Interview: Gisele Bundchen
Queen Latifah / Gisele Bundchen / Jimmy Fallon
Gisele embodies the classic ugly ducking tale that is read to impressionable little girls around the globe, who are hoping to one day evolve into the beautiful swan. While its hard to imagine someone as gorgeous as Gisele ever being ridiculed for her looks, as it turns out, she was mocked and belittled in grade school. Awkwardly tall and lanky, her classmates taunted her with the nickname Olive Oyl. That is, until at the age of 14, when she was discovered by a modeling scout and turned into the glamour-girl phenomenon she is today. But its a story of limitless hopes, or delusions, depending on whether youre an optimist or a pessimist. Just think, maybe one day Dawn from Welcome to the Dollhouse would find herself in a glorious strut upon a runway and playing the starring role in every males fantasy. Hard to fathom, but hey, you never know.
In her first movie role in TAXI, Gisele plays the leader of a gang of Brazilian bank robbers, being chased around town by cops and cab drivers on a mission. While she had a great time on set, she has no plans to abandon the Victorias Secret catalogs and make a dash for a career on the big screen. Before I met her, I was under the impression that she was a snobby diva who thought the world revolved around her. The tabloids paint such lovely images of celebrities, dont they? But on the contrary, she was extremely down to earth and acted pretty much like a regular person. Well, a regular person thats probably the hottest person in any room she enters. Here is a glimpse into the mind and life of Gisele:
Im assuming youve gotten movie offers in the past. Why did you choose this particular role over the other ones?
Im a workaholic, and Ive been doing my job for a long time and I never really thought about being an actress or anything like that. I was always a bit scared as well, because you know the stigma about models becoming actresses and all that stuff. I would never really be picking seriously anything, Id just be like, whatever, I dont care about this. But then, Luc Besson was pretty insistent, and he kept calling my agent and being like, Oh come on, get Gisele to do it! I could make her a Brazilian bank robber so she wouldnt have to lose her accent, I just need her for 2 weeks, we can work around her schedule, etc. At the beginning I wasnt sure if I wanted to do this, but he kept calling, and I decided, why not-- Im going to have fun. I read the script and thought he was funny. Its not like I was taking myself so seriously and being like Okay, now Im going to be an actress and doing a Shakespeare movie. I am doing a comedy and its a funny movie and Im not caring about myself. So I said why not, and I had a blast. I was very pleased to do it, because it was a different experience for me.
Do you have any desire to do more acting?
You know, I think it was very exciting, and definitely something different than Id done before. I wouldnt say Im going to quit modeling and become an actress, I cannot even do that because I have contracts, but I definitely enjoyed it. I wouldnt call myself an actress but I believe in taking chances and living your life. Sometimes doors open, sometimes doors close, and you have to kind of figure out which one youre going to take. Im always someone who likes a challenge and to see how far I can push and where I can go, because that I think is when you really live your life to the fullest. If I do a job and somebody thinks Im right for a project then if its good, Ill do it again, but Im not going to drop my job and become an actress or anything like that.
What did you do to prepare for the role?
To be honest with you, I didnt do any preparation, because I was actually working the day before. I was in Ibiza shooting for 5 days before I actually got to New York, so I didnt really have the time to prepare. Thats actually another reason why I accepted this part, because I figured shes a Brazilian robber and I wouldnt have to lose my accent, and I really didnt think the part would be that difficult. I think its better when youre natural and you just do whatever you want. Sometimes when people do all these acting classes, I can see them holding back because theyve been trained to do certain types of skills or techniques. I figure its a comedy, so even if Im bad its going to be funny. I didnt do any type of preparation, because it wasnt that kind of role. Im sure when you do a real serious role or have to lose your accent or become really like a depressing person or whatever, I guess you really have to get into it and study. But that was not the case with this movie. I just wanted to have fun and I was pretty relaxed about it.
Whats the most fun you had while shooting this film?
The most fun is when I got to drive a car at 80 mph on a turn. I had to convince Tim to please let me do something, so that was fun. The girls who were bank robbers were very nice and they had all done movies before, so I was asking them questions. Everyone was concentrating on their characters, thinking and breathing, and I was having a blast. Im singing I shot the sheriff and then theyre like, Action! Thats kind of how I went through the whole movie. Every day was like a party to me.
What were the funniest things you saw Fallon and Latifah do on set?
