Selma Blair, dressed in black, often cuts something of a gothic figure, but appearances can be deceptive. Rugged up and sitting on a couch following a swag of interviews promoting her latest film, Hellboy, Blair laughingly agrees that she tries not to take things so seriously.
“I think if I take things too seriously I’d wind up with just so many neuroses,” she says, referring to her eagerness to answer any questions from the press thrown her way, from “vaginal dryness” to tonguing Hellboy, both of which were brought up, albeit tongue-in-cheek of course, in a previous group interview. “I have such a huge love and trust for people which I probably shouldn’t have. I don’t know what makes some people so guarded, though sometimes I really wish I was ’cause not everyone’s going to get me and then that really hurts when people misinterpret you. I think you care what people say.”
Blair, known for her some of her more offbeat comic roles, literally burns up the screen as the fiery Liz Sherman in Hellboy, the new $60m film adaptation of the 10-year old monster-bashing cartoon strip. Not the obvious project one associates with the 31-year old actress, Blair admits to being surprised because beforehand, I didn’t even know this world. What is the attitude of this world? But just being around it, it’s pretty easy to get impassioned about this fantasy world, which is very creative and imaginative. Now you know they’ve rubbed off on me and I love it. I love all these comics and I’m glad they gave me the opportunity to find it.” Having won an MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss in Cruel Intentions, Blair doubts as to whether she’ll win again kissing the heavily made-up Hellboy. “Maybe I’ll get a nomination, because I don’t think we have enough tongue for him to be kissed,” she says laughingly.
Shooting on location in Prague may have been great for some, but Blair, who had about a month of not filming, found the experience lonely, she recalls. At the time she was still single. “It becomes very solitary, which I don’t deal with very well;” the actress explains, but hastens to add that “I don’t deal with it terribly destructively either. But it was a real standstill period for me, so I just tended to walk. I tend to wander and now I have my dog and we’d go on these walks that can be incredibly depressing. When you’re by yourself and don’t have anyone to look forward to seeing when you get home, you can also look for some adventure, maybe meet someone on set, but I really do just read a lot.”
Her loneliness did come to an end not long after completing Hellboy, when she met Ahmet Zappa, son of legendary rocker Frank. Blair admits to having been surprised to have re-discovered love again so quickly, having broken off with her most recent boyfriend prior to shooting Hellboy. “It’s a surprise how much your life can change in a day, and that’s what happened. I mean I’m still very much independent in myself but I was surprised, as I’d really given up hope in finding someone that I could feel so comfortable with and one that would inspire me.” Blair only dated Zappa for a few short months before deciding to get married. “I didn’t think of marriage until he asked me and to go into something with so much intention, it just felt right to say okay, let’s have a relationship. Sure, we could always get divorced and that’s perfectly fine too, so why marry? It seemed like an emotional bond, that we were will to stay with each other and a very comforting thing.” Before she found a husband, Blair discovered her love of acting, which began to fill a void in her life. “I think getting to tell stories fills anyone with a void. I mean, we read and write stories, we like stories read to us and we like to watch movies. Therefore all of us can fill a void or to fill some moment at least, and to get some better understanding of ourselves. So, I do find that playing and get to pretend everyday fills tons of empty spaces.”
Next for Blair, is a role as varied from Hellboy as one can muster. In John Waters’ new, irreverent comedy A Dirty Shame, Blair will play the large-breasted Caprice Stickles. “Working on that was a great experience, but very strange. It was bizarre how so many people laughed at my breasts everyday going to work,” Blair laughingly admits. “No one has every really noticed my breasts much at all in my real life so that was a real departure for me.” She says she had a great time wearing fake boobs. “You know this business is so much fun. You just slap those breasts on, say John’s words and you’re in his world. I mean, he just writes offbeat, pretty outrageous characters.” None more than that character, which the actress describes as “a girl who got hit on the head when I was little, and that turned me into a sex addict. So I am this girl who’s under house arrest, because my daddy says I’m too pretty to go out. I just want to have sex all the time.”
Selma, often the self-perceived outsider, may have finally arrived, not that she feels that way. “I feel very much like an actor-in-waiting and that I have a million things to prove.” From Hellboy to John Waters, the proof is in the final outcome.