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Interview: Elisha Cuthbert

I want you to go over to your bookshelf and grab the thesaurus. Now I want you to look up "drop dead gorgeous." See all the synonyms? Hot, sexy, beautiful, stunning...all the above. She came in looking more like her character in the film and less like her character on "24" (a move she explains below) with a V-neck that just kept on dipping and dipping. I'm sitting thisclose and I'm trying to maintain eye contact and listen intently to her answers but I just can't help shifting my eyes downward just slightly at the abundance of cleavage. "Focus you dirty pervert!" I had to yell at myself a number of times. "Remember what Jerry Seinfeld says - looking at cleavage is like staring at the sun. You get a feel for it and then you look away!" I maintain my composure and somehow manage to get through the interview with little-to-no drooling and babbling. Although these eyes will never be washed again. Here's...

ELISHA CUTHBERT

What does it feel like to be, or to be playing, an object of desire?

It's not natural but it does feel good. It feels really good.

What was your first reaction to the poster?

My first reaction is, thank God it's something different from Kim Bauer from "24." Because I think most people recognize me from that in general. So to do this film I wanted to have a part that was aside from that and completely different. When I saw the poster I said, "That looks nothing like Kim Bauer!" So I felt good about it.

What kind of research did you do to play a porn actress?

It was tricky because I didn't know much about the world of porn and probably - if it wasn't for this film - would have never known anything about porn. We went through a lot of Playboy magazines and different kind of dirty magazines that little boys hide from their moms. We needed a look for Athena [her character's porn star personality], that side of the character that went out to the porn convention and does the little movie. We kinda went, "Oh that girl has nice red hair, let's do that." The fake eyelashes, the blown-out everything, that's what we aspired to do. Then I sat and actually met with some of these girls and it was the total opposite. It was like talking to Danielle as opposed to Athena. it was kind of a surprise. I had a, unfortunately, stereotype of what I imagined a porn star would act on their day-to-day basis and this was the exact opposite, actually.

Did that affect your performance?

It did, it did. I could've played it like the two friends in the film that I have. I could've done something completely different with it, but I went, "Whoa!" Mentally she stays the same throughout the film but physically she changes from crazy glam and all this makeup to more of the girl next door.

How uncomfortable were you when you were in full Athena gear?

Very uncomfortable. That was the tricky part of playing Athena. I had to walk in these shoes that were inches high and wear this bra thing and uncomfortable pants and somehow I have to portray that I'm confident and comfortable in this stuff. So that was a little bit of a feat but that was during the convention and there were some girls there going, "You can do it!"

Have you ever seen one of those high-school sex ed films like from the movie?

I haven't. It's funny, when I first read the script I said to Luke the director, "I never saw a sex ed video. is this true to life? Do people really experience that?" I remember our teacher having a diagram of how to put on the condom properly. that's the extent of my sex ed. everything else was obviously conversations with my mom and those uncomfortable moments with the birds and bees. And Luke said, "No, no, I swear I saw them when I was a kid." A couple other people were like "no we saw them too." So I guess it works. I never had that experience at all.

Luke acknowledged RISKY BUSINESS as a major influence but that came out a year before you were born.

I've seen it though. That was a beautiful comparison. That was one thing we kept in mind. One of the many movies we kept in mind when we were shooting this. RISKY BUSINESS, TRUE ROMANCE...for me it was a little FIGHT CLUB actually because that chemistry between Brad Pitt and Edward Norton - the bad and the good - for me was something I could use a little bit. Even though it was a male character... But SIXTEEN CANDLES, FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, fun movies that were made in the 80s that were teen comedies but had a truth behind them. There wasn't all fun and games in them. When Ferris Bueller's buddy throws the Ferrari off the garage and goes, my dad is gonna kill me, those moments made those teen comedies a reality for me. Cause things happen. When you're in high school, you're either grounded or you're having a good time and you're about to be grounded for it. I think THE GIRL NEXT DOOR brings that to the table.

Did you have any apprehension when they came to you with a part in a teen comedy?

