missi’s stunt double too.

So these Asian guys, who are wearing blonde wigs, and for her he had the blonde wig, it’s just very funny. And they’re men, usually you have a female stunt double, who sort of looks like you; in this case, it was a man and he was Chinese. It was hilarious, and lovely; they were such nice guys. And that whole thing, that was a really fun time. Missi and I both didn’t want to disappoint the guy; we felt honored to be working with him, and didn’t want to – you have this thing where you really want to do a good job, and respect something.

Sometimes, you would see his face – and I could tell how he was so disappointed with me, like I wasn’t doing it good enough; ugh, it’s crushing. And I went over to him, and was like, ‘Oh, were you not happy?’ And he was like, ‘No, I wasn’t even thinking about you.’ So it was ok. But I’m like, ‘The camera is on me, and you just said cut, are you sure.’ But I think they were just stressed because of time.

What was it like working with Alex [Pettyfer]?

I just sort of just didn’t do anything; I treated him like an actor, like try and get through the day and try and be professional. He’s super cute and very playful, so I had to be like, ‘Would you shut up’ sometimes, ‘you’re being very distracting right now.’ He was adorable, and he’s very cute; and I kind of felt that if I did try and talk about real things with him, he didn’t want to go there with me. I’m a girl, and girls are weird, a little bit; so I just tried to stay away. Sometimes, he’d be – he’s a young kid… sometimes, he’d be like ‘[makes roar noise].’ ‘What is wrong with you right now?’ ‘Arrr.’ He’s not going to tell me cause I’m a girl; very funny.

Can you talk about your character?

Well, I don’t think that my character would have ever asked for that green card. The reason she has to stay in the country is [because] she’s the only one who can take care of him; she’s his mother. And now, he’s lost his parents, he’s lost his uncle, he has no one left in the world; if she’s not there, he’d go to some agency – who would take care of him? So I think that she’s just the only person left in his life; she loves him, and she would never leave him. But I don’t think she imagined that would be her responsibility for the rest of her life; she just thought she was the nanny, but she fell – I think you fall in love with the kid, she just loved him, and she was never going to leave him anyway even if the parents hadn’t have died.

She was always going to be in his life forever, and she was just his nanny, [because] they needed a nanny. I like to think about when I was little, there were a lot of people in my life that had come over from Sweden or London; my mom was a flight attendant so she was gone a lot, and my dad was very, very busy in his job. So the two of them together, we needed people to take care of us sometimes, too; so we’d have this Swedish [operator] and she’d be naked sunbathing outside, and all the boys thought that was cool – I thought that was super cool. Or you’d have someone from London, or whatever; lots of times, there are these exchanges that happen. And I think that’s what happened to my girl, she went over there thinking it’d be a nice idea and she never left; she got stuck there.

Did you grow up in England?

Not really, but kind of; I never lived over there so long. But I went over there for two months at a time every year, for the summers. So I’m very familiar with it, and it definitely feels like somewhere that’s not new to me in a way; I’ve been going my whole life.

You got a pretty good reception there at the premiere?

For the movie, yeah; I think people really liked it. I think they probably – sometimes people think I sound more – sometimes I’ve heard, ‘You seem more a little more European.’ But then when I’m there, ‘Oh, you’re so American.’ So I can’t win; I’m somewhere in the middle. I feel very comfortable, I think I’m pretty well received; but I don’t think they think of me as English, just having English parents.

Was it like second nature shooting this film?

Well, I’ve done that too before; I shot Love’s Labour’s Lost there and – yeah, I love it there. But it was the summer time; London in the summer time is really, really, really amazing, and very confusing [because] it makes you think you want to live there forever. This is beautiful, and people are happy, and they appreciate their lives so much. The one thing you get spoiled about, especially in Los Angeles, for many different reasons; people aren’t as cheery and bright, and more isolated, and in cars all the time, they don’t interact all the time with other human beings.

But when you go somewhere where they have seasons, like real seasons – and we get it here too, a little, and I appreciated it; but they get so psyched, and people are so civilized. And it used to be when I was little, in the summer time, they would get – if the sun came out in England, everyone would turn bright red, and they were like lobsters, they really looked silly; I thought I was always so silly. But now, I think they’ve figured it out, in the last 15 years, they don’t turn into lobsters as much; people just go to the park.

When I was at in London doing press, I went on a morning walk in the park with Bill [Nighy], and another time with Sophie [Okonedo] – there were these couples holding hands and laying on each other, and being intimate with each other. It was just really lovely, and they have such appreciation for that, and their life, and it’s nice that they’re taking advantage of what’s going on -

Cause it’s going to rain any minute.

Cause it’s going to rain any minute.

Do you think your character would have had training much like Alex Rider?

Well I think I was more like her – maybe, maybe in the next episode that will come out, I don’t know. But what I do think is she has that maternal instinct, and her kid’s in trouble, and she has to do whatever it takes to help him; and I think that’s really what kicks in. She gets to be really eccentric at the beginning, and then she has to be ‘parent’ and ‘get kid, get kid.’ And I liked that about her.

