Lara Flynn Boyle is not only one of TV’s toughest prosecutors, but with Jack Nicholson and a weight issue dominating the press, the beautiful actress is more than happy to be LFB lead in one of the biggest films of the year. She discussed some issues – and skirted around others – with Paul Fischer in New York.
Question: So was it fun getting into the skin of an alien bad girl?
Answer: Yeah, not bad, not bad. If you’ve got a good girl or you’ve got a bad girl, bad girl is always going to be much more fun to play. I have nothing to prove. I just want to have fun. So, for me going in there and having the great Chi Chi dialogue and putting on the great clothes and prancing around and holding my own in a room full of really cool men. I’d pay them to do that.
Question: Well, you have The Practice too you know. I mean you hold your own against that. Was it important to you to make sure that you go from that character to somebody that was 180 degrees from your TV character?
Answer: No, not really. You know a lot of actors try to, but I don’t have to prove anything. I’m not trying to say okay I can do this and say okay I can do that. And aren’t I good and aren’t I talented? I just thought it would be a lot of fun and I was such a huge fan of the first one.
Question: What was it like on the set because you have to work in so many gadgets and I’m sure a lot of green screening work and things like that?
Answer: It took a lot of imagination. It took a lot of blind faith and trust. You feel a little foolish some day. You run the risk of overacting you know? That was a big fear of mine. And I wanted to copy Tommy Lee Jones and be cool like him.
Question: Was that easy to do?
Answer: It’s harder than it looks. I have a lot of respect, more respect for them now after being part of the process. There’s a little scene where he goes and he opens his locker and he’s talking to the lockerettes. There was nothing there. You know, I mean staring at a pen you know? And I watched that scene and I think you know my God, he embodies magic. To see those two guys do that and pull that off. No matter how good your special effects are, no matter how great the aliens look, the old fashioned truth.
Question: You were cast In the last minute?
Answer: In the last minute, yeah.
Question: Were you sort of surprised they came to you or how did you react when they DID cast you?
Answer: I thought well it’s about time. I went in and read for Barry Sonnenfeld prior when he was auditioning people and I found out it didn’t look like it was going to work out and I just thought well that’s their loss. I would have been great in this. This is my cup of tea so when it came around and it looked like it was going to work out for me, I was actually pleasantly surprised that they had a clue, they figured it out. I was very happy for them.
Question: You talked about you wanted to be cool like Tommy Lee Jones, what makes him so cool? I mean he doesn’t have leading man good looks really.
Answer: Cause he’s a man. Cause he’s a real man and there are not many real men on film. And when you come across one inevitably they’re going to become a huge movie star because it’s what we want to see. You don’t want to see a guy with a trainer working out with an acting coach to be macho. You want somebody macho. And he’s just that. I mean he’s the real deal. Not a put on. It hasn’t been practiced or rehearsed; he’s the real deal.
Question: Who would you compare him to? I mean who are the Òreal menÓ are there left in Hollywood.
Answer: Why none come to mind. [Laughter]
Question: So if he’s a real man how do you define Will Smith?
Answer: I define Will Smith as perfect. I define him he’s Jesus like. He can do no wrong. He is truly so enormously talented. I think the key besides all of his huge talent ahm, I think the main reason he is a movie star is that you want to be around him and there’s a lot of great actors out there, but you know, if you’re going to spend 3 and a half months with somebody whose awful or if you’re going to spend 3 and a half months with somebody that’s really nice to be around, it’s because it’s magic that they bring everyday with them, you want to be around that.
Question: How would you define yourself?
Answer: How do I define myself? Oh gee, multifaceted, I define myself? You know I don’t know. I don’t know. I spend so much time trying to get rid of my stereotypes or my definitions. I don’t actually spend much time knowing what they are. I think you spend so much getting rid of
Question: Do you read what has been written about you?
Answer: I look at the pictures. I do.
Question: What about the tabloid press? Do you take much notice of that?
Answer: I look at the pictures. If I can see them you know? I don’t want to be caught buying one. You know you see those photos of everybody buying the stuff. I don’t buy them, but I sure look at my picture.
Question: What’s the most ridiculous headline that have been in the tabloids about you?
Answer: They’re always ridiculous. Always ridiculous. You know they don’t ruin my day and I have to find flattery in there somewhere and I have to understand the curiosity. I’m curious about people too. ]
Question: What’s going on with The Practice?
Answer: Ah, I don’t know any more than you do other than I go back at the end of July. I’m the last; I cannot keep a secret so I never know what’s going to happen. They don’t tell me.
Question: How long are you going to be with it and all that?
Answer: Oh, how long am I going to be with it? Until I don’t get any more challenging, amazing, well-written closing arguments? When I’m not taken seriously anymore over there. When David Kelly removes his confidence and faith in me. Then I’ll go. Until then I’m not going anywhere.