Yeah cause I was coming of OLD SCHOOL and LOVE, ACTUALLY, just these little small parts that were great for me and everyone else had to carry the film on their shoulders and I just got to go, "Hey I'm in that movie, right on." But I was looking for a movie that I was gonna do, that was gonna be MY film. When they said to me, "What about a teen comedy where you play a porn star?" I said, "Guys we're going in the wrong direction!" But then they told me just to read it and then I read it and kept an open mind about it and sat down with Luke and said it could be really cheesy or really amazing. And he goes, "It's gonna be really amazing."

Would you want to see this movie if you weren't a part of it?

Honestly, I'd have apprehensions about it. But that's why I'm here to tell people it's a hell of a lot more. It does freak me out though. What I'm most proud of is the fact that you can be an actress in Hollywood and do a teen comedy now and not show complete nudity. That's one thing I wanted to prove to everybody. It was a hard thing to come over cause that's what everyone was expecting. It's a teen comedy, it's catered to guys, it's about a girl who used to be a porn star...how much more sexual can you get with this character. And I said, "we can make this tasteful and we can make this good for everybody."

So was that you getting undressed in the window?

Yup, that was me.

So would you ever consider doing nudity in a film?

Um, not now in my career. I don't want to throw it out there and say I'm never going to do nudity but I can definitely say for the next couple of years, no. I agree with some choices other actresses have made with nudity. That's fine if they're comfortable with it. I still feel I'm a little young and it's not necessary.

Do you feel you've been typecast at all by the Kim Bauer character?

When I first came to LA, I felt like people only wanted to see me on television. Film is a beautiful way to show different sides of yourself and really get out there and be a different character all the time. I was cool about doing television and especially when I’m on a show like "24." But to do that and to go into meetings, you have to fight for it. You have to say, "I have ideas for this, I can bring something to this movie." Then they always say, "What about your schedule?" "Forget about my schedule! We can make this work!" You have to fight for it, sure.

Is there something special though about staying with a specific character for so long?

I've never had an opportunity to be a character for this long [on "24"]. I'll literally be in the mall shopping and someone will go, "Hey, Kim Bauer!" and I'll look around. Not because someone is recognizing me but because I actually respond to the name Kim which is frightening. When you play someone ten months out of every year - and this is my third year - you put on the clothes and you get out there and it's that easy. You get to be it, and do it, and live it like a real person. It's scary in a way.

Have you mastered a technique for not giving away "24" secrets?

The worst is my mother. I have to keep my mom out of the loop and that's the last thing you want to do to my mother. She says, "I'm your mother! You wouldn't be here without me! You have to tell me." But I'm pretty good. I give a little. I'll tell her if I have some really good scenes coming up. I won't spill the beans though.

Is your mom comfortable watching you in some of these roles?

I think it's been long enough, yeah. She's realized. My brother gets a little -- I think I take them out of a movie. They don't see me when they watch "24" and they definitely don't see me when they watch this film. It's just not my personality. That's not me. So they watch it and think it looks like their daughter but that's not my daughter.

How old is your brother?

He's eleven so he gets really involved. He's like, "I can't believe they're doing that to you." I have to tell him it didn't really happen.

What do you think about your brother and this movie?

Oh yeah... Um, I dunno. I don't know that answer. I think my mom will make that judgment call maybe. If it's too early for him or not. He saw OLD SCHOOL, which was a little risqué I suppose. He just closed his eyes. Who knows. The only one I worry about is my grandmother. That's the only one. So far she seems OK about. But she hasn't seen this yet...

What is sexy to you?

I really learned in this film that -- let's say you're wearing something but you don't feel good in it and it doesn't look good anymore. That confidence. I didn’t think I had it in me to be that confident. I was just acting and trying to play that against Emile so that was difficult. I've always thought beauty is just what's within. People who are funny I find so attractive. Just the humor in people is wonderful and if you can have a good time with someone. Also someone who has their act together and has a good head on their shoulders is appealing. You could have the most beautiful person in the world and if they can't form a sentence or know that they are, they're not attractive anymore.

Source: JoBlo.com

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