Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Conversation With Amy Adams

The Light in Her Heart
"There are people who go after your humanity, Sister James. Who tell you the light in your heart is a weakness. That your soft feelings betray you. Don't believe them."
Those words are spoken to a meek nun who is uncomfortably wedged between two very potent personalities with agendas in John Patrick Shanley's Doubt. The film version is nominated for five Oscars, including one for Sister James herself, Amy Adams. If the movie star in this nun's cowl has ever had any similar doubts about her own "soft feelings" it isn't showing. She knows they're no weakness but a strength. She's been spreading joy in movie theaters like there's an endless supply of it. If there's a current movie star who embodies "the light in your heart" isn't it Amy Adams? She seems content and grateful for this particular persona. As she told me in our conversation, she doesn't feel the need to step away from the cheery innocents just yet. "I'm not really interested in doing something just so I can prove I can do it. I really enjoying the roles I'm doing." In short, she has no immediate plans to dim the light.

Even before she became a household name for her cheer and comic gifts, Amy had specialized in madly grinning perky girls. Think of her exuberantly comic beauty queens in Drop Dead Gorgeous or Psycho Beach Party or that metal mouth cutie in Catch Me If You Can. Those were small roles but she was shining in them. It all came together for the gifted actress when she got the part of the very pregnant meercat-loving Ashley in 2005's Junebug. A well received Oscar nomination followed. Two years later she became a major star when she aced the animated princess as flesh and blood role of "Giselle" in the smash hit, Enchanted. She missed out on an Oscar nomination for the latter but she still ended up at the big show anyway, terrified and singing a wordy song to Hollywood's biggest names. "People will forgive me if I'm not a perfect singer, I'm an actress." She remembers, laughing. "These were the lies I told myself... among others!"



Her ascendance in Hollywood the past few years seems like a fairy tale itself -- all sudden and complete, glamorous and, well, happy (though an ending is thankfully nowhere in sight). The public rarely notices the years spent building up to these breakthroughs but the Princesses of Hollywood are usually ladies in waiting first. Amy was game to talk about those less lucrative years, too, fielding fannish questions about guesting on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and that rarely discussed through line in her career: she also took over a Sarah Michelle Gellar role early on and her next film with Meryl Streep Julie & Julia is based on a book with frequent Buffy obsessing in its pages. Amy sadly informs that the book's Buffy musing get the axe in the film version. And yet, even with this supernatural diversion to the conversation it all keeps coming back to the Disney princesses. Her most vivid memory from the Buffy set is singing The Little Mermaid on a lunch break with Joss Whedon.

Despite all those years in the trenches of TV and bit parts, her career is the stuff of fairy tale princesses now, especially since she got there playing Giselle. In grittier terms I wonder if she's feeling like a rock star what with the mass love and adoration -- I'm guessing she could fill stadiums. "I don't know if rock star is the right word..." she counters, "but I'm having a good time."

The best option is the iTunes version i.e. the enhanced podcast but you can listen to the simplified mp3 if you don't have an enhanced player.

Enjoy, discuss and please do share your favorite Amy Adams related moment in the comments. It's hard to choose just one, isn't it? If the mere thought of narrowing down your favorite Amy memory is exhausting, please feel free to nap in a nearby meadow or hollow tree.

We understand.
*

25 comments:

Wayne B. said...

The moments during her initial interview when she gives a shout-out to her rando (possibly closeted) bf Pat and the Huskies, the FISH FACE and that little giggle, a fan was born in me. love her comedic timing, LESLIE MILLER KICKS TEEN PRINCESS ASS!

Sean said...

No mention of her role as Jim's pseudo-Pam, former cheerleader girlfriend on the Office?!?!

Keelay! said...

I did chuckle to myself at the end with your "yeah" after she stated how great of an actress Hilary Swank is. Don't know why, but definitely giggled.

But this interview just reconfirmed my absolute love for her.

Oh and I'm with Sean, where's "The Office" mention? ;)

Casey Fiore said...

I loved when you asked Amy if she knew Hillary Swank and she said Hillary was a terrific actress. you gave a great... "yeaaaahhhh". aka. "im not a fan"

NATHANIEL R said...

the hilary moment. Uncomfortable! but Amy was great fun to talk to. and I did really love what she said about the dueling Amelias. "I assure you..." ha ha

Anonymous said...

Oh Please, that's just another way of saying that she doesn't want to challenge herself and do something different. She's so fucking overrated it's insane.

Neel Mehta said...

Amy Adams was in Psycho Beach Party? I need to see that again...

The Know Nothing Know It All said...

Someone beat me to it!
I wanted to comment on the Swank moment as well. I think Nathaniel handled it very diplomatically. That being said, a sinister part of me wanted to hear you let on about how you're not a fan, only to have Amy get all Sister James on you.
"You just don't like her! You don't like that she has two Oscars and Michelle Pfeiffer has none and you're letting that convince you of something terrible!"

