INT: Down With Love #1
I was never really much of a fan of Renee Zellweger as a person. I absolutely LOVED her in JERRY MAGUIRE, but beyond that, I was never much of a fan of her work. Part of that was her off-screen persona with those squinty eyes and sourpuss face. But when she walked into that New York hotel room it was like I was meeting someone else. Her eyes were wide open and a big smile was draped across her face. Nothing at all like the person you see in People Magazine. She was extremely gracious, very funny, cute, charming, cute, talkative yet shy,...did I say cute? Damn was she cute. Here's what she had to say about DOWN WITH LOVE.
You had come off CHICAGO and Ewan had come off MOULIN ROUGE, both very stylized musicals. Did that help your chemistry at all?
Well, I like Ewan. Ewan and I have been friends for a long time and I've been his fan for even longer. We were like school kids every day. Dumb, like clapping our hands after every scene. It was dumb. We were literally like little kids at recess. It's hysterical. We laughed SO much that probably had more to do with it. The shared experiences in musicals made dance rehearsal less lengthy I'm sure. And of course we both have a great love for it so we enjoyed that very much. We both just have a great love for the dancing and the musicality of it and there is a lot of that even in the scenes where it's not blatant, everything is very choreographed. Everything. So yeah. I'm sure it does help, us both having an appreciation of it.
This weekend on TV, Cameron Crowe was talking about JERRY MAGUIRE and he said you and he would sit down after filming and say "Could you believe we're filming this $60 million movie with Tom Cruise?" Do you still think things like that when you're doing movies like this?
All the time. All. The. Time. Do you believe your life? Do you BELIEVE your life?! Still every day. I have Imposter Syndrome. It still freaks me out when I'm at the store and I get [starts squinting eyes]..."you ARE Renee Zellweger." That is the weirdest thing to me. Never, never, never, never, never get used to that.
Do you ever deny it?
To the person who asked or to yourself?
[Laughs] That's a funny question. No I never deny it but if they say, "You look just like that actress, did anyone ever tell you that?" "Every day." [Laughs.]
Is there a point now where you feel pressure signing on to a movie? That you have to live up to people's expectations?
How do you avoid it?
I don't really. I don't think it's something I'm really cognizant of. It's an interesting question because I don't think about that I'm not thinking about those things until you ask it. So I'm glad that you ask it. Because I go, that's something I never think about and that's a good thing. I'm not really...it's not about that. I'm not really aware of people's perceptions of what my life has going on. It's about [puts fingers close together] this big. It's not all that other stuff. That other stuff just comes with the job.
Were you a fan of Doris Day before you did this film?
Your performance is such a tribute to her in a way. We were talking about how she went out of fashion in a way because people talk about Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe but you don't hear when they talk about Doris Day in the same way, even though she was the biggest, financially, actress of her time.
Oh yeah, she's representative of the era. Her time's coming. It comes around and around. She represents that era, that genre of filmmaking. She's sort of the paradigm of the ingenue, of the girl....of the movie star. I think she's great. I'm cinematically ignorant - but I'm working on that - so I wasn't really exposed to the work she had done except pretty recently. High school and college I started to watch these films and love them. I loved the heightened sense of reality, the energy, the tension between the guy and the girl. I love that she's smart.
She plays the fun-loving, warm, pretty girl but she's smart. And that's evident in what she's doing. I love it cause it's very progressive for the time. I was watching these films again and Peyton and I were talking about how imaginative they are. From the credit sequences and how they kind of drip onto the screen to where "The End" pops up from somewhere and you don't want it to. It has this allure that's captivating. And you want to stay there and watch these films. They're fun. Fun is good!
This film is counter-programming to the big summer action movie but do you ever see yourself starring in one of those big-budget summer action blockbusters?
I don't think about that really. I don't think about it in terms of genre or what I do with something. It's more organic than that. It just sort of happens. They come along. I don't think about it in terms of scope, in terms of how we classify it or what the end result will be, but more about the project itself and what experience it will offer me. What will I learn?, How will I grow?
How did you pick this project?
