Interview for Paris Match
Paris Match, September 2001. Translation from french by ťlise
Did you hesitate to accept the crazy role of Jewel in One Night At McCool's ?
Yes. I had doubts. The plot and my part were crazy. But then, I remembered shooting Cookie's Fortune. A wonderful memory. For two reasons - Bob [Robert Altman] is a great director and the movie is a comedy. I have never felt so free and natural. At the end of the shooting, I thought: "Wow! I must do it again." Always playing in drama movies is tiring. Also, in Hollywood, there are few female roles - most of the scripts are all about a male character who is always the main role. The female character acts as a background. I have been in this situation several times. For once, I wanted to be in the foreground.
Indeed, the film is all about you and your seduction power. Which scene was the most difficult to play ?
They were all difficult because Jewel is a character. She and I are opposite characters. Sheís a manipulative person. Sheís nothing like me and could never be my friend. The scene where I felt the most uncomfortable ? The one where I wash the car, being lascivious. Itís by far the most torrid sequence.
The director Harald Zwart filmed a lot of commercials, and it was his first movie. Did you worry about that ?
You have to start. I was given my chance in the past despite my lack of experience. It was my turn to give someone a chance. As soon as I met him, I knew he could do a great job. I expect a director to be honest and to know what he wants. Otherwise, itís chaos.
In the film, three men, a barman, a lawyer and a detective, fall in love with Jewel, whom they idealize. Have you ever idealized a man ?
I remember a scene in Onegin where my co-star Ralph Fiennes said to me: "You see qualities in me that I don't possess. Iím not the one who you dream about." At that time, I was 18. Those words struck me Ďcause it was a situation I have lived through. When you fall in love with someone, you project your own wishes onto him. Afterwards, you become aware of your mistake.
All the men are at Jewelís mercy. When did you become aware of your power on men ?
I donít thirst for power ... I donít try to take control of anybody. Unlike Jewel, I donít manipulate men - because I donít like to be manipulative. But if a man attracted me, I'd be willing to seduce him, a little more than usual, in order to achieve my aim.
Have you ever been manipulated ?
Itís the distinguishing feature of Hollywood. There are often hidden things, not everybody is honest with you. I try not to take everything seriously, to keep my sense of humour. I have no choice. I rely on peopleís honesty, and respect, but I canít impose it.
In the film, you have several scenes with Michael Douglas, who plays an old loser. What kind of partner is he ?
Michael is a real pro. He has no ego. He comes on the set in the morning and does his job. Thatís all. Itís really nice, because the actors often drag their problems with them. This film is his "baby", he produced it and cared a lot about it. Having him with us helped a lot.
You canít help laughing when you see him in the film with his wig ...
One morning, I came in his dressing room and I saw him sitting in front of the mirror. He smiled at me ... With his fake teeth, his wig and his rainbow-coloured shirt, he was irresistible! It amused him a lot. He was as excited as a little boy.
In a scene, you are wielding a gun and shooting point-blank. What was it like ?
Itís scary to have a gun in your hands! Itís very heavy. I had one in Plunkett & MacLeane too, but I didnít have to wield it. It felt really strange! People keep talking about firearms control. I donít understand why people in USA are authorized to possess a gun. All this slaughters in schools, over the last two years ... Nobody seems to become aware of the situation seriously. By relating these tragedies, you encourage the bad instincts of some kids. Personally, I wouldnít like to have a gun. That wouldnít make me feel safe.
You are often described as a woman-child. Do you agree ?
Yes. It runs in the family. My father is in his fifties and heís still a child. So is my mother. They are both full of life, never tired, always ready to try something new. And so am I. Iím easily excited, like a little girl.
You gave up your studies very early ?
Thatís wrong! I graduated from high-school and got my diploma. Itís really important for me. When I made my first film, I was asked if I wanted to stop my studies. I said no, that was out of the question. The result: I was filming all day long and, between each takes, I went to study in the classroom.
Do you feel that your adolescence has been stolen ?
I didnít have a normal adolescence, I grew up in a really eccentric family. But nobody has never prevented me from living like I wanted. Now, after each shooting, I force myself to take a break. I want to make most of life possible, be happy in order to be able to make my fiancť [Spacehog bassist, Royston Langdon] happy too. Recently, I joined two friends in Spain. We took the ferry and went to Morocco. It was not a glamorous travel but I wonít forget it. The opportunities are rare. When I go to foreign countries, itís often just to work.
Who influenced you the most during your adolescence ?
Everybody, I guess. Thatís maybe the reason why I became actress. There were so many different people around me, with so many different lives.
Your mother, Bebe Buell, is a former singer and a former Playboy playmate. How old were you when your mother talked with you about sexuality for the first time ?
I donít remember my mother explaining me the way to make a baby. But it was not a taboo. Quite the opposite. She forbad me to watch violence on TV, but not sexuality.
You are Steven Tylerís daughter. But until the age of 10, you believed your father was Todd Rundgren, singer of Utopia. Why ?
I donít know, ask them. My parents were not together when I was born. My mother lived with Todd and he decided to bring me up as his daughter. Anytime Iím interviewed, Iím asked this question. I have had enough!
In which world are you the most comfortable, the rock'n'roll one or the Hollywood one ?
Even though my father and my fiancť are in the rock'n'roll world, Iím not. And I keep learning about the cinema world. These two worlds are so wide-ranging that Iím lost. I feel better in my own world.
Do you take care of yourself ?
I have trouble remembering that I must relax sometimes ... I tend to take care of the others first, to solve their problems and I forget myself. My job is really tiring. Wake up at 5 a.m. to go on a set, always perform, itís hard.
Do you know how to say no ?
I know how to set my limits, but I don't have a lot. As long as Iím not being lied to, as long as Iím not being exploited, I have a positive attitude. In my job.
What are your plans ?
To look for a house, to take care of my fiancť and to promote Lord of The Rings, the movie I just finished. In fact, there are three films, which together build a complete story. I devoted all my time and my energy doing it for a year and a half, either in Los Angeles or in New-Zealand. I have never did that before!