West End Girl
Student slash international filmstar Julia Stiles makes her UK stage debut in a ballsy battle of the sexes.
"The last time it was staged in London, people got up and cheered when Carol was called a c**t", says Julia Stiles of her part in the controversial play Oleanna. With its hackle-raising dissection of gender politics, David Mamet's two-hander is not foe the squeamish. But if you like a heated debate and A-list bone structure -- Aaron Eckhart co-stars as the professor accused of sexual harrasment -- book that front-row seat now.
As an English major at New-York's Columbia University, Julia could relate to her role. "Not to sleeping with professors", she backtraps, "but the way Carol talks about feeling like she's stupid. I definitely felt that way in school when I first started."
It's hard to picture Julia as a bewildered fresher when she's cornered the market in feisty campus babes. The 23-year-old Manhattanite had all the right moves in teen flick Save the last dance, graduated to 50s collegiate drama Mona Lisa Smile and will soon appear as a royal-dating pre-med in The Prince and Me. "I keep telling them that they have to invite Prince William to the premiere," she laughs.
It must be a mad life, hanging out with your student beau one minute, filming The Bourne Supremacy with Matt Damon in Berlin the other, but Julia is unfazed. After Oleanna, there's another Mamet project: the film adaptation of Edmond.
Meanwhile, if anyone has a contact at Ticketmaster... "I'm generally a Bob Dylan kind of girl, but I would really like to see the Darkness," she says, keen to sample the UK culture. "And I need to learn more about your Premier League soccer players. I know Manchester United are good but that's about it."
Originally published in the April 2004 issue of Elle Magazine (UK edition)