A conversation with Julia Stiles
Tribute's Bonnie Laufer talks to Julia Stiles about trying her hand at comedy in A Guy Thing.
We are not used to seeing you in comedies. Were you nervous about doing it with A Guy Thing?
Yeah, I was, because I'm really shy initially and people tell me that I am very serious when they first meet me. I think I have a sense of humor, but it was a bit of a painful experience. Selma Blair and Jason Lee are just naturally funny and I would try to imitate them but it didn't work too well. It was very intimidating because it is hard to find what is funny and what is not funny.
So what did you like most about your character, Becky?
I loved her free-spiritedness and I think that she is living life to the fullest. She doesn't take herself too seriously and bounces around from job to job and isn't very good at anything that she does but she doesn't care. It was such a relief to play such a klutz too because if all else failed I could just trip over something.
Kind of like Lucille Ball.
Of course one never knows when they get on a set unless they've worked with their costars before if they are going to hit it off.
Now you had worked with Selma before...
On a movie that nobody should see, I might add.
How did you bond with your costars in A Guy Thing, because especially with comedy, it is so important to have that chemistry.
Jason and I discovered that we both find the same sorts of things funny and we both like the same kinds of funny movies, like South Park, for instance. We were both obsessive about South Park but it gets you into this quick banter where you get into a rhythm like music. We had a shorthand, where he would say one thing and I would follow it up really quickly and vice versa. It made a huge difference because it would be hard to work with somebody when there's nothing in return.
What do you think is a guy thing?
I don't think that there is a guy thing. I think that's what is so great about the movie is that Jason's character says it's not a guy thing, it's an ass#$@% thing. The reason he gets into so much trouble is because he's worried that people are going to think he did a guy thing, but there is no such thing.
Is there a girl thing?
Yeah, well, maybe. Yes, there are definitely girl things, unfortunately. I kind of wish I was a guy. Yes, there are girl things.
You must get so many scripts I can't even imagine how you go through them all, but what is it that sparks your interest when you read one?
First it's all about if I want to keep reading the script. This one was so great because I opened it up and I was immediately doubled over in laughter, going 'it's funny because it's true' and I thought that it would be an enjoyable movie to watch. The reasons change with every film.
You are still at school, how is that going?
Very good. Thanks for asking. I had to take last semester off to do a movie called Mona Lisa Smile.
Which must have been a great experience. You got to shoot some of the film on the campus of Columbia University where you go to school. Now that's what I call convenient.
Yes, I still have a couple more days shooting that one.
What a great cast, Julia Roberts, Topher Grace, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Kirsten Dunst.
...and Marcia Gay Harden too, it should be out next year I think. I go back to school in about a week, so I am really looking forward to that.
Where would you like to see yourself perhaps five years down the road? Do you think you would like to produce or direct films?
I would be interested in producing and give more input that way. I would like to write, but I could never direct. At least right now I feel that way, it's way too much pressure and I see how stressed out directors get and I think that I am far too lazy to be a director. But who knows, maybe that will change.
Article by Bonnie Laufer
Originally published at Tribute - Posted on January 2003