|Alicia Silverstone - Career Ditz
|by Montgomery Sudan
When Alicia silverstone, one time IT girl, was asked to join in on the homoerotica of Batman And Robin, it seemed like a good idea at the time. "'Sure' was my answer. It was exciting. It was one of those things that there was no reason not do it." Except maybe that the film was to become one of the most villified films of recent memory. "I used to watch the TV series. I liked the villains," says Silverstone, only just now managing to put her career back in place. Monty Sudan takes a time out and talks frankly with Alicia about life, love and how the hell the most successful superhero franchise ever became a shambling ruin.
"They were just really nice guys. On that kind of film it's not like you're watching to learn. It's like just have a good time. They made it really fun. George was just a really nice down to earth friendly person and made me feel very comfortable and still does wherever we go. I appreciate that because I get very shy. Chris was, like, funny. The two of them together would sing these opera songs to me. X-rated opera songs. Although I wasn't quick enough to catch the X-rated part of them, they just later informed that was the case. I just didn't understand what they were saying. Chris would tap dance stuff. Sometimes he'd go crazy and start pumping George's suit because you couldn't feel anything because they're so thick. We were little people under there and they're big muscles and a lot of armour so you can't feel anything."
Alicia takes a breath and continues.
"You couldn't breath in those things. I diagnosed myself with collapsed tracheae because it's like putting your fingers there and pressing down your throat. Your back hurts too because the cape is really heavy. They had to screw them on so they don't fall off. It took about five minutes to put it on but you give about ten minutes of complaining in between."
I think she's done talking about the armour now. Maybe now we can talk about that schmo, Schumacher, who destroyed the dreams of millions of Batman fans across the planet. Then again, maybe not..
"I met Joel on a movie we did called The Babysitter which he produced. I acted in it. I must have been sixteen or seventeen at the time but now I'm twenty. He's cool."
One could be forgiven for thinking that maybe there's a little bit of Cher, her character from Clueless, in Alicia. Just a little. Or maybe it's Ralph Wiggum.
"I have loads of dogs. Five."
Do you suppose she bent her wookie?
"I don't think my work has dried up because of Batman and Robin. As an actress I don't think there's a film of my work that is better or worse. I'm not satisfied as an actress at all. I keep learning and growing but I'm not done. I haven't even touched on what I want to do as an actor. I may never get there."
It's so hard not to say something mean there...
"I may decide that it's not worth all the crap that comes along with it in order to get there. I really love acting and nothing else. So when I want to act all this stuff that comes with it can be very distracting and takes away a lot of the joy of what you're actually there to do. So I just keep growing with each thing and every day."
I have eighty different lines I could say to that, and all of them cruel. I'm trying to hold back here. I mean, I could finish this interview with one careless quip and there's just so many chances. It would be something to tell the grandkids about, but chances are they won't have a clue who this chick is.
"The good news is that my publicist, manager and agent are really nice people. They also happen to be my closest friends."
...even after Batman And Robin?
...and Excess Baggage?
"I always bring my friend Brian who poses as a boyfriend kind of thing. He's an adorable guy who's been my friend since I was seven. We always sit together."
So he wants to sleep with you, but you're not putting out.
"Even in our close circle we still can't avoid being out in the world and people come over. I want to talk to people because they are so sweet and excited but I'm like 'why are you so excited?"
I know exactly how you feel.
"Still you want to give someone what they want when they earnestly want it but in Los Angeles or New York people are like arghhhhh, crazy or manic, that's not as exciting to walk over to, especially when you fear for your life. I get really freaked out. I love David Letterman. I think he's so funny and cool, but the show terriefies me. My blood is racing and everything is screwed up."
Where the hell did Letterman get involved in this?
"I loved Grease. I recently saw it in an old theatre with mostly men singing the songs together. I grew up loving Olivia Newton John. She was my idol as a little girl."
What? Where? Why are you talking about Grease you infernal bubblehead? I want answers on why Batman And Robin stank!
"Not to say anything bad about Olivia Newton John because I am her hugest fan, but I don't have the best musical taste."
But you sure as hell can pick great titles for your movies. Excess Baggage, man, you were just asking for a beatdown there.
"But since I've learned about music like The Rolling Stones and current bands like Garbage, Dave Matthews. I always liked Sinead O'Connor. I really like The Police and Credence Clearwater Revival. The only people I've really had a fascination with were Olivia Newton John and Let's Get Physical."
Who are you? Richard Simmons?!
"I didn't really understand what that meant because the video was all weights, so I thought that's what it was. Michael J. Fox I thought was pretty hot on Family Ties but I haven't met him. The only one that's really liked that is Christopher Walken. I was always a huge fan later in life - in my long long life, and later I got to work with him, so that was cool."
Okay, so now you decide to make sense. Half an hour of babble and you finally come out with "Walken was cool". So what was working with Walken like?
"It was amazing. I learnt so much. I was so inspired and challenged and constantly taking risks. There's nothing you can ask for more really than the opportunity to take risks like that."
Wait a minute, working with Walken is taking risks? Well, I guess you might be right. I did see Mousehunt after all.
