Sigourney Weaver Talks "You Again," Theater and Downloading Lil Wayne Songs
Thu, 23 Sep 2010 13:52:39
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Sigourney Weaver can do it all.
She possesses a vibrant versatility that very few actresses can muster, and that's why her performances never fail to pack a punch. Her legendary turn as Ellen Ripley in Alien paved the way for all kinds of female heroines [and got her an Oscar nod for Aliens], and three decades since Alien she still managed to steer the ship in Avatar with poetic poise as Dr. Grace Augustine. However, she really flips the script in You Again. Weaver imbues Ramona with an undeniable charm that elicits massive laughs. Paralleling the battle between Marni [Kristen Bell] and Joanna [Odette Yustman], Ramona has her own rivalry dating back to high school with Jamie Lee Curtis's Gail, and it's just as fiery and feisty! Weaver lights up the screen with class and cleverness that makes for an unforgettable and undeniable turn as Ramona.
You Again star Sigourney Weaver sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about balancing humor and heart in the film, her theater in New York, The Flea, and why she's downloading Lil Wayne tunes…
Don't miss You Again when it hits theaters September 24 via Walt Disney Pictures/Touchstone Pictures.
You Again balances those heartfelt moments with comedy very well. Was that something that attracted you to the film?
I think it was. I felt that underneath all of this screwball stuff, there was a real core of feelings that a lot of people share. Even now, people look back at high school and think about all of this. Most people didn't feel comfortable in high school, and some people were so successful that's been a hard thing to continue. I think everyone has high school horror stories; I know I do. I thought it was a great idea to take this as a base and build all of this comedy on top of it.
Those four years are so crucial to everybody, and that's what the movie's really about. You really form yourself during that time. The characters have the same hang-ups and issues that they did when they were in school.
I think that's really true. Some of it is pretty hardcore stuff, yet I think it's wonderful that the movie shows there is redemption and there is a second chance. It's a learning curve, but we can all get there and find our common humanity.
Did the deep back story allow you to get closer to Ramona?
When I read the script, I thought, "That's why she's so awful in the beginning!" She really wants Jamie Lee Curtis's character to think, "Who is this amazing woman?" I think that's a very human desire. I felt it was certainly in the writing. We just built on it, and we all had such a good time working with each other too.
The humor inherent in Ramona's character hits very hard.
Andy [Fickman, director] really encouraged us to improvise. When I give out all of the presents in the film, I improvised the line asking if buying everyone's affection actually worked [Laughs]. I thought throwing in all of those "Ramona" idiosyncrasies was so much fun. Otherwise, she could be a little tough. I thought about what's underneath though. She's very smart, and she's been hurt. She's going to try to be everything she feels she has to be in this situation. Of course, it's a lot of effort, and she can't sustain it. They all grow.
Do you ever listen to music to get into character?
I don't, but I think it's a good idea to do that. If I were going to be Ramona-oriented with music, I'd listen to a lot of Bossa Nova [Laughs]. I could see her doing all of that!
Who is typically on your playlist?
I listen to a lot of world music, afro-pop and South American music. I'm all over the place! My husband is a really good musician, and he hears this stuff on podcasts and we put it on our iPods. It's cool! I love it. Music is everything.
Does You Again remind you of any songs? Were you listening to anything while you were making it?
That's a good question! I don't think I had time. I was very busy at that time, and I was staying at a hotel. I just didn't listen to music that much because I was conscious of the people next door. I didn't, and yet music really helps my work. I'll do it next time [Laughs]. I have to play a really bad vampire in this Amy Heckerling comedy called Vamps so I'm trying to download a lot of Lil Wayne and get out there [Laughs].
Was the dance sequence in You Again particularly fun?
I used to do a lot of dance in high school actually; I was a big choreographer. That was funny because I was tall when I was eleven, even. You have to know, I was just like a giant spider [Laughs]. For me, it was so perfect that Ramona would be such a good dancer. We really worked hard on that sequence too. Kyle [Bornheimer, Tim] and I were always going for extra rehearsals [Laughs].
Were you constantly surprised by things on set because the movie doesn't feel like a typical romantic comedy?
It wasn't. I think Andy has a really different showman sort of style. I've never worked with anyone like that. We all gave Betty White a standing ovation every time she walked on set. It was a really fun set. Andy really encourages improvisation. We had that live music come in, and he's really a showman. I think we all brought our energy up because of that. Andy loves musicals and the theater. That's one of the first things we talked about when I met him. I'm involved with a theater in New York called The Flea. If you haven't been, you've got to come the next time you're in New York! [Check out the web site]. Most of our audience is young because our ticket prices are so low. We have what we call "The Geezer Show" at 7, and at 9:30 we'll have another show. Sometimes at 11:30, we'll have another show. We have a young company, and it's awesome. Plus, we have a lot of new music and dance there too.
What's the story behind the theater?
My husband and I helped found the theater about 15 years ago because there was nothing like that when I came to New York. Usually, if you see this great edgy new work, it's often in a theater that's not heated or dangerous. We wanted to build a state-of-the-art theater to honor this new work, and we did.
Does constantly finding different projects like You Again keep you interested in acting? You've done so many incredible films over the years.
That's it. I totally love jumping all over the place. I feel very fortunate that I get to do this. I also work with a lot of young directors who have grown up seeing my movies and they think of me! I get to work with them on whatever they're onto. I feel very fortunate. To jump is just very natural for me. If I do a drama, I feel I have to do a comedy instantly. It's almost like an antidote.
Well, I play the vampire, and then I'm going over to Spain to do this action movie with Bruce Willis. Then I'm going to hopefully do this comedy with Kate Beckinsale. Then I have a bunch of movies coming out next year. It's a whirlwind!
Will you be seeing You Again? What's your favorite Sigourney Weaver movie?
Check out the cast's high school song's playlist here!