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INT: Jessica Biel

The Arrow interviews Jessica Biel

Our New York "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" interview spree ends today with the lovely Jessica Biel charming everybody's pants off. Veteran of films like "The Rules of Attraction", that puke-inducing TV show "7th Heaven" and that crappy Freddy Prinze Jr. movie "Summer Catch", I like to call Miss Biel the "PR Queen". She's obviously used to being interviewed and it showed in her demeanor. Calm, collected and answering stupid questions about her personal life without blinking, Miss Biel came across as a kool chickadee who knows the game and how to play it. Once more, this was part of a roundtable with other journalists asking away. Here's hot to trot Biel talking Texas Chainsaw, "Blade 3" and beyond!! WELCOME TO THE GENRE BABY!


(note: the writing in yellow was my interior monologue at the time)

What was it about this project that appealed to you?

JB: I really liked the script and I loved meeting with Marcus. He had such a different idea as to what this could be and what he wanted it to be. I just didn’t expect what he wound up saying and that was the big attraction for me.

Did you see the original?

JB: I think when I was younger, pieces of it, I didn’t really remember it. I saw it before we shot this one though.

Did you have any makeup at all?

JB: Not much, of course we had foundation and stuff like that but I wore tinted Chap Stick and mascara. By lunch, it was all gone.

Was it real sweat or did they spray you?

JB: It was both. They did spray us, but we were all sweaty anyways. A lot of it was real.

So how emotionally taxing was the shoot? Did you cry yourself to sleep at night?

JB: That was one thing I did not do, I cried so much during the day, I would just go home and pass out. I didn’t dream, I didn’t have nightmares, it was so taxing. I just remember, every day, my eyes, my eyelids, I looked like I was in a boxing match. My lips were swollen, my eyelids were swollen. I just cried all day long, it was like being pre-menstrual for a month at a time (sounds like me after reading a Maltin review)

I know that you attend University, what is it like to juggle school with your acting career?

JB: I'm actually not at University at the moment. I’m taking a break, it was so hard to be involved with both. It was like 6 hours of traveling to go and audition and to come back on time for an American History test. It was crazy.

You think you might want to go back and finish up?

JB: Yes, definitely.

Were you studying theatre?

JB: No, I was just taking a lot of core classes to get my credits out of the way and just trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I was pretty sure I didn’t want to do a film or theatre major, I already feel I know so much about it, I’m sure it would be incredibly interesting to analyze a film, but I think I’d be more interested in art history or religion or something. Something that’s very different from anything I’ve done so far.

Did the physicality of this movie prepare you for "Blade 3"?

JB: Yeah, I guess it did. I did a lot of running in this movie. For "Blade 3", I’ve been training like a maniac, it’s so much more physically demanding than Texas Chainsaw Massacre was.

Do you find that knowing martial arts makes you feel sexy?

JB: You feel incredibly strong, I feel confident. I’m like somebody screw with me, I will “savate” you in the head, kick you in the shin so fast and slit your throat with my credit card (you can slit my throat any day hun). I know all these things now, I’m being thought self-defense and just so you know ladies, you can slit somebody’s throat with a credit card if you need to. Which I didn’t know till a few days ago.

You learned that from working on Blade?

JB:  Well, it’s this man I’m working with Chuck Jefferies, he’s this amazing martial arts artist. What’s cool about Blade is that I’m not learning just one art, he has experience in like 100 techniques of different martial arts, boxing and street fighting. It’s not going to be anything like "Crouching Tiger", nobody is like suspended in the air. This is back to old school fighting techniques. I’m just kicking people in the head all the time.

How is it working with Wesley Snipes?

JB: I’ve only worked one day on "Blade 3" so far, I’ve just been training for like a month and a half. My first day was with Wes, I didn’t have any dialogue but he’s really cool, he’s kind of more of a reserved person than I would’ve expected, but he’s really funny and he’s kind of coming out of his shell. He’s really nice. I’m getting along with him.

Do you have any super powers besides the fighting?

JB:  No super powers. I’m completely human, I’m just very badass. I am an archer so I’ve been working with this compound bow for the last month and a half. That’s my signature weapon.

Do you have a cool outfit?

JB: Yes, I have a cool outfit but it's not very Blade...I’m not in leather pants or shirt, and I’m very much more like casual. I have all these different outfits, but the outfit I like the best is this cool black work-out stretch pants and a cool brown leather vest and I’m wearing like a sports bra (man, she has nice lips!) I’m really dressed for the part because there is no way you can go out in a wonder bra and do this.

How does it feel to be the lead on "Blade 3"? Even though it’s an ensemble, you’re a centerpiece.

JB: It's nerve-wracking. I always feel that I got myself into something that I don’t think I’ll be able to do as well as I want to do. It’s always a concern when you start something with a huge budget and people expecting all kinds of great stuff. It was kind of nice with Texas since nobody expected anything. I feel a lot of pressure to look right, physically to make this character believable and realistic, that she can kick these people in the head. And if this movie turns out great, Blade/Wesley would be kind of passing the torch to Ryan (Ryan Reynolds) and I. If it’s good, there might be a possibility of a spin-off and that’s a little scary. It’s like "Oh my God, more pressure!" But it’s also exciting...I’m not at all complaining about it, I’m having a great time. That’s another thing about the martial arts, it’s really fun, it is so fun, every day, instead of having long crying scenes or dialogue scenes, I’m just fighting with cool stunt people and we’re creating this great action. It’s nothing like I’ve ever done before.

Which scenes in Texas did you feel were the more physically hard ones to do?