"I never look at my characters and compare them to myself because I just don't understand the point in doing that. I've never understood why that's important but I guess that's because people want to get to know me and I'm constantly trying for them not to get to know me. So that's why I do that. But I guess sure."
Honey, you lost me all sorts of badly there.
"I'm definitely similar to Barbara Streisand in that I believe in certain things very strongly."
And you have that weird nose. She has a weird nose.
"Barbara is very righteous and I'm righteous in my animal rights beliefs. I believe that animals are so important and I don't know why they are so disrespected and why people are so ignorant - to turn their nose up."
Oh, no puns please. You're really not doing me any favors when you get all corny.
"Given the choice I'd rather read a book than meet the press."
I could do with a copy of Penthouse myself about now..
"But it's getting easier. It was really hard before but now I can look at you guys and think you're just a bunch of people I'm talking to. I get really terrified in front of big groups of people. That stuff just throws me."
So maybe in hindsight becoming an actress was kind of a dumb move...? Is that why you tried to be a pro-doos-ah?
"I assume every person wants to be in control of their own destiny. The reason I produce things or want to produce things is because if you have an idea and you feel and understand that idea. When Excess Baggage was presented to me and someone said 'What do you think of this' and I said 'Really?'. I said 'I like the idea, but I don't like the rest of it.' Then they said 'Why don't you make it the way you want it to be?' That's a great thing to be asked and that feels really good."
Hell, we all like our dick rubbed once in a while, Alicia.
"First of all it took me a month to get over my feeling that they were psychotic for asking me."
Well, clearly they were.
"Once I realised they really wanted me to do this, I put my heart and soul into it and really created this vision that I had in my stomach."
Umm.. Alicia. Visions are in your mind or your eyes. Food goes in your stomach. Like that's a newsflash.
"The outcome is not really the interesting part. It's still very interesting and the movie is really good."
No. It was very bland.
Okay, sure, it's great.
"But what's fascinating about producing is it's like being in a maze. I know what the cheese is because it's my cheese but I have to pick the right doors and pick the right way to turn to get to the cheese. Everything is new all the time because you never know which way you're going and where you're going to end up. That's really exciting and challenging."
So what you're saying is you had no idea where you were going, and that all producers are rodents. Babe, I can't disagree with you on that. So if you could pick which actors you could work with, who gets the job?
"Sean Penn, Amanda Plummer, Benicio Del Toro I would work with again because he's so smart and such a good actor. Judy Davis as well. I love Absolutely Fabulous."
She wasn't in Absolutely Fabulous, Alicia.
"Working with Michael Gough was great. He's so sweet. My grandfather is 94 and I just love him so much. So it was so nice being around Michael Gough because in many ways he's similar to my grandfather. They both have the same humour and the same charm and they're very soft and sweet."
Let's keep it above the belt, Silverstone. You're doing a Shakespearian musical next. Didn't you get your hiney kicked out of a Romeo+Juliet audition one time?
"I did not audition for Romeo and Juliet. I was asked to meet with the director and I decided I didn't want to do it."
Oh. Right. Sure.
"I'm very very intimidated by... wrong word... impressed by Shakespeare and feel that it has never been done fully."
Never..? Gimme a break. You never heard of Branaugh?
"Now, that's keeping in mind that I haven't seen all Shakespeare but the things I've seen of Shakespeare on film I don't thinlk they touch on how much is inside those characters."
Alicia, Ten Things I Hate About You is hardly the be all and end all of Shakespeare. There's been some mighty productions over the years.
"Juliet is the most scrumptious character. She is so full of life. There is so much going on with that girl it's crazy and it hasn't been touched on."
Well, it was, but obviously not by you. You were walking around in a latex Batsuit when Claire Danes was puttin' it about, remember? And she didn't need a stunt butt, either...
"Every actress picks one or two qualities and the character ends up being very one dimensional. It's not their fault because it's a huge thing to take on. I don't want to be the one to do it in film. I'd like to do it on stage."
'Do it' on stage? Oh behave! Now you're getting me all male and worked up. You got time for a quickie?
"I don't have a boyfriend right now. I would definitely make time for a boyfriend."
Boyfriend? Hey, don't flatter yourself. I tire of Olivia Newton-John videos quickly. So, do the pressures of the media stop you from hooking up or is it the fact that everyone just wnts to be like "I nailed Bat-Girl"?
"It's not so much the fans, it's the papparazi. Why shouldn't I be able to go down the beach like you."
Well, because I'm buff. Check out my abs. Now yours.
"It's really stupid. You can't go on vacation, because you pick up a magazine and they always find somebody somewhere nude on the beach on the most remote island. It's just unavoidable and it's not fair but what are you going to do about it."
See, the secret is you go nude early. Do a porno. Get it out of the way. Once they've seen you with a guy called Lars halfway up to your pancreas, chances are you can be nude on any beach you want and nobody will raise an eyebrow. I'm telling you. See my video debut. "Backdoor Bonanza #12". I go nude everywhere now, nobody cares.
Anyways, Alicia, it's been real.
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originally posted: 07/12/99 15:55:09
last updated: 07/12/99 15:56:39