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I Want Candy - Carmen Electra interview

Carmen Electra in I Want Candy

Interview by Rob Carnevale

CARMEN Electra talks about shooting British comedy I Want Candy, appearing in Playboy and being the face of Max Factor.

She also reveals how she sees her own image, why she’s happy to continue being sexy for as long as possible, and plans to appear in a new show in Las Vegas…

Q. How thrilled were you when you first heard that you were possibly going to be in a film set in Leatherhead? What appealed to you about it?
A: [Laughs] Initially I was just sent the script and I read it and thought it was really funny. I guess, for me, I’ve done a lot of comedies that were more physical, sort of slapstick, in yer face kind of comedies, so it was kind of nice because I didn’t have to get hit over the head with anything or run into trees or fall off of anything. I thought the script was really clever and written really well and that it would be really fun to shoot in London and work with a British cast.

Q. This is one of your first leading roles. Was that a conscious choice? Had you been building up to it with cameos in films like Scary Movie and Starsky & Hutch?
A: It just happened to come along at the right time. Honestly, I’ve never put that much thought into it in terms of “I’m going to do these cameos and then try something else…” I’ve always tried and auditioned. This was more than anything about getting the script, reading it and thinking this could be really fun – not only the chance to play a porn star but to get the chance to play a character that actually is a good person and has a good heart. I liked the layers of the character.

So many people, especially in that industry, have sexy images or they get looked at for one thing, so I think that’s what pulled me in. I liked Candy and wanted to play her.

Q. How did you find being on an English set with an English crew? Was it vastly different or is filmmaking the same the world over?
A. We had to basically shoot all my scenes within two weeks, so it was a gruelling schedule. I remember shooting in the summer during a rare heatwave here. It was so hot. There was no air conditioning. I walked away thinking how professional all the actors and crew were because not one person complained.

I think we are sometimes really spoiled but this was really sweet because everyone worked really hard. Everyone was pouring sweat but we had no fans. I was trying to get them some little hand-held ones…

Q. Were there any English traditions that took you by surprise, such as tea breaks or bacon sarnies?
A. Not much of a lunch break, I remember that! It was: “Can we shoot through lunch?” That was really interesting…

Q. How do you think your fans in America will enjoy this kind of English humour?
A. I think Americans love British comedy. It’s showing more and more all the time. I think Americans will be up for it and it’ll get a good reaction.

Q. You mentioned your image. What do you perceive to be the image you put out and what do you think people see your image as being? Where’s the real you in all that?
A: It’s interesting because I started off being a dancer. That was my passion and my love and it still is. I thought I would dance on Broadway, that was my dream. So imagine my parents and what they were thinking when I ended up posing nude in Playboy! I guess I’ve always been a little bit rebellious!

But I’m glad I did and I love the magazine. It’s been a major learning process for me to figure out who I am and what it is I want to do and what image I wanted to put out there. I still love being sexy and I still put out that image because it’s a part of who I am. But I think over time you learn from each experience and each job and it helps direct your life. It helped me put myself in a direction that I want to go in. But I still want to do sexy stuff for as long as I can. Why not?

Q. What did your parents say about Playboy?
A. You know, it’s funny because I didn’t really know what to expect. But they were so supportive. My grandmother even went to the beauty salon and brought in my Playboy so that all the grannies who were having their hair done were looking at it. I thought that was really interesting. I guess they were really proud of me.

Q. Carmen Electra could well be a porn star movie name. Is that your real name?
A. No, it’s not. My real name is Tara Patrick. But Carmen Electra does sound like a porn name – or a super hero! I actually had a record deal with Prince in the ’90s and at that time there was an artist out by the name of Tara. So, he suggested that I change my name and I did.

Q. Are you Carmen Electra to your fans and Tara to friends and family?
A. It’s just sort of started to catch on. Sometimes my family call me Tara but for the most part they calle me Carmen, which is really sweet and supportive.

Q. Is being the face of Max Factor a career in itself? Does it give you the ability to do other things as well?
A: Yeah, that’s what’s so great about it. I get to be a girlie girl because I love make-up and being part of such a legendary brand is really cool. But it does give me so much time to do so many other things. I’m preparing to start a show in Las Vegas with illusionist Hans Klok where I get to dance, perform and get on stage again. There are so many different things, so I feel very blessed.

Q. I love the charming way that Candy Fiveways got her name in the film [by taking the name of her first pet and the name of the road she grew up on]. What would your porn name become?
A. Mine’s really boring – Heidi Hermes.

Read our review of I Want Candy

View photos of Carmen Electra