JB: I guess the obvious answer was the running. But you know what it really was? The most physical scene in Texas for me was dragging Tucker around. He was into it, it was so good, he literally let himself be dragged and he might look like he’s doesn’t weight a lot, but he’s heavy and I dragged him many many times for many many takes. After that, my muscles were burning. That was a really hard scene.

Did you ever feel that Erin was responding in a way that you, Jessica, would not have?

JB: Yeah, I always wonder if me Jess wouldn’t just freeze. I think Erin’s brain is working a lot quicker than mine would have. I think I just would’ve froze. And I hope I wouldn’t leave my friends. I don’t know, I might have just taken off.  I like to think that I would make the same choices that she made. She did a pretty good job.

You made your on-screen debut on "7th Heaven" which is a family show and then you moved on to "The Rules of Attraction" which was a little edgier, then "Texas Chainsaw" which is a lot edgier. Was that deliberate? Are you trying to break out of that wholesome image and target an audience closer to you, like a college-aged crowd?

JB: I don’t want to break away from any image (so what was that nude magazine spread all about?), "7th Heaven" has been wonderful to me. The only thing they ever gave me was a strong character, a normal girl that makes mistakes like every other kid makes, but who was still smart and an athlete. I think that image is a really great image. It was never a conscious choice (I don't buy it). When "Rules of Attraction" came along I met with Roger (Avary) and he was amazing and I thought I have to be part of this. When "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" came along and I met with Marcus, I thought I have to be part of this. It was never like "Okay, Rules of Attraction I’ll look hot, sexy and older or Texas now I’m strong and cool", it was never to get away from an image (liar...), it just sort of happened. Also, as you get older, your tastes change, you never think it's going to happen. I remember being 15 and thinking I’m going to read “Seventeen” forever. I remember thinking that and I don’t even own a subscription to Seventeen anymore (liar...).  

Aren’t you doing guest appearances on the show now? (they're talking about "7th Heaven", man, I loathe that show...BARFFF!)

JB: I’m doing like three or four.

Is it because of your acting career, you used to be a regular?

JB: Warner Brothers and Spelling are being so gracious in allowing me to come in and out. They’ll call me and say we have a great episode, do you want to be a part of it? I’ll look at my schedule and say "Yeah, I would, thank you so much". They’re allowing me to do other things and be part of the family at the same time. It’s so awesome.

What’s a wild night out for you?

JB: A wild night out? Mmmmm, I do like to go out, but I’m much more of a home-body so my wild nights out would probably be boring (man...she's good at lying...straight face and all!) I guess it would be going out with a group of friends, having dinner…

Getting "Punk’d"!!

JB: Getting Punk’d and getting really confused.

Do you prefer working more on TV or film?

JB: I think that I might change my feeling about that, but right now, I’m really enjoying working on film. I’m enjoying the process of really getting to know a character, making up a back-story and knowing that I will be part of this character’s life for like 3 months. I like really diving into it and the process is so slow, different from TV. I expected to get on set and fly through 8 pages like we do in "7th Heaven", but we go through only 2 sometimes. I also like the process of having 15 takes, trying so many different ways to say something, stopping production to talk to the director for two hours because you can. I really am enjoying that for the moment.

What would you talk about for 2 hours?

JB: For Texas, for example, even though I didn’t have the time or the money, Eric and I stopped Marcus one day, trying to fix the problem…I don’t think people know this, if I’m supposed to say this…I don’t think it matters… Erin was originally pregnant in this movie. Through a lot of this movie I went through having to deal with having this child, it was like she literally just found out, obviously you couldn’t see anything. There was a scene where we get to the Mill, we don’t know what to do and it’s like "By the way, it’s your baby" or something like that. Then we get into the mill, and that thing comes out of the closet and we get scared. It didn’t make sense. "By the way, we’re pregnant and then oops, it’s a raccoon". Of course it’s all cut out now. We talked about it for two hours and Marcus was really peeved because the sun was perfect and the clouds were beautiful and we were talking about the storyline. (man, she has nice eyes!)

How did you make it all make sense?

JB: We added this walk and some lines. I don’t think it really worked anyways.

For a film like this, is there research that can be done?

JB: Yeah, definitely. I used the original a little bit, but not necessarily to research my character. I already had an idea as to what I wanted to do with her. This was to see what happened in the original that I didn’t like what I thought we could improve upon and what I thought that was great and if there was a vibe that we were to keep.

What didn’t you like?

JB: There was no character development. I didn’t care about anybody at all. I was watching it saying “Die already”! The only interesting character was the main girl who I thought was really good, especially when she gets alone. The other characters I didn’t know them, I couldn’t relate to them and that’s what I wanted to change in our film. Cause people are only going to like this movie if they like the characters and want them to stay alive.

What’s your take when you see yourself on TV or on screen? What goes through your mind?

JB: I’m pretty critical. I mean, I’m analyzing a lot of the time. I need to see the complete version 3 or 4 times before I could just let it go and just watch it as a whole and stop watching myself and saying stuff like “I hated that line!”. I do that all the time.

Are you signed on for a sequel? If they want to do a sequel, do you have to do it?

JB: For Blade?

No, Texas.

JB: Texas, no. I don’t think there’s anything about sequels in our contracts.

Would you do one if they asked you?

JB: No, I don’t think so. I have a problem with sequels (I guess, Blade 3 is all good though...), and yes, now I’m doing a third, of course. I have a problem doing a sequel for this movie, it’s just not needed. Why? It’s the same story again? To make more money ? It would be done just for a commercial payoff, it wouldn’t be done as an acting piece. And the sequels that have been done from the original, I personally really think they stink.

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