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INT: Jacinda Barrett

09.27.2006

Jacinda Barrett has found arguably, more success than her other "Real World" alumni. Credit that to some real talent and a very charismatic presence. After a string of recent films, including POSEIDON and THE LAST KISS, she takes on Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Heder in SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS. She plays the sweet Australian girl that all the boys want.

I had a chance to talk with Jacinda when she stopped by The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. Aside from being charming and beautiful with a cute Australian accent, she comes across as a very sweet girl who found Mr. Heder to be just like a brother, and Billy Bob to be a cool dude with a “dirty sense of humor”. Sounds like an interesting trio!

Jacinda Barrett

So was it fun this time to be able to use your Australian accent?

It was. It took a little work for me. Because I’d never done a part where I was Australian, this was the first time so it took some conscious work, because I slip into American, it’s so natural for me when I’m in a movie. And also, the cast is all American so I had to remind myself to be Australian.

Was it your idea?

It, well… yeah, kind of came up at the same time, Todd [Phillips] and I were talking about it the very first time I met him at dinner and he… I don’t know if it was simultaneous but I’d been thinking it and he mentioned it [and it] was like, yeah great. She wasn’t written that way, we just decided to do that, give it a little something.

How was it working with Sarah [Silverman], just the improv value of that?

Sarah’s fun… She’s a lot more… She’s a lot sweeter than you would think by seeing some of her humor. But she was great. I mean, I didn’t actually work with her that many days; it was only like five days or something like that.

What about working with Jon [Heder], this is only his second big film?

Jon is such a sweetheart and has such a strong moral code [with] which he conducts his life, he doesn’t work on Sundays, and you will never hear him swear in a movie, he will never have a drop of coffee or alcohol. And then you’ve got Billy [Bob Thornton], [Laughter] totally cool with the alcohol and the swearing. So, actually for me it was great, I loved being in the center of them, they’re personalities so fitted the roles, what they could bring to it. And, you know… Jon and I had this sort of funny sibling thing going on where I would punch him and be stupid with him and Billy’s such a dirty bugger [Laughter], it’s just fun.

I don’t know if it’s my Australian sensibility, I like that dirty sense of humor. The first day I worked with him we did the scene where we were in the café… and we did his side first and then by the time we came around to my side, you know, now his dialogue is off camera so he can sort of say whatever he wants and so, my final line of the scene was like, “Yeah, that’d be great, I’d like that.” So Billy every time would give me a new sexual position that we could be in [Laugher] some like, filthy thing he could do with his genitalia. And every time I had to say, “Yeah, I’d like that.” [Laughter]

How did you keep that together?

Well, I’d like smile and I’d laugh and ultimately it feeds the comedy because it is light like that and it is carefree and it gives you a spontaneous reaction and the crew loved it. They were with it the whole way and its fun. I love actors that will go off the pages and just have fun with it. He’s one of those guys, he’s so talented. So it was fun.

Jon’s character is a sweet nerd; could you ever be attracted to a guy like that in real life?

Yeah, I could so… yeah, I like those kinds of guys. Not to the point he’s so terrified, he’s hyperventilating and unable to make a move, and it’s a little too much. But I like it when he starts to take risks and get it together, yeah. I don’t mind a guy who sort of is okay with showing you their insecurities. I think that’s okay.

What was it like working in New York?

It was great. I did one movie in New York the beginning of the year, The Namesake, and by the end of the year I was back there doing this. It’s so much fun to shoot in New York because you’re shooting and in between shooting you can just walk out on the street and there’s people everywhere and so much to do, grab a coffee, walk around. It was also, like insanely cold… it was December and it was one a.m. on the river and I was literally turning purple and like we were shaking, I think the next day Todd Phillips got the craziest fever from it; it was so cold out there. But it was great, we shot three weeks there and went back to [Los Angeles], shot the rest in LA.

You have some great tennis skills… [Laughter]

Who did you hear that from? [Laughter]

The director…

Ah, it’s so embarrassing. Before we started they said, “You wanna take some tennis lessons? We’ve got a tennis coach for you.” And I was like, “Nah, I’m great, I play tennis all the time with my husband, and we play at Griffith Park on the weekends. So, I’m cool.” And then when we got to shooting, when we got to shoot. There was a scene obviously where they served the ball over to me; I could not hit the ball back, not once.

Every single time, I got stage fright and I couldn’t hit it. And Todd was like, across the hundred person crew, “Jacinda, all you need to do is hit the ball. Can you do it this time?” [Laughter] And every time, the pressure would be like, this one I got it, this one I got it. And I couldn’t do it. And finally, we were running so behind they took the ball out altogether and then literally we were just, they’d say Jacinda, you’d hit, and then you’d hit nothing and then they put the ball in afterwards with computer graphics.

So what was the order [of movies] you did?

Namesake, Last Kiss, Poseidon, School for Scoundrels.

Okay, so you were ready after Poseidon to go back into comedies then…

Yeah! And Last Kiss isn’t light for me; it is the most dramatic, heavy role I’ve ever done. There are elements in the beginning that were light and there were elements that are funny that come out of the circumstances but my particular role took a lot of emotional pain. So, after I had done that and they came to me with this, when I was on Poseidon I was like, I actually didn’t think I would work but this was a comedy and I wasn’t working everyday and I thought, this is actually going to be fun; go to work and laugh, yeah I could do that.

What are you working on now or going to be working on?

Well, I don’t know right now. I actually am hoping to work, now in the fall and go back to work. I took a bit of time off because I did so many movies back to back and then all this press; especially this month with the two movies [Last Kiss and School for Scoundrels] being on top of each other. So, yeah, and then I have The Namesake coming out next year.

You’ve done so many kinds of films, Poseidon, Last Kiss, this [School for Scoundrels]; what kind of genre do you prefer?

I love character driven dramas. I love stuff where like every single moment is about the behavior, your reactions, and really about watching the story unfold in the mind and the heart of the person on screen. And, I would love to do at some point a comedy where I could push myself more and, you know, I watched Renée [Zellweger] on Bridget [Jones Diary] and she had so much fun doing some of that stuff, I’d love to do that kind of thing. And I would love to do… and I’ve always wanted to do like a period driven drama, a period-piece I should say. Like an Elizabethan drama or like Shakespeare or something like that. I studied that stuff at Oxford and I’ve just always had a love for that kind of literature and those plays, so that would a dream.

Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to jimmy@joblo.com.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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