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INT: Alicia Silverstone

Oct. 9, 2006by: JimmyO

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 Id 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 hadnt read these books before?


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 Riders girlfriend, the love interest [Sarah Bolger] shes lovely, and she asks, Why are you reading that? I said Im trying to be a good student, or something. Shes like, Its the same as the story its 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 dont know, its a great young peoples 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 hes a very famous star in China or Hong Kong. And he created this amazing sequence, but he didnt 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 its 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 doesnt speak English, and I dont speak Chinese, and we both had this amazing relationship, because I really liked him it was like, I love Andy. So Im 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 Missis stunt double too.

So these Asian guys, who are wearing blonde wigs, and for her he had the blonde wig, its just very funny. And theyre 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 didnt want to disappoint the guy; we felt honored to be working with him, and didnt 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 wasnt doing it good enough; ugh, its crushing. And I went over to him, and was like, Oh, were you not happy? And he was like, No, I wasnt even thinking about you. So it was ok. But Im 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 didnt do anything; I treated him like an actor, like try and get through the day and try and be professional. Hes super cute and very playful, so I had to be like, Would you shut up sometimes, youre being very distracting right now. He was adorable, and hes very cute; and I kind of felt that if I did try and talk about real things with him, he didnt want to go there with me. Im a girl, and girls are weird, a little bit; so I just tried to stay away. Sometimes, hed be hes a young kid sometimes, hed be like [makes roar noise]. What is wrong with you right now? Arrr. Hes not going to tell me cause Im a girl; very funny.

Can you talk about your character?

Well, I dont think that my character would have ever asked for that green card. The reason she has to stay in the country is [because] shes the only one who can take care of him; shes his mother. And now, hes lost his parents, hes lost his uncle, he has no one left in the world; if shes not there, hed go to some agency who would take care of him? So I think that shes just the only person left in his life; she loves him, and she would never leave him. But I dont 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 hadnt 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 wed have this Swedish [operator] and shed be naked sunbathing outside, and all the boys thought that was cool I thought that was super cool. Or youd have someone from London, or whatever; lots of times, there are these exchanges that happen. And I think thats what happened to my girl, she went over there thinking itd 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 Im very familiar with it, and it definitely feels like somewhere thats not new to me in a way; Ive 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 Ive heard, You seem more a little more European. But then when Im there, Oh, youre so American. So I cant win; Im somewhere in the middle. I feel very comfortable, I think Im pretty well received; but I dont think they think of me as English, just having English parents.

Was it like second nature shooting this film?

Well, Ive done that too before; I shot Loves Labours 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 arent as cheery and bright, and more isolated, and in cars all the time, they dont 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 theyve figured it out, in the last 15 years, they dont 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 its nice that theyre taking advantage of whats going on -

Cause its going to rain any minute.

Cause its 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 dont know. But what I do think is she has that maternal instinct, and her kids in trouble, and she has to do whatever it takes to help him; and I think thats 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?

Im embarrassed to say, but Ive only seen two; I know Ive 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 couldnt believe thats what we could do with film. The cars could do that, the camera, it was all so shocking to me; Im sure its been going on for 20 years, but I was shocked. It was like, This is amazing, cause I dont watch a lot of television or movies; I try to, but I just dont have the time, thats not what Im doing much.

What about the effects in the Batman movie?

Yeah, but I wasnt really that impressed with that; maybe, because I was in it, or maybe because it wasnt that impressive. But Die Another Day was so slick, and so sharp, and maybe people didnt 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 wasnt there that day, and I was like, that is some scary stuff what they were doing; I cant believe how the camera was moving, and that people would do that with their lives.

Cause every year, I dont know if you know this, but the Isle of Mann, where they shot that, its a little isolated country outside of England, its so small, but its 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 its all intense.

Whats your ideal role?

I dont know, so many different ones. The role that Ive been most inspired by, it was this play, A Dolls House the Ibsen play, Janet McTeer, shes this amazing actress, shes British, shes 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 cant remember when Ibsen was around. But it was written a long-ass time ago; but it was crafted, the psychology behind it was its just like Shakespeare, 500 years ago, this guy was writing so complicated and so specific, that youre amazed, the psychology behind it is just so brilliant. I dont 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 youre saying that. But theres so much time thats 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 thats really weird. I dont know, Id do it, but Im not sure how you would do that character now; and so many people have ripped it off, that I dont know if they did it, Id love to be a part of it, of course. I havent really thought about that girl, or where I was at thats 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 didnt 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 thats 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 Im doing this David Mamet play, and I did a Scottish, and it takes on a whole nother thing, its 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 youre not in the country, you cant really walk around; its just kind of strange, walking around talking like that. And so I havent worked that way, Ive 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 dont think I could have any other conversation, I dont think outside of it cause thats ashamed, cause Id 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 cant remember it, shut. Kevin Bacon, I say to him oh So, yep! And so he says that too so, yep! And I dont know where it came from, but thats what happened.

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