gotta hand it to Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, they both
have very good taste in the women they cast
Salma Hayek anyone (JoBlos
true love). And with GRINDHOUSE,
they give us a bountiful bouquet of beauties.
Two of which are the lovely and talented Sydney Tamiia
Poitier and Mary Elizabeth Winstead who appear in Tarantinos
DEATH PROOF. Ms. Winstead of
course, is no stranger to genre including appearances in BLACK
CHRISTMAS (an unnecessary remake
sorry Mary) and FINAL
DESTINATION 3. As for
these two lovely ladies (who are both very tall) came to chat
GRINDHOUSE at the Four Seasons in
And in case you were unaware, Sydney spoke of her father Sidney Poitier, one of the great actors of our time and how he fought to NOT do the so-called blaxploitation movies. She talked of him seeing the movie with her and was curious to see his reaction to the film I would like to hear that conversation. But in my humble opinion, she has nothing to worry about. Her work is terrific and she was able to make Jungle Julia a full, fleshed out character that should make her father proud and she looked uber hot too. As for Mary Elizabeth, she gives quite a show and is adorable in her cheerleading outfit. Read on for more about GRINDHOUSE.
|Mary Elizabeth Winstead||Sydney Tamiia Poitier|
Poitier & Winstead: Good Morning.
Now Sydney, you dont have your middle name in billing It just says Sydney Poitier.
SP: I should. I dont know why but
Somebody said to me that they thought it was going to be your father in the movie.
And I said, well, no.
SP: He had a sex change. [Laughing]
What was it like working with Quentin on this? Is he the strangest or most fun director ?
MW: The most fun by far. I mean, everyday on the set, it didnt feel like work. It was like being at some amazing party that never ends. From the morning, everybodys laughing, having fun. In between set-ups and going back and forth from your trailer were all dancing and listening to music on the set. You know, I dont think I saw my trailer once in this entire production. And then, as soon as we wrapped for the day, everyone was like, whatll we do now?, where do we go? [Laughing] It was just amazing and I dont think theres any other experience to come close to it.
Mary, you worked with Zoe [Bell] who this is kind of her first big role. How did you make her feel comfortable getting into the ?
MW: I think we just sort of we got to know her really well before we even started shooting, which was great. She has the most amazing personality and shes perfect to be an on-screen persona because she is just so great to be around and to watch. So we were all really confidant in her, I think, and we didnt try to give her pointers or tell her how to act or anything like that, which I think she appreciated. We just kind of let her in to be a part of the group and made her feel at home, which was the most important thing.
Were you both fans of grindhouse movies or has that come from making the film?
MW: I didnt know what the term grindhouse was before I got the film. Once I learned what the term was and I had the film I knew I had seen some of them. I wouldnt say I was a fan per say, I sort of was vaguely aware of the genre. I have become a fan because of it; I have a different view of it. Certainly, Quentin makes you see it through his eyes and you start to see it in a whole other light and hes shown us some stuff, and now when Im cruising my NetFlix or the video store, I stop on those ones that Im like, oh, Switchblade Sisters, that sounds good. [Laughing]
I spent a lot of time in Austin before shooting this movie and my favorite place in the world is the Alamo Drafthouse which shows a lot of really cool movies and exploitation films, and they have these free midnight showing and was always my favorite thing to do, rather than going out on a Friday night, I would wanna go to the Alamo Drafthouse. So I knew a bit through that. I was really excited because its like an energy unlike anything else when you go to those movie theatres. Its packed and everybodys having the best time and laughing and yelling at the screen and so I was really excited to be a part of something like this.
What did you dig the most out of all the movies?
MW: I love them all. I saw some crazy horror films, I saw blaxpoitation, which were really fun and I think its something we are missing in cinema today. Now weve got these assembly line films that are all kind of the same and we know the formula theyre going to follow. And with those it could be dialogue through the whole thing and all of a sudden something completely ridiculous happens.
Sydney, your dad never had to do any of those, did he? Did you talk to him about it?
SP: No, you know, its interesting because when he was coming up, he was one of the very few black actors working and it was at a time when the country was really racially charged, and the black man was portrayed in a certain way. So my dad had this opportunity to you know, he always talks about social responsibility, he always thought that he had a social responsibility to portray black men in a completely different light.
So he didnt have to do Blacula and things like that?
SP: He wouldnt, is more what I should say. For him it was a really conscious choice because he had been given this sort of opportunity to show a much more multi-faceted African-American man, and play roles that werent even necessarily written for African-American men, so for him, that was his path. So he chose not to do that kind of stuff.
And by the time the blaxploitation came out in the Seventies, he was already an Oscar winning, established actor.
SP: Yeah, exactly.
Is he gonna see this with you?
SP: Yeah. [Excitedly] Hes gonna be there on Monday night [at the premiere].
What do you think he is going to think?
