Looking good, your majesty - An Interview with Julia Stiles
After seeing The Prince and Me, I had an opportunity to join a conference call for college journalists with Julia Stiles herself, a fellow undergrad in her senior year at Columbia University. I was posed with a dilemma: how does one ask questions of an actress while harboring a disgust and apathy for said actress' new film? The answer, of course, is to ask about something else entirely.
Do you think your college life and experience is different for you than it would be for most girls your age because of who you are and your celebrity?
Well, I think it's different not because of my celebrity but because I've already been working outside of school. I have a career that I'm really devoted to, so I'm lucky that I don't have to be searching for what I want to do after school. It's more for my own enjoyment. I don't have to worry about going to or getting into graduate school, and I don't have to worry about grades except for my own pride, really. I can't really say that for everyone, obviously, but I think that I'm lucky in that sense.
When you were making the film, how much were you thinking about Hamlet and how much were you thinking about Coming to America? I saw a teeny element of those two works of art in the film.
Somebody mentioned to me the Coming to America thing and I agreed with them and I was made fun of afterwards. They thought it was a silly reference, but it's not. I think it is. The plot is similar to Coming to America... Hamlet is an intense tragedy, which has an entirely different tone from The Prince and Me, but the parallels with a young guy who also happens to be the prince of Denmark who's frustrated with his having to grow up into adulthood, I think that there are definite parallels. We weren't trying to think in terms of replicating a story; we were trying to think of, um, something that stands on its own. But there are parallels. There's an old saying that says there are five stories that get told over and over again, and I definitely think that's true. If you want to think about Shakespeare, I think you want to think of one of the love stories, like Romeo and Juliet, where you have people from two different walks of life trying to make their worlds come together.
Where are you in London?
I'm doing Oleanna by David Mamet, a play at the West End with Aaron Eckhart. I just got back from rehearsals today.
Article by Jason Mogavero
Originally published in the April 8, 2004 issue of the GW Hatchet