PopEntertainment.com

It's all the entertainment you need!

 

FEATURE STORIES MOVIE REVIEWS MUSIC REVIEWS BOX SET REVIEWS TV SHOWS ON DVD CONTESTS CONCERT PHOTOS

 

 

  FEATURE STORIES
  INTERVIEWS A TO E
  INTERVIEWS F TO J
  INTERVIEWS K TO O
  INTERVIEWS P TO T
  INTERVIEWS U TO Z
  INTERVIEWS ACTORS
  INTERVIEWS ACTRESSES
  INTERVIEWS BOOKS
  INTERVIEWS DIRECTORS AND SCREENWRITERS
  INTERVIEWS MUSIC
  INTERVIEWS OSCAR NOMINEES
  INTERVIEWS THEATER
  IN MEMORIAM
  REVIEWS
  MOVIE REVIEWS
  MUSIC REVIEWS
  CONCERT REVIEWS
  BOX SET REPORT CARD
  TV SHOWS ON DVD
  MISCELLANEOUS STUFF & NONSENSE
  CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY
  LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
  CONTESTS
  LINKS
  MASTHEAD
  EMAIL US

"WILD YEARS-THE MUSIC & MYTH OF TOM WAITS" BY JAY S. JACOBS

AVAILABLE IN BOOK STORES EVERYWHERE!

 

 vudu.com

PopEntertainment.com > Feature Interviews - Actresses > Feature Interviews A to E > Joan Allen

JOAN ALLEN

THE UPSIDE OF ACTING

By Brad Balfour

Copyright ©2005 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: March 29, 2005.

Actress Joan Allen, long of leg and lithe in form, is also in great form lately having tackled two challenging and divergent characters in The Upside of Anger and Off the Map. With each film being released on exactly same day, they illustrate Allenís skill a developing two very different people grapple with the challenges of becoming middle age and losing (or gaining) the men in their lives. In less than a decade she has garnered three Oscar noms, and played such diverse characters as Pat Nixon and the wife in The Ice Storm. These roles and more have proved her remarkable dexterity as a talent.

Whatís it like to have two films come out at the same time?

I just hope to get the right name of the movie [laughs]. I can watch myself and it almost seems itís not me. It almost seems Iím watching somebody else so I can be more sort of objective about it.

Which character is most like you?

The Upside of Anger was scarier for me to do because of the comic element. And the drinking was such a huge part of it. But I trusted [Upside director/actor] Mike Binder so much; he wrote the part for me and I just had a great sense of him and his sensibility. I knew he wasnít going to let me down; heíd tell me when it was funny and when it didnít work. The best thing to do is be brave. I had to be the bravest I can be and dare to be horrendous. As an actor it was a lot of fun. A little exhausting but very fulfilling.

How were these two directors [Binder and Off The Map director Campbell Scott] alike or different?

Thatís a hard question. They both were kind of quiet. They would just come in and say a few words about something, but not  be intrusive. In some ways I found them a lot similar. They both act as well. Mike has done a lot of acting too.

Being actors, were they more hands on?

It was a good balance. I felt it was a good balance of helping me. I felt like I could go to them. They were helpful when I needed them and not intrusive when they knew I just needed to try it.

What did Campbell and Mike tell you that made them different from a director who hasnít acted before?

One thing they understand is not to tell you too much. The best thing to me that a director can do is making an actor feel safe and loved. I would never work with a director that would make me feel intimidated scared. I would never be able to do my work. Cause youíre out there doing all crazy stuff. And you have to feel loved by the director. Maybe that is a bit strong of a statement but I do need to feel nurtured. Definitely nurtured by the director. And I can try anything and itís really important to me. I think them both being actors I think they have a better idea when to come in when to not when to whisper something to you; When to squeeze your arm. All those things that enable you to be vulnerable, because thatís what our job isóto go out and be vulnerable.

So they can tell when youíre in the zone?

Or you tell them, I canít talk right now. Give me another shot. Donít say anything right now and Campbell is like ďOh, okay.Ē The director has to be incredible sensitive to the acting process.

What motivated you to play this character in Off The Map?

Well initially it took a while to get this movie made. Actually, I turned Campbell down because, for me, when I was reading it, I wanted to be the one who was messed up. Here was another character being the caretaker again. And Campbell was like, ďOh its differentĒ but it took a couple more years when the film came back to me and then I started to see it more as she was very earthy and I thought that would be a lot of fun to play. This woman knows how to fix a car for Godís sake. And that element started to supersede the other part of it.

Even the nude scene?