It fit in my life in a big way. It made me laugh. I loved this script. It was so smart. I had to read it a few times cause there are so many things that you miss the first time that you catch the second time around. I loved the little play on words, the double entendre. And it's quick. It's like a Cadillac. It doesn't stop. If you didn't notice it the first time, you'll notice it the second time. Or the third time. There were certain things I can't even tell you, but like plays on words that pay homage to certain film titles to actors in the text where the sentences, when you break them down, are saying the person's name. You are saying the particular reference that is being used in that scene. It's unbelievable.
You get your twenty-layer chocolate cake and then you put seven more on top and a cherry. It was so smart, it was a romantic-comedy without doing a romantic-comedy. Because it's kinda like "the guy gets a girl and the scenario's different and the job is different and the setting is different but everything else is the same." Why? Why do that? The classic boy-meets-girl romance scenario in film is a wonderful thing. I love it. I love to see it differently. I want it to be imaginative and unique. I don't want to make the boy-meets-girl movie that just got made cause why make another one when we just had twenty. This is so far away from that simply by not only it's setting but it's stylized filmmaking. It's making a movie in a different way.
It was a gift as an actor. To drive down hills in Hollywood and go to the designated stages and use the film technology of the day and the "hi-tech" and "special effects" and the film stock. To be right there on [Lucille Ball's] stage shooting like Lucy shot every day. I mean trees on wheels. It was amazing for an actor to have that experience. Cause I really did every day. Except maybe for air conditioning in the dressing room. To the glued on eyelashes, to the shoes, to the backdrops, to the cheesy effects that elevate the energy and give it a heightened sense of reality that is so fun in that period of time...I loved it. I loved it. And I love watching it. I laugh so hard! David Hyde-Pierce...Sarah Paulson...Ewan who is so unique and unpredictable. How about David Hyde-Pierce coming in with those lifts in his shoes. That wasn't in the script. The joke is over but he's standing there with the lifts in his shoes. That's funny. What's funnier and there's this tilt coming across the room. I almost died. Almost ruined the shot...
Have you been more successful in your own love life recently?
Me? I don't have time. I've had no time. But things are starting to slow down a little bit so I'm starting to reconnect with my friends. It was my birthday last week--
--Thank you very much. Thank you very much. It's still going! Birthday week... I've had time to go and do things that matter to me a lot. So I'm thinking we'll see what happens. I'm not searching. Not going fishing... But that resides in that world where you're not running around.
I read you're uprooting from Los Angeles. Could you talk about your decision to leave?
Well that's been postponed a bit... But I wanted to leave Los Angeles because I felt I had a really great run there. I always found it a difficult transition to make when I came there from where there's easy access to the water for my dog and myself where it's healthy and recreational and clean air. Things you don't get a lot of in Los Angeles. I thought I wanted my life to be more in sync with the environment I'm living in. Where there's something different in me now. There's a real period of change. I thought a new environment would be really good for that.
Be exposed to new kind of people who work in new kinds of fields. Learning new things not just on the set all day. I love Los Angeles. But it's very lonely. There's not a lot of interaction that occurs because you're in your car next to somebody else. It's a pretty homogenous in terms of what type of business and industry is ubiquitous of that area. It's time for something new...It'll be nice to get some seasons in there. The ones that I love. Fall... Go some place where I can walk my dog, who can't ride in the car, to the beach.
What's the holdup? You said there was a snag?
Yeah there was a snag. When an international publication publishes a big color photo of your house and the address where it is and you're alone with your cat and dog in a community with not a lot of people, it's kinda...sad. Cause I can't imagine how it serves the periodical as much as it takes from my life. So I have to wait a while to see what I can do. It's just a sad reality. But that's just yucky. I heard the address was on the internet somewhere...
On a lighter note, can you talk about your one-take monologue? That was great, how did you prepare for that?
Thank you. It was a few takes. A couple weeks before it was coming I started to have lunch by myself. I always bring my script but this was when I sequestered myself to make sure that when it was time to go in I'd be familiar with it so that I would understand all of it. All the opportunities to communicate different things in different ways. I wanted to be in there instead of just spitting it out just to get it out. I can't tell you enough how grateful a girl can be to have Ewan McGregor standing right there when you do something like that. Cause he's not just watching. He's actively giving. I can't express how generous a thing that was to do. And he did it and he made it comfortable and easy.
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