Katherine Heigl, Golden Globe nominee for her Izzie Stevens role in the hit show Grey’s Anatomy, arrives in a Beverly Hills hotel room wearing a beautiful Oscar de la Renta dress. “I wish I could wear it everyday for the next 2 weeks, but you would get sick of it,” the luminous actress says, smilingly.
While appearing as a perpetual bridesmaid in the upcoming romantic comedy 27 Dresses, Heigl laughs at the irony that she is promoting this marriage-themed comedy while at the same time planning her own wedding. “It was very coincidental timing, as I had been planning my wedding for a year and a half. Fox just decided to release this in January, so that’s not my fault.” While the film’s own finale consists of a large Hollywood-style wedding, in her own life, the actress has more modest plans when she finally steps down the aisle this Christmas. “I’m having a smaller wedding, being it’s a Christmas wedding, so it’s a totally different vibe. What is kind of great about it is that I kind of got to have the best of both worlds. In fantasyland I got to have the beach wedding that was beautiful, fabulous, and wonderful and hopefully my wedding will be just as nice.”
In 27 Dresses Heigl stars as Jane who is idealistic, romantic and completely selfless–a perennial bridesmaid whose own happy ending is nowhere in sight. But when younger sister Tess captures the heart of Jane’s boss–with whom she is secretly in love–Jane begins to reexamine her “always-a-bridesmaid…” philosophy of life. Heigl says there were aspects of Jane with which she identified. “but she was an extreme, and I’ve met and known women like her, who have taken a back seat to what everyone else wants and they don’t really go after their own happiness. What I loved about Jane was the progression of her character. She starts out just a doormat. There are very clear and honest reasons for that, like her mother dyeing when she was little, her relations with her sister, and you understand why she doesn’t go after George. She’s his assistant, she works for him, and it would be unprofessional. At the same time it’s easier than proclaiming your love for somebody and being turned down. She’s sort of chosen the path of least resistance for herself. It ends up hurting her. By the end of the movie there is that dramatic scene where she ruins her sister’s wedding. She is able to break the habit of it and find happiness for herself. She makes that a priority and I liked that part.
While the actress says that she always wanted to do a movie like 27 Dresses, she’s not necessarily into the whole notion of weddings. “I am not that kind of girl really and I haven’t been to very many weddings. I’ve only been to a total of four weddings in my whole life. Obviously I’m a little more sentimental than I originally thought., especially when it came to my sister’s wedding. I do love a great wedding. It was the most glorious day, she was glorious, and perfect. But I wanted to do this movie, not because it was wedding themed, but because I loved the character so much. It was such an awesome opportunity to get to do some comedy as well, not to just be the foil, the girlfriend, or the daughter, the sister, but to actually play a major part in the comedy is what I love to do.”
For Heigl, who began her career as a child before finally blossoming on Grey’s Anatomy, remains grounded and philosophical about her burgeoning career. “I think that the nature of my career certainly changed drastically. It seemed to happen all at once, so it was hard to keep a perspective on it and I think it’s just been the most gratifying and gracious year of my life, personally and professionally. I can only hope that 2008 is just as wonderful, maybe in a different way, because I’m scared to hope that it would be just as awesome as this year.” The actress scored a huge hit in Knocked Up and says there are differences between being in a hit movie and a hit TV show. “I think with the television show, obviously way more people actually see it than they do the movie, so there is suddenly a huge fan base, which is super exciting. It is always really nice that people actually watch your work and enjoy it. The movie took it to a different level in my career, as far as having a film career, and being able to star in a movie. People will actually take that chance on me. Then there is the constant press coverage, the constant paparazzi, and that kind of thing which is very different now. No one used to care if I went to Ralphs. I still don’t care.”
For Heigl, it seems her life is complete but when asked to give advice on life and love to single women searching for their soul mate, the actress smiles and pauses reflectively. “I met my fiancé when I wasn’t looking. I know that is a cliché thing to say, it doesn’t really help all that much, because what does that even mean? I had sort of given up on the idea of marriage and family. I had a relationship that ended, I was really disappointed, and I had all these high hopes. I just went screw it, I don’t need a man and I sort of had given up on the concept of it and figured if I wanted to have a family I could do it on my own. Then boom, I met this guy that I couldn’t imagine living without. I think the more you want it, the more you are looking for it, the more you repel it for whatever reason and I don’t know why. If you kind of create this vacuum, let life take its course, then you tend to free yourself up for the unexpected. I think, especially for Jane in ’27 Dresses’, Kevin was clearly the unexpected choice for her. That is what ended up working out when she was able to let go of her ideals. No, she didn’t let go of her ideals, but her idea, of what the perfect man would be.”
Asked what it is that makes the ideal relationship, Heigl says “I think laughter and communication. That is what really works for Josh [Kelley] and me.”