Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. It says in the production notes that you were gripped by
the script from the get-go. Can you tell us why you were stirred
by it and realised this was going to be a very powerful movie
A: Well, oddly enough, the movie that you see, is kind of
what I read; the feeling that the movie evokes is exactly what
the script evoked as well. It has a sense of emergency, and on
the page it had that same kind of urgent, uncensored, very detailed
kind of description going on.
And I suppose, what I often try to do when I act, is think a lot,
an awful lot, before I show up on the set, and then I try not
to think at all when she says 'action'.
What I really want to do is just obey my own impulses, when the
camera's rolling, and I think the script kind of has that, in
fact; it has that non-judgemental, uncensored, unedited version
of itself, that I think very much is still intact when you see
I was also very drawn to the fact that, in a way, the movie does
not stand in judgement in any of the characters. Even the role
of my character's boyfriend, played by Jeremy Sisto, you kind
of like the guy, even though he is very damaged and broken, and
a practising addict. You see he has an ability to love, and a
desire to love, and I think this is true of all of the characters,
and it really creates a difficulty to categories this people and
stand in judgement of them. You more or less can see yourself
in each of the character's situations.
Q. You must be dying to tell us about your youth? Do you recall
any major moments of teenage rebellion in your life?
A: You know, I was so involved with music; I played brass
instruments in the band, I was in choir practice every day, so
between band practice, which lasted three hours, and choir practice,
which lasted three hours, I had six hours, every day, of extra-curricular
activities. I was really deeply engaged in one of the two activities,
so I do actually believe that this is a major contributor to me
not.. I just don't think I was inherently a rebel, though. I inherently
CH: This is one thing that is missing in our schools in
Los Angeles right now, because they have cut the funding for arts
almost to zero. I wanted to do a scene in a music classroom, which
is not in the movie, because there aren't any music classrooms
any more. It's kind of shocking and is part of the reason why
kids don't have too much to get excited about, cos we've stripped
all that. I don't know how it is here, do you guys still have
Q. Given what you were saying about your own background, do
you have any sympathies for 13-year-olds now? Would you like to
be 13 again?
A: Oh yes I would, because if you're 13 it means you're alive.
I could never stand in judgement of what time it is in a life....
Q. What I mean is, the pressures on a 13-year-old now must
be vastly different to the pressures you were under when you were
younger? Apart from the approval of your peers?
A: That's interesting, but it's not actually what really attracted
me to doing the movie. I mean, I think that this right of passage
has always been something worth remarking on in an artful way.
People have been commenting on it, and espousing about it, and
arguing about it, and trying to describe it, and trying to unveil
the mysteries of this right of passage for as long as we have
been around - the Greeks were writing about it. Different cultures
ritualise it, where there's the slaughtering of an animal, or
you drink certain kind of hallucinogenic properties, I mean this
is something that we have incorporated into our ritualised cultures.
Until recently. We don't really have that anymore, where it is
a recognised period of time we just know it as adolescence. But
it's been a time, traditionally, of tremendous upheaval - hormonally,
brain growth, culturally, peer-wise, the tearing away from your
parents, the trying to join the world; adopting different poses,
who are you now? Who do you want to be? How can you adapt to your
body? It's that what is really attracted me. The trappings are
different, but the setting's the same.
Adolescence is a startling time for any kid, and I was no different.
But I think that my more experimental years happened later. It
didn't happen when I was 13. I was a little more paralysed by
my adolescence. My experimental, feeling liberated happened kind
Q. You have used the expression right of passage several times,
but it's also about betrayal as well, isn't it? Can you two recall
a moment when you felt really let down or betrayed by someone,
or something, that may have changed your view?
A: It's interesting for Catherine and me, but the fact is
that a lot of this particular challenge of this story was imaginary
for both of us. Neither one of us are mothers, so in a way, I
think that afforded us a certain amount of freedom in terms of
creating a conflict and making the story personal for each of
us to tell, and for each of us to want to tell.
In any role that I've ever done, the only thing that I've ever
really, really had to draw on is my own life experience, and what
I've observed, because a lot of what I harvest as an actress is
borrowed, or something that I have seen that I would like to reinvent,
or some inspiration that I got from a song, or a place, or a smell,
or something that I've felt, physically, that I want to bring
to the screen. Sometimes it's borrowed, and sometimes it's my
own experience, but who's alive who hasn't felt betrayal?
CH: There was a thing that was kind of a betrayal, or kind
of a rejection, does that count? One time, I remember, I wanted
to get in with the popular girls at my school, and we were at
this retreat or something, and there was a ping-pong table, and
I just patiently waited in line, and totally wanted to be there,
and I said, 'can I play too', and they said, 'yeah, you can play',
and handed me the paddle, and I was so excited and they just walked
away. My heart just dropped, and the girl next to me, when I started
to follow them, said: "Don't you get it, they don't want
you; they don't want to hang out with you; you're not cool."
That was my moment, when I realised I'm not cool. I didn't even
know what cool was and suddenly I wasn't cool.
And I remember that same girl, one of them came up and told me,
you know, during one of the first days of seventh grade, 'you
don't shave your legs'. I have really bad eye sight, and I couldn't
even see that far down to know, that you had hair. I didn't know
about shaving your legs, so all day long you're sitting there
and crying, and ran home, 'mum, I'm going to kill you, why didn't
you tell me?' But I think everyone has those moments.
Q. We don't seem to see you as much, onscreen, as we did;
is this because you are rejecting more material now than you would
have done when you were younger?
A: I act probably a lot more than you see; I just happen to
choose movies that don't have much of a life [laughs]. Or I choose
movies, I did a couple of movies that were released on cable,
instead of in features. I did a movie that came out before Thirteen,
called Levity, which I actually loved, but it just didn't take
at the Box Office, for maybe marketing reasons, or distribution,
It's partly the luck of the draw, you've got to hold your tongue
right to be in a movie that gets recognition and fires with a
But I do stage, I just did an original theatre piece in San Jose
rep, in California.
Q. And animation? Is that a different type of experience?
A: It's very different. It's really different. That's actually
kind of hard. But I'm doing that for Pixar, and it's called The
Incredibles. But I do all kinds of things. I'm involved in television,
which may or may not reach your audience here, and cable which
may or may not reach your audience here, and small movies that
don't make it; and stage, which you don't see here.
Q. You've never acted onstage here? Would you like to? Have
there been any offers?
A: I'm talking about it now, on this trip out. It's a new