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Interview: Gisele Bundchen


Queen Latifah / Gisele Bundchen / Jimmy Fallon

Gisele embodies the classic Ďugly duckingí tale that is read to impressionable little girls around the globe, who are hoping to one day evolve into the beautiful swan. While itís 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 ďOlive Oyl.Ē 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 itís a story of limitless hopes, or delusions, depending on whether youíre 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 maleís 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 Victoriaís 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, donít they? But on the contrary, she was extremely down to earth and acted pretty much like a regular person. Well, a regular person thatís probably the hottest person in any room she enters. Here is a glimpse into the mind and life of Gisele:


Iím assuming youíve gotten movie offers in the past. Why did you choose this particular role over the other ones?

Iím a workaholic, and Iíve 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, Iíd just be like, whatever, I donít care about this. But then, Luc Besson was pretty insistent, and he kept calling my agent and being like, ďOh come on, get Gisele to do it! I could make her a Brazilian bank robber so she wouldnít have to lose her accent, I just need her for 2 weeks, we can work around her schedule, etcĒ. At the beginning I wasnít sure if I wanted to do this, but he kept calling, and I decided, why not-- Iím going to have fun. I read the script and thought he was funny. Itís not like I was taking myself so seriously and being like ďOkay, now Iím going to be an actressĒ and doing a Shakespeare movie. I am doing a comedy and itís a funny movie and Iím 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 Iíd done before. I wouldnít say Iím going to quit modeling and become an actress, I cannot even do that because I have contracts, but I definitely enjoyed it. I wouldnít 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 youíre going to take. Iím 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 Iím right for a project then if itís good, Iíll do it again, but Iím 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 didnít 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 didnít really have the time to prepare. Thatís actually another reason why I accepted this part, because I figured sheís a Brazilian robber and I wouldnít have to lose my accent, and I really didnít think the part would be that difficult. I think itís better when youíre natural and you just do whatever you want. Sometimes when people do all these acting classes, I can see them holding back because theyíve been trained to do certain types of skills or techniques. I figure itís a comedy, so even if Iím bad itís going to be funny. I didnít do any type of preparation, because it wasnít that kind of role. Iím 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.

Whatís 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. Iím singing ďI shot the sheriffĒ and then theyíre like, ďAction!Ē Thatís 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?

Theyíre just so funny together. I didnít 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. Theyíre just so funny because they improvise and they say so much stuff thatís not supposed to be said. Iím supposed to be the villain, the mean person, and in the movie Iím not laughing about anything. So Iím going over there in the garage scene and Iím 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, ďDonít laugh, donít laugh, donít laughĒ. 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. Thatís 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. Itís 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 donít think Iím that great, but I think itís 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, theyíre always around, they are nightmare people. Theyíre always bugging everyone. Theyíre so stupid, like when I was frisking Jennifer for the movie on my first day, I had to do my scene in a mini skirtóof course, a bank robber in a mini skirt, and stiletto heels (laughs). So Iím like that, and I saw pictures of that in papers. I was like, I canít 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 theyíd see that, theyíd kick them out, so Iíve 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 donít think anyone likes to see pictures of themselves in the tabloids, besides a couple of people that Iím not going to mention, but Iím definitely not one of those people. Iím 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 theyíre invading your space, and I really hate that. I think itís 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 youíre like, why are they writing about me now? Itís crazy, but itís like, a huge money-making-machine business so I guess theyíre 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, letís 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 wasnít 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, ďGisele, remember, your character is a strong confident woman, sheís taking advantage of anybody and anything, she is reckless.Ē I was like, okay. So I said to Jennifer Esposito, ďIím so sorry, but I have to touch you. Iím sorry, but itís going to happen, heís telling me to and itís my jobĒ so she was like ďNo problem Gisele, itís fineĒ and everyone around was laughing and saying, ďGo, go! frisk her, frisk her!Ē (laughs). So it was funny. I figured Iím 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, ďShe can just be a model because sheís dumb, she cannot do anything elseĒ. Actually, I donít 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 donít look at that as stupid. Iím sure a lot of people at my age, 24, donít have the freedom that I have. Iím 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 thatís not really who I am. Iím not the sexy girl, Iím like the tomboy girl, so I donít even know what theyíre thinking (laughs). But if they believe Iím that, I guess Iím doing a good job doing my job.





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