Are you a James Bond fan?

I’m embarrassed to say, but I’ve only seen two; I know I’ve seen one of the old ones a while ago, and then I saw the one with all the ice, the snow, the newer one –

Die Another Day.

Yes, because I remember it had Madonna in it. And I was one of these surprised movie goers, and I saw that thing and I couldn’t believe that’s what we could do with film. The cars could do that, the camera, it was all so shocking to me; I’m sure it’s been going on for 20 years, but I was shocked. It was like, ‘This is amazing,’ cause I don’t watch a lot of television or movies; I try to, but I just don’t have the time, that’s not what I’m doing much.

What about the effects in the Batman movie?

Yeah, but I wasn’t really that impressed with that; maybe, because I was in it, or maybe because it wasn’t that impressive. But Die Another Day was so slick, and so sharp, and maybe people didn’t even like it, who knows; but I was just impressed. And I was also impressed with this, that motorcycle chase; I was like, ‘What!’ [Because] I wasn’t there that day, and I was like, that is some scary stuff what they were doing; I can’t believe how the camera was moving, and that people would do that with their lives.

Cause every year, I don’t know if you know this, but the Isle of Mann, where they shot that, it’s a little isolated country outside of England, it’s so small, but it’s called the Isle of Mann – they have this annual thing, they have this huge motorcycle race, and these people are insane, people die all the time cause the roads are so narrow – you saw how sharp, and it’s all intense.

What’s your ideal role?

I don’t know, so many different ones. The role that I’ve been most inspired by, it was this play, ‘A Doll’s House’ – the Ibsen play, Janet McTeer, she’s this amazing actress, she’s British, she’s also a film actress; but I saw it on Broadway, and it was so amazing, and the role – I was so amazed – it was written 300 years ago, 100 years ago – I can’t remember when Ibsen was around. But it was written a long-ass time ago; but it was crafted, the psychology behind it was – it’s just like Shakespeare, 500 years ago, this guy was writing so complicated and so specific, that you’re amazed, the psychology behind it is just so brilliant. I don’t know, there are so many great writers out there, and great old material; but that role really inspired me, and it was really, really, really impressive.

Is there ever a possibility of a Clueless 2?

I feel like I had a weird dream about that, really strange; I do, I think I had a weird dream about Amy Heckerling last night, now that you’re saying that. But there’s so much time that’s gone by – oh my gosh, I really did, I had a dream about it; I was doing a movie with Amy and I was like, ‘Are you sure this is Clueless 2, cause it was so long ago?’ But that’s really weird. I don’t know, I’d do it, but I’m not sure how you would do that character now; and so many people have ripped it off, that I don’t know – if they did it, I’d love to be a part of it, of course. I haven’t really thought about that girl, or where I was at – that’s a long time ago.

What about the mainstream culture from that film?

No, I notice there are words that I had never had heard – people didn’t used to say ‘as if’ or ‘whatever’ in that way; they used to say it in Valley, but it was a different ‘whatever,’ but it was a different thing.

The tone –

Yeah, it came out different, so I hear those words; and I hear the word ‘clueless’ and I had never heard the word ‘clueless’ before Clueless. Those are mainstream words I hear adults saying all the time, and that’s kind of freaky.

You did a great job in Beauty Shop; did you have to do any voice lessons [for her dialect]?

I worked on it a lot, cause I really wanted it to be specific; and being so specific, it was nice and broad, the accent was really – I was copying this exact person from Blue Ridge, Georgia, this guy. So I listened to a few voices and – not the voice, the accent, which accent I liked; and I had to speed him up, cause he talked in slow motion, it would have taken forever to get the words out. But we sped it up, and I worked on it with a dialect coach.

Do you enjoy doing that?

I really, really do; it takes on a whole nother thing. Once you do a different dialect – I’m doing this David Mamet play, and I did a Scottish, and it takes on a whole nother thing, it’s so much fun.

Is it hard to drop?

No, [because] I never really learned, I always thought the idea was to learn how to speak that language entirely so you could walk around talking that way; and ideally, that would be perfect. But if you’re not in the country, you can’t really walk around; it’s just kind of strange, walking around talking like that. And so I haven’t worked that way, I’ve just learned my lines; I know how to speak perfect Scottish in Mamet, and I know how to do a – I can do a full thing for you now, but I don’t think I could have any other conversation, I don’t think outside of it – cause that’s ashamed, cause I’d like to be more well versed in it. I know all my lines exactly; one of the lines from Beauty Shop that my husband likes to repeat to me – he says it a lot – now, I can’t remember it, shut. Kevin Bacon, I say to him – oh – ‘So, yep!’ And so he says that too – ‘so, yep!’ And I don’t know where it came from, but that’s what happened.

Let me know what you think. Send questions or comments to jimmyo@joblo.com.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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