Damn, you should get an infomercial or something.
I’m not saying I’m conceited, but I’m that kind of person. If you say “don’t do this”—well, not you—but if I were to resolve to do something, I’d do it.
Which is why you’re successful and I cry myself to sleep. With your top-billed roles in The Happening and now Yes Man, people are looking at 2009 as the year you’re going “big” Hollywood.
The more you guess what people are going to like and dislike, to me, that is corrupting the product.
I take it you’ve been hearing that a lot lately.
I’ve been an actress for so long that I’ve heard so many people say that so many times: “You’re this year’s It Girl!” And I’m like, “You said that to me in 2001 and 2004,” you know what I mean? You go in and out of style; I’ve had years where it’s definitely like I’m not that cool this year.
You don’t buy into the hype?
My philosophy is that art should be as pure as possible, and as much as there is a separate component of audience reaction, whatever creative things I do should be unaffected. I don’t ever want to do something in anticipation of someone. The more you guess what people are going to like and dislike, to me, that is corrupting the product.
But as much as you want to be beyond the hype machine, there’s a different set of expectations between something like The Go-Getter and The Happening, right?
I don’t know. I mean, a movie is a movie is a movie. Some you’re on for longer, some experiences are better than others, but they’re all the same structure. Even when you’re working on a small movie, it’s still a lot of money. You either have a smaller or bigger trailer or no trailer, but you’re still gonna sit somewhere and wait and the AD is going to call you to set and you have a director that tells you what to do. It looks different from the outside, but it’s just…
Different catering budgets.
Looking back, which projects mean the most to you, either your role or the film in general?
You know, I really like a lot of things for different reasons. There was this movie, All the Real Girls, which was a great experience for me, and it was a time in my life where it was a fun collaborative experience, and I really loved working with the director—
David Gordon Green. With Pineapple Express, he became the It Director! And Danny McBride [who made his film debut in All the Real Girls] became the It Comedian! For a film made in 2003, All the Real Girls seems like this year’s It Movie.
It’s so cool. Danny McBride wasn’t an actor. There were like three people supposed to play that part—actors from L.A.—and they all fell out. And I remember we were in rehearsals two weeks before we were supposed to start shooting and David was all mad and was like, “I’m just gonna call my friend Danny—he’s funny as shit.” [Laughs.] After that movie, I was like, “I don’t know why he isn’t the most famous person in the world, he’s so hilarious.” And now I’m like, “Oh, it takes seven years.” But here he is, this amazing comedy star.
Speaking of comedy, what’s your approach to it? You have this great deadpan style, whereas with Jim Carrey…well, nobody’s accusing that guy of being subtle.
Jim is so electrically funny and such a huge talent. He can pull off very, very broad humor and still have it rooted in reality. I try to keep things rooted in reality and have the comedy come out of the situation. One thing I like about working with Jim is that he goes back [and looks at the playback after each take]. It’s so much of a timing thing, and you can really see it when you watch from the outside. It can be very technical in a way that’s fun and interesting to play with.