Julia's got a Stiles all of her own
As she stepped into shimmering gowns to play a princess, Hollywood's newest star felt all her dreams had come true.
Film actress Julia Stiles has discovered that Hollywood fairytales can come true.
In her new movie The Prince And Me, the award-winning star of Save The Last Dance plays a farm girl who falls for a student, unaware he's a Danish prince. And just before the film's American release, that love story happened for real when Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik married Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, an Australian commoner.
Julia, who recently starred with Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile, said that acting out the romantic role opposite British newcomer Luke Malby, pictured below right, as the prince had been like a dream come true.
"It was fun to wear the ballgown and the dance in the ballroom was so romantic," says the 23-year-old actress.
"We shot the ballroom scene in a beautiful palace and I felt like I was playing dress-up. I didn't necessarily feel at home there. But it was still thrilling."
Julia, who between film roles is studying English at Columbia University, felt comfortable shooting the college scenes when her country girl character falls for a new student, not knowing he's heir to the Danish throne.
But she admitted she had not been prepared for the filming at a dairy farm meant to be her character's home.
So that she might look at homeon the farm, Julia had to learn how to milk cows. "It makes you look at milk differently," she said with a chuckle. "I'm a city girl so I hadno idea about a farm.
"It wasan interesting experience to milk a cow.They don't really do it by hand any more but, myGod, I don't know how milkmaids used to do it.
"I did it by hand just to get the full experience.They are huge animals and they shift their weight so much that you have to be careful they don't step on you. 'It was quite an awkward situation. I think the farmers had a good laugh watching the city girl.
"But I also got to learn how to ride horses and steer cattle, and we saw a cow give birth to a calf, which was pretty amazing."
One of the many things that appealed to Julia about The Prince AndMe is that the movie tackles the idea that love stops you from thinking reasonably.
"That is what is so thrilling about romance," she said. But so far she hasn't done something crazy because she's fallen head over heels for someone.
"I'm only 23. I haven't really done many crazy things for love. But I would like to do something really crazy."
Slim and with a lovely figure, Julia went through a spell of being a vegan. But then she changed her eating regime to include the occasional meat dish.
"I changed my diet because it really wasn't healthy," she said. "Being a vegan is hard and I became badly anaemic.
"When you are travelling, there's noway you can get proper nutrition. So now I do eat some red meat, but not all the time." Julia was talking while in London to star in the West End play Oleanna. She revealed that she gets a great kick out of being over on this side of the Atlantic. "I love London so much. I'm enchanted by it. The novelty has not worn off," she said. "There is so much great art and culture.
"When we were rehearsing Oleanna, I worked all day long and would come home and go to sleep.
"But now I'm trying to see things. I have definitely been trying to soak it all up.
"A treat for me in London is having a fancy high tea with cucumber sandwiches and scones. My mom came over and I took her to tea. It was lovely."
A grinning Julia confessed that when she is on her travels there's something that she always has to take with her -- her childhood blanket.
"I still sleep with a security blanket. It's old. I have had it since I was a baby and it has holes in it," she said.
"When I was small, I could wrap myself in it. I used to talk to it when I was a kid.
"That's probably why I became an actress, but I don't talk to it any more." After The Prince And Me, Julia's latest big screen role is opposite Matt Damon in thespy thriller The Bourne Supremacy.This time round, she has a bigger role than in the first movie,The Bourne Identity.
"What I like about it is that it plays on the idea that you didn't really know what my character was doing in the first film.
"She was kind of a glorified secretary in the first one.
"Because she was the last person to see Jason Bourne, Matt Damon's character, she is the missing link. So against her will, she has to help track him down."
Before filming of The Prince And Me began in the Czech Republic, a country packed with fairytale castles, Julia had to learn how to be regal for the scenes in which her character goes to Copenhagen to be marry into royalty.
And she said that she had a bit of a head start in achieving that appearance.
She explained: "I had to do a lot of deportment school for Mona Lisa Smile. "And taking dance classes as a kid taught mehow to hold myself. I like using that sort of thing in acting."
But the brief glimpse that Julia has had into the aristocratic world has made her very aware of the fact that it can be hard work being royal.
"It goes way beyond what fork to use," she said. "It's about knowing when to smile and not to smile, how to make conversation, how to be graceful. I'm amazed by how much is involved. Where do they learn all that? Do they actually go to deportment school?" A crucial part of the plot of The Prince And Me involves how the Press pursue the playboy heir to the throne.
He becomes a bit of a headache for his royal parents before he enrolls incognito at Wisconsin University.
But despite being one of Hollywood's hot young stars, Julia hasn't encountered similar intrusions into her private life. "I don't get chased by the paparazzi.The way I am in my career, I can control that a little bit more," she said. "But I would hate to get to a place where I couldn't control it. The difference between me being a public figure as opposed to someone who is royalty is that I chose my profession.
"So any negative aspects of being well-known is really my own doing.
"But a prince is born into it and can't have it any other way."
She admitted that she still had to think carefully about where she went to with a boyfriend. But even that isn't too much of a problem.
"I'm just not interesting enough for the paparazzi," she said with a laugh. "So I don't really have a problem.
"If I come out of the theatre after giving a performance, there will be people waiting for autographs and wanting pictures.
"That's entirely different. But in terms of people trying to get a picture of me in a bikini, that doesn't happen.Thank God."
Article by John Millar
Originally published at Daily Record - Posted on July 12, 2004