Amy's awesome. And if you left that podcast learning nothing else, it's that the sweetness thing isn't an act. Translation: she wouldn't let you know that she thinks Hilary Swank sucks even if she does.

Carl said...

I do so respect the bravery of you folks out there who decry performers with foul language, and then have the courage to sign yourselves "Anonymous"...

Favorite moment is an easy call. I went to see "Enchanted" in mid-December with very low expectations. As the last frame slid through the projector and the sound system buzzed its brief three seconds of static, I was still sitting in my seat with my jaw bouncing off my knees, saying to myself, "I have just seen the best performance by an actress in a leading role for 2007."

I will be first in line for "Sunshine Cleaning." I will be first in line to hear Amy Adams read the ingredient list on a can of "Raid." I am bedazzled.

Anonymous said...

My name is MICHAEL M-I-C-H-A-E-L.
Like I give a damn if you know my name. What are you going to do punch me over the internet??? I just like my actresses with more range and Amy isn't one of them.

Ziyad said...

She's just soooo cute!

Look what I dicovered Nathaniel, while I was listening to the podcast:

http://www.lastfm.es/music/Nathaniel+Rogers

You have a Last.fm Page with 56 Scrobblings!

NATHANIEL R said...

Ziyad

I have no idea what scrobblings are!

but i'm glad they chose a good picture of me cuz i'm sure there are bad ones out there

Matt Mazur said...

Fantastic piece/interview, Nathaniel!

Michael Parsons said...

I do love her. And she was a nasty piece of work in buffy. She can play against type!!!

Derek said...

Favorite Amy moment: It's hard to beat the look on her face in Junebug when Embeth Davidtz reveals that she was born in Japan, and Amy's subsequent "You were not" is absolute perfection.

RobT said...

Wow, how did you land a big interview like that? That was great.

Anonymous said...

I loved it when she said I am so close to bringing down meryl...LOVE HER

I was reading the other day that Amy Adams may win the oscar over the Cruz or Tomei,an out there theory... but even that wont make me hate her!

She is adorable

Ali Arikan said...

This is great stuff, Nathaniel; thank you.

NATHANIEL R said...

where ya been robt... also had marisa tomei on and others, too ... :) but yes i was thrilled to be granted the audience.

I'm totally curious about the next few years of her career and like michaelp said, she has more range. the Buffy spot isn't the only time she's played mean. it's just she's been keeping that under wraps. and like Patty Clarkson in Far From Heaven when the nice ones sour for a particular role, it can be extra chilling.

so when she does get around to a darker part...

derek ikept thinking the soundbytes should be shorter but she was so delightful in those clips it was really hard to make the cuts ;)

Kurtis O said...

OMG, this has nothing to do with the lovely Amy Adams. But I had to mention that as soon as I saw your new banner, having recently re-watched Kate Winslet's "Extras" episode repeatedly, all I could think about was all those folks "polishing their Oscars." Many sick-minded laughs ensued. Cheers to TFE gearing up for the big day!

Brian said...

So glad you mentioned Celia Weston. The other day a co-worker was going crazy trying to figure out the identity of a familiar face in the Observe and Report trailer, and imdb wasn't cutting it. He showed me the shot and thanks to Junebug I was able to place her. Terrific film.

Anonymous said...

My god... i wanna marry this woman. Love her sooooooo much

adam k. said...

This is only tangentially related to Amy Adams, but...

I just saw Doubt today, and whoever made that crack in a comment about how Viola Davis "eats her own snot" in her big scene totally killed that scene for me. All I could think of the whole time was the drip, drip, drip of her snot down her face.

To be perfectly honest, I'd actually seen the scene already over YouTube (and I'd seen the play before that), so I knew what happened. But the snot wasn't visible on my tiny computer screen with the bad YouTube quality! So I originally thought it was total embellishment. But then in the theater, it was RIGHT THERE, plain as day! So it was extra surprising, even as it was known to me in advance.

I was literally cracking up silently in my seat, trying desperately to hold it together. But apparently my friend next to me didn't notice.

Just thought I'd share.

(Amy Adams was good, too)

Dale said...

My favourite moment is the duet from Miss Pettigrew. I couldn't believe my luck when I heard Lee Pace and Amy Adams were in a movie together, and then they were singing together, and my mind pretty much melted into OMGPace-AdamsCUUUUTEandsinging!

Agustin said...

adam k,
I haven't heard any of the eating her own snot comments on Viola
but when I saw Doubt and her scene started it was the only thing I could see,
so if you no one had told you about it, the same thing would have happened.
because of that i had to download the movie to watch viola´s performance again