Julia Stiles isn't waiting for her prince to come
It might take a true prince to sweep Julia Stiles off her feet. The actress is majoring in English at Columbia University, earning mostly A grades, and has starred in three movies based on Shakespeare plays: 10 Things I Hate About You (based on The Taming of the Shrew), 0 (based on Othello) and Hamlet, the 2000 edition with Ethan Hawke.
"Whoever would sweep me off my feet would have to appreciate my ambitions, "she tells Zap2it.com. "I feel like you can have your cake and eat it, too. What I look for in a guy is passion and ambition and there's nothing sexier than intellect, so hopefully that would be reciprocated."
In fact, she bumped into someone she admired only that morning of the interview while she was working out at a gym. "Larry King was on a treadmill next to me this morning -- I was star struck."
Thoughts about giving up her career for love -- as Grace Kelly did when she became Princess Grace of Monaco after falling in love with Prince Rainier -- have haunted Stiles as she made The Prince and Me. It's the story of a prince who, pretending to be a commoner, sneaks off to the University of Wisconsin, where he falls in love and tries to whisk away a pre-med student played by Stiles.
"I think I learned a lot about myself by playing her," Stiles reflects. "I'm really focused, driven and career-oriented. I never really fantasized about love and marriage and all that stuff. But as we were rehearsing and I'm playing Paige more and more, I realized that her sarcasm is sort of a defense mechanism, and a way of being antisocial, being guarded and protecting herself from the possibility of being rejected by a guy. It occurred to me that I do that, too."
In the film, her character Paige tries to fit in with the royal family of Denmark when she falls in love. The prince is portrayed by relative newcomer Luke Mably, who confirms that Stiles was rather distant toward him.
"We did not get to know each other as people during the shoot," says the Brit, who has never met royalty himself. "It was her choice, and it kept the mystery and tension going between our characters. For a while I felt overwhelmed."
Stiles says she helped Mably build confidence during the big budget film. "I got to learn sort of by trial and error with small roles in movies, and then built up to bigger studio movies, but he just sort of jumped into a leading role in a studio movie," Stiles says. "I feel like he handled it really well."
Mably even had confidence enough to test his royal presence by posing as a prince and dining at the CN Tower in Toronto with the actor who plays a servant, Ben Miller (Johnny English).
"I wore this European pullover, jeans, shades and a cap and had a lot of attitude," Mably laughs. "We got the treatment, and people were whispering and looking, and I don't think we paid anything."
Meanwhile, Stiles says she enjoys the anonymity of being a student. Right after promoting Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts she went back to school to take exams. "Just when I think my head might explode, I get to go to school where they don't really care about what magazine cover I'm on. They really want to hear what I have to say and what my ideas are."
Sure, she may tell her school friends about wearing the expensive jewelry and grand pink coronation gown in the movie. But Stiles insists that since her New York City childhood, her dreams were to be a doctor and jungle explorer, not a princess.
"I'm more the Amazon explorer girl," Stiles laughs. "If my prince comes, that'd be great, but hopefully he can find me in the Amazon."
Article by Mike Szymanski
Originally published at Zap2it.com - Posted on March 12, 2004