Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Amanda Peet

here's another story i filed for the philippine star. this time, it's my story on hollywood actress amanda peet. the interview took place during the junket of "2012"

“I am not Gwyneth Paltrow — news flash!” declared Amanda Peet when told that Gwyneth doesn’t go to the grocery store. “I do not have an assistant, who else is going to the grocery store?” she asked.

Last week, The Philippine STAR met with the pretty thirty-something actress during the junket for Columbia Pictures’ newest film, 2012, the stunning doomsday epic starring her, John Cusack and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

In the movie, Amanda is Kate Curtis, a suburban housewife with two kids. She had to contend with an ex-husband and the threat of the world coming to an end. Her character literally finds out about the earth’s grim future inside a grocery store when the ground literally broke apart under her feet. This prompted the question: Would she be caught shopping at a grocery store herself?

2012 is Amanda’s first Roland Emmerich film. “I wanna tell you that it was so hard and grueling but Roland made it quite a lovely experience,” she remarked when asked how it was like making a disaster movie. “I mean I didn’t like being in the tank for a very long time and it is exactly not easy to be conjuring up emotions when you are acting opposite an X on a wall but there are other people doing much harder than I do, truthfully, right?”

Her character, indeed, has to go through a lot. The world is going to end and the filmmaker’s vision of the cataclysm is a visual extravaganza of mayhem and destruction. She has no way out!

But if Amanda will have her way, she’d rather not think about it. She has a two-year-old daughter in real life to think of before engaging in any talks about the world coming to an end. “Of course you have to think about the things that are happening in the Middle East… I live about two blocks from ground zero and I think about these things all the time but you have to get on with it, you know, thank God for Obama!”

Amanda was first introduced to the Filipino public a decade ago when Studio 23 aired a syndicated American TV series about a mismatched couple who just can’t seem to get together. The cutesy set-up about a guy named “Jill” and a girl named “Jack” immediately caught on with viewers and earned avid followers, this writer included. That sitcom was called Jack & Jill and it starred two fresh-faced Hollywood newcomers, Amanda and Ivan Sergei.

That sitcom, however, didn’t last more than two seasons. It was yanked out midway through its second season and fans did not have a chance to see what became of the two main characters’ complicated relationship. No, Amanda had no idea either how the series ended when this writer asked her. “Oh God I don’t remember… it was 10 years ago!” she said before pausing to ponder. “I don’t remember if they were together or have broken up.” Dang!

When the series was canceled, Amanda was cast in the 2000 Bruce Willis comedy The Whole Nine Yards, which she considers her biggest break. “When I got the call after I read with Bruce Willis, I got the feeling like not that I made it but that I’m making a movie with Bruce Willis!”

She has since appeared in a number of movies, most notably in the Oscar-winning Something’s Gotta Give and in Woody Allen’s Melinda & Melinda.

2012 is her third film with Cusack. “I love him so much. I will do anything to be in a John Cusack movie, I will search high and low to find him,” she said. They have previously appeared in Identity and Martian Child.

Despite having spent more than a decade in the industry, Amanda is still unsure of her stature in Hollywood.

“I get really jealous and compare myself against them,” she confided. “I am haunted by the feeling that I am just mediocre all the time. But you push on and you have moments where you have a feeling that’s very peaceful — that there’s enough room for all of us.”

“I have my gifts whatever they are and hopefully at some point, before I am 80, I get the role that I am waiting for — whatever that means. I guess I find that the older I get the more it is important not to have some kind of a singular notion about what success is and what it means to have made it or to have the recognition of your peers because...” she struggled to finish before finally saying, “I am also a mom and a wife and lots of everything!” Amanda is married to writer David Benioff.

She lamented losing plum roles in Lovely and Amazing to Brit actress Emily Mortimer and to Jennifer Connelly in Waking the Dead.

She sees something positive working in Hollywood though. Amanda confessed to still being star-struck until now. She enumerated a list of actors she would want to work with — and there is a lot! Among the actors she would love to work with, she considers working with the great Oscar-winning Emma Thompson, her biggest dream. “Emma Thompson will probably be my dream, end-of-the-word, to-die-for, just-let-me-stand-next-to-you-and-you-can-just-breathe-on-me moment!”

She also added that she was fawning like crazy in front of Catherine Keener, one of the most admired actresses in Hollywood. “I actually worked with Catherine (who is also appearing in the current blockbuster movie Where the Wild Things Are, which opens in the Philippines in February next year) and it was kind of ridiculous. I was like…” she gestured with a wide mouth awed look.

But unlike other fans, Amanda hasn’t asked for autographs from any of her favorite stars ever. She confessed, however, to having written someone a note two years ago. She did not identify who but she told us it was to another actress. “I just said ‘I love you’.”

When a writer from Russia complimented her looks, she blushed and whispered a polite thank you.

Amanda has a degree in American history but she considered becoming an actress “because I wasn’t good at anything else,” she teased. “I went to the university but when I was seven, my sister would play baseball with the boys and my mom took me to an acting class at the bottom of a church.”

Later, when she was 19, she studied with the famous Uta Hagen. That’s when she realized she wanted to pursue acting as a profession.

Amanda has recently completed filming Gulliver’s Travel with Jack Black.

2012 opens tomorrow, Nov. 13, in theaters.

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