Theyre just so funny together. I didnt have the privilege to work with them the whole time, because there were a lot more scenes in the movie than the ones we did together. Theyre just so funny because they improvise and they say so much stuff thats not supposed to be said. Im supposed to be the villain, the mean person, and in the movie Im not laughing about anything. So Im going over there in the garage scene and Im trying to be all serious and tough because I just captured them, and I go there and Jimmy and Latifah are cracking up laughing. I kept telling myself, Dont laugh, dont laugh, dont laugh. Jimmy is just crazy, he starts talking about crazy things in the middle of a scene and you cannot hold yourself. He is really a comedy show himself. He is such a sweet guy and he was a pleasure to work with. I shot 10-12 days total, on and off, so in a way I was paying visits to the set.
Is it true that you once wanted to be a professional volleyball player?
Oh yes, I trained, that was my passion. Thats one of the biggest sports in Brazil after soccer. I love volleyball. Until I was 14, which was when I left home, my dream was to be either a volleyball player or a veterinarian because I love animals-- I have so many. I used to train 4 hours a day. Even today, after 10 years, when I go to Los Angeles and have the weekend off or something, I go play on the beach. Its still kind of hard for people to beat me. I love volleyball, I just love it, and it makes me feel good.
You should do a volleyball movie.
I know! (laughs). Hello, people! No, but I dont think Im that great, but I think its like riding a bicycle-- you can kind of go back if you train again. I need to get some cardiovascular action over here.
While you were filming, did you have any problems with the paparazzi? Were they on set trying to take unsolicited pictures of you?
Oh yes, theyre always around, they are nightmare people. Theyre always bugging everyone. Theyre so stupid, like when I was frisking Jennifer for the movie on my first day, I had to do my scene in a mini skirtof course, a bank robber in a mini skirt, and stiletto heels (laughs). So Im like that, and I saw pictures of that in papers. I was like, I cant believe those jerks, of course they have to be taking pictures behind me! I was so pissed. Everyone on the set was really nice and very protective and sweet to me, so if theyd see that, theyd kick them out, so Ive been pretty lucky. They were a great cast and they were very nice and made me feel very comfortable. Besides those paparazzi people, everyone else was great.
Have you gotten used to seeing your pictures appear in the tabloids?
I mean, I dont think anyone likes to see pictures of themselves in the tabloids, besides a couple of people that Im not going to mention, but Im definitely not one of those people. Im a very private person, I like staying home, and I like doing my own thing. I hate people invading my privacy, and I hate talking about my private life. So you almost feel like theyre invading your space, and I really hate that. I think its very disrespectful and I think they should have a law against that, because they interfere with your life and they make up so many lies about you and youre like, why are they writing about me now? Its crazy, but its like, a huge money-making-machine business so I guess theyre not going to ever stop.
You mentioned that you shot the frisking scene on the first day of shooting. Was that a funny experience? It was an entertaining scene, and it went on for a long time.
Of course it was long! The producers are probably thinking, what are men going to like? Oh yeah, 2 girls touching themselves, great, lets do that! (laughs). No, I was actually a little embarrassed. I mean it was my first scene on my first day-- they could have started me doing something easier, like driving. But they started with that, which wasnt so bad because it kind of set the pace and made me very comfortable afterwards. In the beginning I was barely touching her and then Tim was like, Gisele, remember, your character is a strong confident woman, shes taking advantage of anybody and anything, she is reckless. I was like, okay. So I said to Jennifer Esposito, Im so sorry, but I have to touch you. Im sorry, but its going to happen, hes telling me to and its my job so she was like No problem Gisele, its fine and everyone around was laughing and saying, Go, go! frisk her, frisk her! (laughs). So it was funny. I figured Im never going to do that again, you know, frisk another woman, so might as well do it now. That was my character, not me. I would never do that-- I love men way too much to be frisking women.
So much has been written about you in the press. Is there anything you want the public to know about who you really are?
I think people have a different image of me than what is true. People tend to think models are stupid or say things like, She can just be a model because shes dumb, she cannot do anything else. Actually, I dont think of myself as that because I was someone who was 14 years old and got an opportunity to do a job where I could make money and help my family financially, while most people are in school. I did the job and luckily I was successful in it. I dont look at that as stupid. Im sure a lot of people at my age, 24, dont have the freedom that I have. Im very interested in charity and I help a lot of different charities. I just think that people portray me as the dumb sexy Victoria Secret model, and thats not really who I am. Im not the sexy girl, Im like the tomboy girl, so I dont even know what theyre thinking (laughs). But if they believe Im that, I guess Im doing a good job doing my job.
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