"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.