Student life - March 26, 2004

 Julia Stiles - The Prince and Me 

What was your favorite and least favorite part about working on this movie?

Oh, I had a lot of favorite parts. I guess my favorite part was being in Prague, working with Martha, the director. She introduced me to an acting coach who sort of became my guru, that was a favorite part of it too, so much of it. Least favorite part: that rain scene when we got caught by the Paparazzi in the stacks, that was cold, it was very cold and I was wet. That was not a fun day.

You could probably use all 10 fingers and toes to count the number of movies about royalty merging with commoners. How do you feel that this film is specifically different? What makes it special?

Initially what is interesting about it is it is royalty mixing with commoners or the circumstances are interesting. But, I think underneath that it is really just a love story. You have two people who bond over completely different, for different reasons other than their circumstances, outside of their circumstances and their circumstances are actually what pull them apart. I mean I think that even the fact that she doesn't know that he is a prince means that they fall in love for different reasons.

Doing these movies where you are in a college setting, how was shooting this one different from shooting all your other ones? Putting in your own college experience, how was it different?

I mean, the University of Wisconsin is a really different school than Columbia anyway. It is in a different part of the country. I find a lot of times at Columbia, it feels like it is a just a bunch of kids living in New York City taking classes. There is less of a sort of campus environment than say at the University of Wisconsin. What else would be different? Just like the little jokes...Or, say Eddie is having to deal with like a really messy roommate, I had to deal with rats in my building. There were a lot of differences.

If you could date a prince in real life which prince would it be? And also, would you want to date a real life prince?

Kind of daunting, that idea, I mean I just cannot even imagine what we would talk about but you never know. Who would I date? You know, I think I would date the rock star Prince actually. It would be more fun; you wouldn't have to worry about people ironing your newspapers before you had your tea.

Do you think your college life and experience is different for you than it would be to most girls your age just because of who you are, and your celebrity?

Well, I think that my college experience is different not because of really my celebrity but because I have already been working outside of school and have a career that I am trying, that I am really devoted to. So when I go to school I am lucky that I don't have to be searching for what I want to do after school. It is more something that I can do for my own enjoyment. You know, I don't have to worry about going to graduate school or getting into certain graduate schools. I don't have to worry about grades except for my own pride really.

Do you feel under pressure to be a role model for younger girls and women and if so, how does that affect the way you portray yourself in the media or the way you carry yourself?

Well I try to think of a role model as not somebody who is like a perfect person but somebody who is just honest about themselves. I don't even really choose to think of myself as having to be a role model, but if I were to I don't think it means that I have to change my behavior and be perfect. It just means that I have to be honest; otherwise I would feel like I would get stuck and sort of paralyzed by calling myself a role model.

As a young woman and as a college student, do you identify as a feminist and furthermore what do you think of the portrayal of feminism in Mona Lisa Smile? Was it realistic?

Yes, but I think I have a different definition of it than a lot of people do. I think that word has gotten a negative slant to it unfortunately and some people think feminist means man hater and I certainly don't hate men. But, I would call myself a feminist because I have a different definition of that word, which is much more respectful of women and into equality and also respecting differences. I mean if you want to get into semantics you could call me a womanist or whatever, there are different terms for it. And in Mona Lisa Smile how is the portrayal of feminism? Well for instance it was hard for me as a young woman and a college student and a girl who has grown up with feminism to understand why my character decided to not listen to Julia Roberts and to not go to school and to get married. Then I had to stop thinking about abstract ideas like feminism. I had to think about personally this character who is really in love with her husband. That was what was going to make her the most happy. She makes that choice and that is just as much of a strong feminist choice as any other.

Are there any other causes that you champion as a young adult in the political scene or social scene?

Let's see, I mean I am very weary of the idea of getting up on a soapbox but I am a big supporter of They are into sort of an open dialogue about this coming election, reproductive rights. I mean I would be going to their march on Washington... I mean I was definitely going to go until now I am doing this play so I cannot get to Washington. But I support Planned Parenthood. I mean there are organizations that I support and their causes.

Do you have any thoughts on youth involvement in government and politics? As someone who is going to an Ivy League school and is very educated, what do you think of the way most young people view politics, most college students? Are they involved enough? Are they involved at all?

At least at my school, what is so exhilarating about being in college is that it is a concentrated place where there seems to be a lot of dialogue about various different issues and when I first got to school I was really excited to be like up until 5:00 in the morning talking about Israel and Palestine with my floormates who were really heated about or were really attached to that issue and there were countless other issues to talk about. What is great about school is there is always this constant open dialogue. But on the other hand, I do find apathy starts to set in and students become more and more disillusioned with the idea that they can change anything, so that is unfortunate.

And are there any likely co-stars that you would want to work with, like anyone in Hollywood who you have a crush on?

Oh, are you kidding me? Sure. I can think of one specifically, but if I say that it is embarrassing because then he knows that I have a crush on him. I am just going to say that I went to go see Havana Nights and I could not even look at the screen. Diego Luna was so painfully handsome I had to look away.

Article by Jenny Perkins
Originally published at Student life - Posted on March 26, 2004