I told Campbell that I didnít think Iíd be able to do that. And he was set up with the body double and then I told him to be prepared, that I probably would do it. So I ended up doing it. It was scheduled later into the shoot and after I had been in New Mexico for about a month I thought, ďOh I understand naked gardening now.Ē Then I did in my penthouse in New York. In New York I was kind of like ďI donít understand naked gardening with rattlesnakes and tarantulas.Ē It didnít seem smart to me. But it was easier to do because it was not a sexual scene. I wouldnít be able to do a nude sex scene. Campbell said it would be very discreet; itíll be behind things. But you know you have to do it because the IRS agent gets blown out of the water seeing this woman just standing there, naked. It was difficult, but Iím glad that ultimately I did do it.

No naked gardening in your penthouse?

I donít do it here. Iím from the Midwest. My mom would find out somehow. Iím from Northern Illinois. In a small town called Rochelle. 

What were the challenges of this role?

Well you just have to do whatís on the page. It presented a lot of fun opportunities to go to the garbage dump, into the garden and carry a big battery over and slam it downóand I loved the clothes. They were phenomenal because the costume designer got them from thrift stores. She was fabulous. It felt authentic. The landscape was beautiful and just hanging out there. Just all around.

It's great that as an older actress, you are still getting some great roles. Why is that?

I have no idea why it works that way. Itís just what comes out at a certain time. For instance, if Oliver Stone hadnít done Nixon at that time, that was the right role for me at the right time. It just took me to a level of notice within the industry. I look back and Iíve now done five films within the last two yearsóOff the Map, The Notebook, Yes, Upside of Anger and thereís The Bourne Supremacy. I havenít worked for several months now.

Thereís a certain energy that you project...

I just try and do the best with every role I get to do. Hopefully the experience in itself is a good experience and people will want to work with me.

Are you signed up for another Bourne film?

If they decide to do and they write me in I am signed already yes.

Do you enjoy getting a balls out character like that one?

I enjoyed the film. I enjoyed the genre and I loved the director. I loved the other people working on it like Matt Damon. Really nice, really great people. It was one of the hardest roles Iíve ever done. The language was so unemotional it was almost impossible for me to memorize. They kept changing the script as well. It would be lunch and then it would be like here are 4 more pages. Weíre going to shoot this after lunch. That kind of dialogue is like memorizing the phone book. When its not overtly emotional its hard. The lines would just go out of my head! It was like ďuplink the satellite on precinct 3.Ē It was a good challenge.

 Do you feel any pressure to prove yourself to other actresses?

No there is equal footing, Valentina [de Angelis, who plays here daughter in Off The Map] included. She was so prepared, so smart. Her mother wasnít even on the set. Her mother is fabulous. She has a wonderful family. She was so self possessed she would say ďmom can you stay back in the trailer?Ē and mom would be like ďyeah ok.Ē She was there she knew her lines. She had more lines than any of us in the whole film. She had longer hours. Thereís an unselfish consciousness of younger people too. I think that the older you get you have to watch that. I think that when you work with the older actors I look for them to teach me something on how to stay open.

Do you ever want to go back to theatre?

No. No. I did a lot of theatre in my younger life in my Ď20s and I loved it so much. But I prefer working in film these days. But part of it is that its really hard work. Every day you got to go. Everyday. I remember shooting a really emotional scene in the crucible and I came home and I said thank god Iím not doing this in a play because youíd have to do it every night. Itís very demanding.

Are there things you want to do other than acting?

I have been co-producing for a couple of years that hopefully will get done at some point. Itís called Pushers Needed. Itís about a group of working class Irish women who live in Dublin who get to go to Lords with the church and they push the wheel chairs of the cripples who go and get cured. Itís a comedy written and directed by a guy named Jimmy Smallhorn. And Iíve got wonderful actresses who want to do it if the planets aligned and the money and their schedules. Maggie Smith and Kathy Bates want to do it and Claire Danes too. But itís hard to finance.

Email us        Let us know what you think.

Features        Return to the features page

dmindbanner.gif (10017 bytes)

Promotional Products

Shop Aeropostale

Enter Gotham City with Batman Costumes from Spirit Halloween! Protect or destroy the city as Batgirl, Robin, or the Joker. Shop now!

Photo Credits:
#1 © 2005 Paul Chedlow.  Courtesy of New Line Productions.  All rights reserved.
#2 © 2005 Paul Chedlow.  Courtesy of New Line Productions.  All rights reserved.
#3 © 2005 Paul Chedlow.  Courtesy of New Line Productions.  All rights reserved.
#4 © 2005 Courtesy of Holedigger Studios.  All rights reserved.
#5 © 2005 Courtesy of Holedigger Studios.  All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2005 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: March 29, 2005.

www.wbshop.com

Microsoft

 

Everyday Beautiful

Webroot Inc.

Copyright ©2005 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: March 29, 2005.