Question: Before The Practice, you had already had a pretty successful film career.
Answer: Yeah. I did low budget movies before they were called independent movies.
Question: Right. Was it a concern for you going to television? Did you feel that you were kind of?
Answer: It was mandatory because I was at a place where I could get and I would do ahh a groovy movie for a month of two here, but I wasn’t acting on a weekly basis and it was making me crazy. I needed to find something fast where I could do good scenes with good actors.
Question: What have you liked the most there? The most of doing the Practice.
Answer: Oh, that I can do it. It’s a grueling process. It is the, I say it is the most; the hours in a one hour drama are unbelievable. I mean we shoot 48 minutes of film in 8 days from 5 in the morning until 10 at night. That’s a regular day. It’s a lot of hard work. And I have found that it’s the toughest job in show business.
Question: What satisfies you the most about it?
Answer: I think what satisfies me the most is after 5 and 6 years being a part of it and working in the same environment day after day being able to find importance to the work everyday. That satisfies me when I can pull that off. Not take it for granted. I mean a lot of times you get to this place as an actor on this show or something and it’s going away a little and it’s ahh, well, I’m going to stop now and now I’m going to go only do movies and this has done what it’s going to do for me and now a days you got to really be happy where you are. Especially for women that want to work and do good work, movies, TV, TV, movies. You have to stay where the work is so I don’t want to make any mistakes that have been made in the past by other actors with jumped off shows. I realize I’ve got a good thing.
Question: Is part of the reason doing a movie like MIB2 is because it tells studios and what not but because you’re out there? There’s more to you than?
Answer: Oh sure. I mean we love that. I mean that’s very genuine. I’m thrilled I mean I am on this hit classic show now, you know after two years you become classic and I’m coming out in a blockbuster huge groovy movie. I mean I’m having a good year. Question: What kind of ambitions do you have that are unfulfilled?
Answer: Nothing is unfulfilled; I just want more of this.
Question: How was it when it wasn’t there for you when you were doing the smaller movies and when you were looking for something where you could work everyday that would be higher profile that would be a movie?
Answer: I never look for things higher profile. I’ve always looked for things I thought were cool. It was frustrating not to work everyday. You know, I come from Chicago and in Chicago, I started out being in Chicago and I you know do little TV shows, you know little movies. And I kept waiting tables because this is so boring. I mean I come from a very strong work ethic. And it was very frustrating to me to work for a while and then not know when I was going to work again. I’m not into fear. I love solid work and you know having a place to go and it did. It got very frustrating.
Question: Is it fair to say that when your name showed up in the gossip column, actually it could be worse, but it does raise your profile as an actress.
Answer: You know, I don’t think it raises your profile as an actress. Celebrity I think it does, but as an actor you know? And me included, if I go to a movie and I know so much about the actor and the celebrity side of it. Sometimes it can take you out of the story. So as an actor, that means sometimes you have to work twice as hard. As for being famous and the glories that go behind that of course it raises it, but I don’t think it helps the work.
Question: How do you feel about when people talk about actresses now kind of being role models for young girls?
Answer: Well we shouldn’t. We shouldn’t be role models. We’re communicators but that’s about it. You know? There are, there are people that are role models. I think that a lot of women politicians are important for young women to see. The people that work hard for no gratification. No money, no nothing. Those people are important for young women. I don’t like it. Actresses should not be role models. We have communication and entertainment at our disposal, but that’s about it.
Question: How about in relation to the your own weight and the way that has been talked about in the press?
Answer: You know the more I answer those questions then the more tied up and putting it in print for young girls to even read about the topic. I’m sorry. I wish not to.
Question: How would you best describe your best day doing what you do? What would you learn from it?
Answer: I have to say the best days are when I’m working. I like being on a set all day. I like joking around and hanging out with the crew. Now if it was a perfect day I’d do that until about 5:00 in the afternoon? Then I’d go home, take off the 25 pounds of make up and hair and then I’d love to go and sit at a big dinner, knowing that I had a late call the next day. That’s a perfect day.
Question: Can you be both a celebrity and a movie star and still be taken?
Answer: Yes. You can, you can. It’s as I said about it’s harder. Celebrity does not help a role. It does not help an audience immediately grab you as a character. It takes them longer. You can do both, but it is harder to get your actor persona out there. You know whether it’s a TV show or a movie because you have to work, you have to takes the audience a little longer to look at you as a character.
Question: Do you ignore the celebrity thing of what you do? For you personally? Do you put it aside or is it impossible to do that?
Answer: You have to when you work. When you’re on set or whatever, you have to focus on the reality of the scene. Yes, and I can go weeks just working and going home and getting up and doing it again. I can ignore it . But then I’m usually pleasantly reminded somewhere down the day.