Q&A Session with Sigourney Weaver for “You Again” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)
February 6, 2011 by J!-ENT
Sigourney Weaver stars in the outrageous comedy YOU AGAIN, as a glamorous and very successful woman who finds herself face to face with her high school nemesis, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, when she jets into town for a family wedding celebration.
It’s the first time the two consummate actresses have acted together and the results are dynamic and hilarious.
The film, directed by Andy Fickman, is all about teenage bullies and the power they often wield years and even decades later.
Kristen Bell plays Jamie Lee Curtis’s daughter, who discovers to her horror that her brother is marrying the girl who tormented her mercilessly in her teens (played by Odette Yustman). Kristin Chenoweth, Victor Garber and Betty White also star in the film.
With the upcoming release of “You Again” on Blu-ray and DVD on Feb. 8th, J!-ENT will feature a Q&A with the cast and director of “You Again” throughout the week. We began with Kristin Bell, followed by Odette Yusman and Jamie Lee Curtis, this time our featured interview is with Sigourney Weaver.
Q: What attracted you to the role of Ramona?
A: “I thought it was interesting to play Ramona’s idea of what’s powerful, which is all about being glamorous and easy and breezy. She wants so much to convince Jamie Lee’s character that she has made it. But really, the person she needs to convince is herself. I think Ramona is trying to compensate for her past lackluster years and rolls back into this town determined to convince everybody that she has it all and never has a vulnerable moment; she is trying to be perfect. I know people who are like that. It is a lot of work. I think it is great that she finds out that ultimately it is not the answer. When we meet her, she has this chance to convince everybody that she is invincible. I was very touched by my character, because she was a loser in high school and I related to that.”
Q: How exactly?
A: “I was this tall ( almost six feet tall) when I was 11 so I went into an all girls high school feeling so self conscious, so painfully awkward and clumsy. What I would do was make fun of myself before anybody else could— I just kept making people laugh and that was my way of surviving.”
Q: Were you ever bullied in high school?
A: “I was, there was a girl who was horrible and I still don’t know why. She was mean to me. I have a feeling she’d still be mean to me. I was such a loser in high school and I cannot understand why anyone would be wasting time being mean to me. I used to think: ‘you’ve already won, why even bother?’ Even to this day, I don’t trust that person. She seemed crazy then and why wouldn’t she seem crazy now?”
Q: What did she do to you?
A: “She was cold. She was my best friend one day and really mean the next day. I only had that one bully I have to say.”
Q: What was high school like in general?
A: “I feel fortunate because a lot of the people in my school were very nice to me, I think out of pity. They took me under their wing. So I got to hang out with a lot of cool people eventually. I got a little cool. Then I married a very cool guy, (theater director Jim Simpson) so now I feel like I may never be cool but I can just hang with the cool people (laughs).”
Q: But surely as the very first female action hero in ALIEN—it can’t get any cooler than that?
A: “Thank you. I try to see it that way (laughs). But I think in high school everyone cares about being cool and the longer you get away from high school, the more you realize it does not matter and that is what resonates about YOU AGAIN. The story did resonate with me because I had this awkward high school experience, like everyone has.”
Q: You were a late bloomer?
A: “I was and I really believe that late bloomers are better. I just feel like it is so much easier to grow into yourself. Your choices end up being more interesting. My dearest friends and I were all such a mess for such a long time. I just want girls to know that if you feel like I did, that does not mean that you are going to be a mess forever. It will all work out. I feel there is a lot of humanity in this story, which says: ‘it is all going to work out, you don’t have to be pretending to be something other than you are.’ There was nothing that did not appeal to me about the movie. I liked it a lot. In spite of what our society says about youth being better, I’m sorry—it’s not true. Youth is not better than being my age. Being my age is awesome.”
Q: Is it harder for teenagers now do you think, particularly girls?
A: “I just think girls want to be recognized for their brains and what they can do in the world. There is also a lot of confidence in girls, they want to be who they are.”
Q: Ramona looks fabulous, were the costumes fun to wear?
A: “I love the costumes with all the jewelry and scarves and all that stuff, all the accessories. I am a person who goes out without a purse. I put things in my coat pocket and I don’t have any accessories, whereas she’s nothing but accessories and I loved having all of that stuff in the film.”
Q: You have an amazing dance sequence in the film (samba) with Kyle Bornheimer (who plays Tim), what was that like to film?