SP: I think hes gonna like it. I mean, hes a Quentin fan. Hes not really a fan of violence per say, but loves Pulp Fiction which is really violent. If its done in a certain way, if it has sort of like an artistic feel to it, which Quentins movies always do, and if it kind of is organic with the characters in the story, hes into it. So hes really excited that Im doing this film and hell be there. Im curious to see what he thinks. Im more worried about what hes gonna think about Roberts [Rodriguez] than Quentins. [Laughing]
Have you ever talked about doing a project together?
SP: Yeah, weve talked about it. We actually did one thing together about ten years ago, a Showtime film and we had the best time working together. Hes on to other things. They dont make parts that are interesting to him anymore.
I wanted to ask Jungle Julia [Sydneys character in Grindhouse] is she a bitch? Do you see her as a tough chick who is kind of mean?
SP: I wouldnt say shes mean Bitch? Yes. But in my opinion, in a good way; what she is shes unapologetic about who she is. Shes very hedonistic, shes slightly narcissistic. She wants what she wants, she likes to say what she feels and she doesnt really worry about what other people are gonna think. She lives her life very unapologetically and for that I really admire her and I think a lot of people will probably hate her for that. But you kind of have to love her for that, because its kind of something that a lot of people dont give themselves permission to do. People always sort of you know, youve got to be polite or you do this or that Jungle Julia has none of that. You know, life is to be lived, its to have fun, its to enjoy and she does fully.
Anything like you?
No. Not really. I mean, I have it in me obviously; I couldnt play her if I didnt and I think we all have everything in us for the most part. But to give myself permission to be more like that, to sort of allow myself to be free and to be bitchy. To be more about whatever it was that I wanted playing that character was a huge joy to me. It was fun.
Mary, regarding your cheerleader, did you base your actress character on somebody in particular?
MW: I didnt base it on anyone specific; I think shes kind of a combination of a lot of people Ive known in my life. But she was so fun. And whats interesting is that apparently, a lot of the people that auditioned, played her as like a really annoying, bitchy, stupid actress and I kind of saw her as someone that is loveable and naïve and so I think it was kind of funny that people took her that way on the page. I tried to bring a few more endearing qualities to her.
Do the two of you have anything else coming out after this?
MW: Yeah, I have Live Free or Die Hard which comes out this July Fourth.
And Bruce [Willis] is in this too [Grindhouse].
MW: I know. I didnt know he was in this until I started working on that and he was like [Whispering], Im in that too. which is kind of funny.
Who do you play in that?
MW: I play his daughter.
Do you get to be rescued?
MW: Ah, kind of, but not really because Im a McClane so I get to throw some punches. I get to kick a little butt.
Is Bonnie [Bedelia] back as your mom?
MW: Shes not. No, I kind of take over that role as the family member whose kind of taking care of herself, but also needs a little help from John McClane. And then I have Bobby comes out on DVD and Black Christmas in a couple weeks so [this week]
SP: Um. Ill be in Live Free of Die Hard [Laughing] No, I dont have anything coming out. As of now Im just auditioning and looking for that next
Being picky about the scripts?
SP: Um, pretty picky. Now its hard, because Im really spoiled.
What about the name? Growing up being called Sydney?
SP: I always was fine with it, most of the time, growing up. I think when I officially got into the business and went away to college to study acting at NYU, I had a little weirdness. Like I remember this one drama student came up to me at orientation, because we had an orientation with all the new drama students, thousands of us in this room and they were calling out everybodys name and they were dividing us into different acting studios. And they called out Sydney Poitier, and the whole room just erupted into laughter, it was like a joke and I had to put my hand up.
I was humiliated and embarrassed and this one girl came up to me after and was like, dont tell anybody thats your name because people will use you. So I had a moment of weirdness and I called my dad and I said maybe I should just go by my first and middle name because I dont know, people are freaking me out here. And he was like, when I first started out in the business, they wanted me to change my name because they didnt think it matched with a strong, black man. Sidney Poitier its kind of like this lyrical, dorky name, I dont know. And he said, and I told them, this is my fathers name and this is the name Im gonna do right by. Im not changing it. And I thought, screw it, I dont care what people think. Im keeping my name, and I love my name.
Do you think that the order of Grindhouse is correct? Does it worry you that some people might make it through the Rodriguez film and not make it to Tarantinos?
SP: It worries me a little, but not really. So far, everybody thats seen it
MW: Great reactions. Its good to hear.
MW: Because it is you dont know what to expect. How people are going to be able to take sitting through two movies, if the people are going to be up for that. But so far everybody is really excited.
Well the rhythms so different?
MW: Im glad that there are the trailers in between to give [audiences] a break, giving you the time to forget about the first film a little bit.
Did they ever talk about switching them?
MW: I always heard that it was gonna be [this way]
SP: Yeah and Im sure there is some kind of grindhouse reason behind it.
Did you have a relation with Kurt Russell from Sky High?
MW: Yeah, a little bit. I was really excited to work with him again because I knew he was the most fun actor in the world to be around. And hes such a guys guy, not pretentious in any way. Just really down to earth and cool and funny. I was just so happy he was gonna be in this.
Let me know what you think. Send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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