My Super Ex-Girlfriend - Uma Thurman interview
Compiled by Jack Foley
UMA Thurman talks about playing a superhero in My Super Ex-Girlfriend, her career so far and why she judges her career choices on the quality of the script and the director.
Q: Romantic comedies have taken quite an evolution of late, do you think My Super Ex-Girlfriend is a pro-male film?
A. That’s a really good question because I don’t know the answer. Think about it this way – it’s written by a man and directed by a man, produced by a bunch of men and then there was me. So is it a male nightmare? Or is it a female cathartic revolution to sort of go completely crazy and let him have it?
Q: What factors are involved when you pick a project?
A. There are a lot of directors that I haven’t worked with yet that I’d like to work with. But what do I look for? I look to be challenged. I look to do something new. I look to work with people I admire. I tend to focus on the director but now I really do look at the script. If something doesn’t offer me a good part, I’m just going to be another boring actor on the screen. And you then have the execution of the part, which is in the director. That’s so important because crazy people like me love to try all kinds of wacky ideas out.
Q: Do you like all superheroes?
A. Oh yes I love superheroes, female superheroes as well.
Q: Your character Jenni seems to go from a high school geek to a high school hottie in the film. How you fit in when you were at high school?
A. Oh, I fitted in very badly, which is lucky for me because I got out of there, got a job. I hung out with adults that were nice to me. You know, it really does take you until about 35 to walk well without being self-conscious – so high school wasn’t much fun for me, I have to say.
Q: Out of all the directors you’ve worked with, which ones enabled you to use qualities you didn’t think you had, and what qualities are those?
A. Well, each job really. I mean, each job with the exception of one or two but I won’t mention those. Each job was a different kind of challenge and when you jump from genre to genre like this, you’re not really making movies that are geared for you but rather movies that are geared for themselves and you’re going to figure out how to be a part of it. It’s kind of like entering each situation for the first time. I really enjoyed the character work and the tone doing comedy. I’ve been trying to do it for 20 years and nobody would give me a job to do comedy. I had read the scripts and I wanted to do them, but they didn’t consider me. I couldn’t even get auditions for certain things. So it’s very exciting for me. I’m hoping I can do more like this because actually, this is much more fun for me and much closer to me.
Q: Is it more fun for you to play a baddie or a goodie?
A. Both of them. If you’re not going to be A and B, I’ll take AB or BA but you know, it’s all fun. Our life is fascinating, rich and interesting and being on every side of the coin, getting over there and looking in the situation from a single perspective that isn’t your own, it’s such an amazing experience. I’m passionate about my job and I love my job. It enriches me. I get high from doing my job.
Q: How do you balance your acting career with motherhood?
A. With motherhood? Challenging. I think any working woman is just the same as any other working woman because it’s just as hard to do it all. I feel very lucky that my children are quite wonderful and I can’t really take credit for it but I’m proud of them.
Q: Do you feel success offers you power?
A. No, I don’t feel that. I’ve had a very touch and go career and I don’t feel powerful because of that. For me, I work for directors, crazy artists and look for writers that get inspired or are moved by somebody that resembles me enough that I can play them – it’s such a miracle to find the right part in Hollywood. I don’t need a career out of those kind of blockbuster movies. I’ve made a career out of living delicately like spiders webs. I’ve been on the A-list and off the A-list and on the D-list like, I can’t even tell you have many time. So, to me, that survival as an actress is just a miracle.
Q: How did you find the stunt work playing a superheroe?
A. People see a lot of stunt work on this movie actually if you look at it, it’s a lot of flying and stuff, which I don’t even consider as stunt work. Guaranteed it’s uncomfortable – but it’s not stunt work.
Q: How do you stay in shape these days?
A. I don’t know and I’ve got to figure it out. I run around and do things and I try to exercise when I can but it’s really hard to make time for that.