A: “It was so much fun doing the big dance duet and rehearsing with Kyle. Neither of us knew anything about the samba. So we really worked hard on it. I’ve never been at a dance rehearsal where you practice and practice and practice.”
Q: There are a lot of French throwaway lines in this movie because Ramona is keen to show how she is sophisticated and so European. That must have been fun because I know you speak French?
A: “That is really the only language I know and that I can improvise in. I don’t know any Spanish unfortunately. I grew up spending a lot of time in France, and my best friend is French, and I have done a couple of movies in France. But I wish I knew Spanish, Italian and German.”
Q: What was it like working with Jamie Lee Curtis and the rest of the cast?
A: “I had never worked with Jamie before and that was a big part of the appeal. She’s such an amazing woman. It was really fun to hate her because I really love her. We’d met before and we’ve worked with a lot of the same people. It took YOU AGAIN to put both of us in the same movie because we wouldn’t normally be, it would be one or the other. The cast was a big attraction for me, to work with not only Jamie, but Betty White and Kristen Bell and the others. Kristen is such a consummate performer. She’s got incredible timing and I think she’s one of our great young stars. She and Odette worked beautifully together.”
Q: You look fantastic, are you very disciplined about eating and working out?
A: “Well, you have to not eat certain things that you liked. You have to go to the gym. You have to be a grown-up about it, which is hard (laughs). That is why we want comfort food, so we can be kids again. I feel like I could lose ten pounds, but I’m certainly not going to kill myself over it. I want to live, I want to enjoy my life. I want to enjoy food. But I try not to eat unconsciously. I’ve learned that from my European friends. They taste things. I love the way Europeans are sort of slow, they talk about food, and food is an experience. It is not just fuel. Here we kind of stop at a gas station, fill up and keep going. It is not conducive to health.”
Q: How important is it for you living in New York rather than LA, where people are quite obsessed with age and outer beauty?
A: “That is very important to me. I don’t live here in LA. I would not feel comfortable here, because I think our job is to play a variety of different humans. I like seeing older women. I cut out pictures of older women that I see in newspapers, who are so alive and clearly know so much and have lived so much. Why would you want to look like you have not lived? Why would you want your face to be frozen? I don’t get it. On the other hand I feel that every woman should do what will make them feel all right. I think there is a lot of pressure in our society to look young, but who are you kidding? How can you ever look the way you looked when you were 20 if you cannot move your face?”
Q: How much was your mother an inspiration for you? She was the first runner in Central Park I believe and was very athletic?
A: “She was formidable, actually. My mother qualified for Wimbledon at the age of 16 but her father would not let her play because he said, ‘it is a rich person’s sport. I don’t want my children playing those sports.’ For the rest of her life she played awesome tennis. She was an amateur champion in club after club. Then she was a very serious golfer. You wouldn’t want to play a casual round of golf with my mother. She was intent on winning. She was very competitive. Really, she should be sitting here not me, she was a great inspiration. My parents were always fit. My father went waterskiing. In his briefcase he carried a pen and his swimsuit, wherever he went. He went swimming in every body of water he could. So they had that and that was a great thing for me, because I could see that you were not supposed to sit on the couch and eat potato chips. You are supposed to get out there and move. I think that is education.”
Q: What was the turning point in your life and career would you say?
A: “I think probably my marriage and motherhood. I was trying to have a baby for a long time and finally had our beautiful daughter at 40. I just love being a mother. It is hard work. Also I was lucky to have a wonderful husband who then took time off from his work. She always had one parent right on her. I think those two things meant everything to me. Having a family is such a nice balance to our profession.”
Q: As the first female action hero, how do you feel about modern women action heroes?
A: “I probably don’t see all these action films, but I feel so lucky that I played someone (Ripley) who was a real person. The women nowadays still have to be great actors because action movies are much harder than they look. But I was doing action when women were finally taking on a lot of men’s roles in real life, a lot of jobs with machinery and stuff that really had been off limits to us. Suddenly Ripley was this ordinary woman who was put in these extraordinary circumstances and she had to figure it out without being the damsel in distress. So I benefited from the timing of that. I am glad that I got to play someone I could totally relate to. Now there is such an element of fantasy. You not only have to be strong and brave but gorgeous and in high heels and doing impossible things. That is a very different challenge compared to what I had to do. All I had to do was play the part.”
You Again on DVD and Blu-ray February 8th!
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