Beautiful Alison Lohman has been acting since she was a child, consistently refusing to merely play the Hollywood game, taking up projects that are distinct and even risky. In her latest film, Delirious, Lohman plays a music star caught up in the world of a paparazzi photographer and the younf boy he mentors. A passionate environmentalist, Lohman's big dream is to move to South America, as she explained to Paul Fischer in this exclusive interview.
Question: What was the particular attraction of this character?
Lohman: This character? Well, it was the movie, it was the story. I loved the story. I really wanted to work with Tom DiCillo, who I think was the perfect director for this movie. I saw Living in Oblivion and The Real Blonde and I loved his films. But in particular, with this story, what attracted me to it was just the social commentary on how obsessed media is with celebrity culture, pop culture, and the satirical kind of edge, the darkness that he brought to it, and it being a comedy. And then, with my character, I didn't want to show her as being one-dimensional, how we see Britney Spears, how we see Paris Hilton and the other celebrities. I wanted to show the other side of that life.
Question: As somebody who has been exposed to the celebrity culture, was it something that you could identify with?
Lohman: Definitely. I mean, I can identify with it - in some ways it takes a part of you because you don't have your anonymity anymore. It depends on the person. For me, I don't want that in my life. I would rather not be photographed, I would rather not have to do interviews, because I feel uncomfortable doing it. I don't like to expose myself, but I feel like there are some actresses who want that attention. They feel better doing that. Everybody's different, you know?
Question: Do you accept that that is the unfortunate price one pays?
Lohman: Oh, yeah. Just because I'm uncomfortable doing it doesn't mean I'm not going to do it. I don't know. I think you do a certain amount of it. Especially, I mean, the movies that I choose, I want to talk about them, so I want to do this interview, definitely. This interview's great, it's just going out there and doing things.
Question: You're not one of these people who do publicity for the sake of doing publicity.
Lohman: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
In fact, what is interesting about your career is that even though you do alternate when you're doing the odd studio film and doing these indie movies, it seems like the roles you do in the indie movies, obviously are much more satisfying. Are they hard to come by?
Lohman: The indie roles? Any good role, oh my God, I haven't worked in nine months, so it's very hard. I wish I had more parts to choose from, honestly, but it's just not the case, which is fine, because I have other things that I'm working on, too.
Question: Why do you think American films are so scared, or producers, rather, are sort of scared of dealing with issues that are not in the normal parameters of society?
Lohman: Well, because I think it's all about money, really. I mean, if the film's going to be marketable, how many people is it going to appeal to? It's about mass appeal, right? So if an idea becomes too nuanced, intricate, and complex, it's not going to appeal to the majority of people. But you have to have to make everybody happy, and I think that dilutes it or compromises the ideas.
Question: What about the roles that you seek?
Lohman: It is frustrating for me, it is frustrating.
Question: How do you deal with it?
Lohman: I just deal with it. This is part of what it is; these is the choices that I'm making. There's not much you can do, just the best you can. And doing this film, you just don't take as much money.
Question: You must turn down out a lot.
Lohman: I did. At one point, like, The Grudge 2 or whatever. And, honestly, it is, the money that is thrown out there, in a way you're like, "Oh, what I could do with this money would be incredible things."
Question: What do you do?
Lohman: Because I'm strong-willed and I'm stubborn, and I really feel passionate about the project. I really do. I mean, I think there's a message in everything I've done, and whether it fulfills me personally or if it's something that I want other people to see, if I think it's important for society to grasp an idea, it's my small part of what I can do, contribute, I'd rather do that. I'd have this integrity, I guess. I don't know.
Question: You started when you were very young, when you were a kid.
Lohman: I did, in theater.
Question: How has that transition been for you, from the various stages? Did you think, at the time that you began, that you would be sitting here now?
Lohman: Never, never. I did want to study singing when I was moving to NYU and then it was 30 grand a year, so it was too much. So I moved to LA to do independent films to make money, and here I am, still here. But I will. And then I changed my mind. I was like, "Oh, no, I want to study English literature now, and I don't want to do acting." And I change my mind a lot.
Question: So what do you want to do now? If the acting was to dry up, what would you do?
Lohman: If the acting would dry up, what would I do. Well, I wanted to own a farm at one point, or start a farm. When I was a student, I wanted to be a farm girl. I mean, I could, I would be that...
Question: I can't see you as a farm girl.
Lohman: You should, you should see me with animals and nature. I think it's really important to get back to nature and organic farming and supporting the environment.
Question: You are living in the most polluted city in the world.
Lohman: Yeah, well, you have to compromise a little bit.
Question: What are you working on next?
Lohman: Well, the next movie that I'm doing that I want is called Under the Blue Sky, and it's an Iraq war film. which deals with some mysterious issues. I mean, it's unbelievable that the war is still going on. I play the girlfriend of a kid who comes back from war, from his friends being blown up, and how he has to deal with telling their parents the truth of what really happened.
Question: Who will play the boy?
Lohman: Chris Evans.
Question: A new role for him.
Lohman: Yes, yes. It will be good for him. It's very well-written, and it's not preachy, not like hitting you over the head. It gives you both sides, and it makes you think, and it's very emotional. I was crying by the end of the script, and I hardly ever cry when I read a script. So it affected me deeply. And it's really, it's what with what's going on right now, it becomes more intimate and personable, because we just think war is so far off, Iraq is so far that we really don't know the complexity of what these soldiers are going through, and their families.