CATEGORIES Interviews
"Everyone's familiar with the wackness."

Even if you don't know Olivia Thirlby by name, you've probably heard her quoted. As Ellen Page's BFF in last year's 'Juno,' Thirlby owned several of the film's irresistible one-liners, honest to blog.

Now the 21-year-old's the lead girl in 'The Wackness,' as a street-smart New Yorker who deflowers the film's hip-hop-loving hero (Josh Peck).

Thirlby talked to us about quoting herself, kooky co-stars Mary-Kate Olsen and Ben Kingsley ... and why she may be knocking down Judd Apatow's door.

15 Questions With: Olivia Thirlby

    Even if you don't know Olivia Thirlby by name, you've probably heard her quoted. As Ellen Page's BFF in last year's 'Juno,' Thirlby owned several of the film's irresistible one-liners, honest to blog. Now the 21-year-old's the lead girl in 'The Wackness,' as a street-smart New Yorker who deflowers the film's hip-hop-loving hero (Josh Peck). Thirlby talked to us about quoting herself, kooky co-stars Mary-Kate Olsen and Ben Kingsley ... and why she may be knocking down Judd Apatow's door. -- By Kevin Polowy

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    1. Was it your love of hip-hop that brought you to 'The Wackness'?
    That definitely had something to do with it. Loving that music, it was exciting to see a script that featured it. But everything about it was incredible. The script -- I mean, it was so well written. And the characters were so unique and unusual. And at the same time I felt like it encompasses the universal themes of adulthood, boyhood, manhood, girlhood, womanhood, and growing up and dealing with pain and all that kind of stuff.

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    2. How close would you say Stephanie is to the real you versus other characters that you've played in films like 'Juno' or 'Snow Angels'?
    Well Stephanie is pretty much me. I just played her as myself. You know she's saying her words and doing her actions, but that's me.

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    3. The movie takes place in 1994. What did you guys do to capture the '90s style and attitude?
    I love Josh's haircut in this movie. Can I just say? [Laughs] I think it's pretty '90s-tastic. The cassette tapes and the boomboxes and the foam headphones. I love Stephanie's wardrobe -- the Pumas in sea-foam green, the baby-doll dress with the tee-shirt under it and cargo shorts. All those kinds of things were details that really brought me back. It's not all that different than it is today. But I think that the nuances of popular teen fashion have definitely shifted. And just the music.

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    4. What's in your iPod right now?
    I'm just starting to get into indie rock, which is pretty cool. I've been a fan of Modest Mouse for a really long time, but I love Broken Social Scene, too. And I've been listening to a lot of Feist. That's not really my favorite kind of music, though. I love jazz and R&B and hip-hop. Erykah Badu and Jill Scott are never strangers to my speakers. I'm always playing them. I'm really excited that D'Angelo is finally coming back. I've missed him so much.

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    5. What's was your impression of Mary-Kate Olsen? Did you get to know her much on set?
    Yeah. She's so effin' cool. She's like the definition of cool, but so down to earth. If you were somehow living under a rock for the last 20 years and had no idea who she was, meeting her you would never assume that she was somebody who was so in the spotlight because she doesn't act that way at all. And I'm really impressed with her performance in this movie. She was super-professional, and it was really a joy to have her on set. I think she's fantastic in the movie.

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    6. And then there's Ben Kingsley, who plays a pot-smoking shrink ...
    I know. It really says a lot about him as a person that he would come and play a role like that. He's the definition of being at a point in his career where he could literally choose his roles. And the fact that he would choose to come collaborate with a bunch of people who had no idea what they were doing and be so trusting and open. That's just the kind of person he is, and obviously a brilliant actor, too. I love the way that he plays this role.

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    7. This is the second of three roles where you take someone's virginity (after 'Snow Angels' and before 'New York, I Love You'). So you're not worried about being pigeonholed as the deflowerer?
    No. I don't really care. I just try to get roles that I like. And it's funny -- everything else falls away if it's a character that you want to play, if it's a character that you're sparked by and kind of creatively turned on by, then the things that they do, it doesn't even matter. You just kind of want to be them.

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    8. Are the sex scenes awkward to shoot?
    That was my first time doing sex scenes [in 'The Wackness']. And those scenes I think are sweet. I don't think they have a really sexual quality to them because it's kind of like young lovers' exploration of each other. Stephanie is a bit of a dynamo I think, and definitely experienced sexually. But at the same time she's nonjudgmental. She definitely doesn't have a problem with the fact that Luke is new at it at all.

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    9. Did you anticipate what a huge success 'Juno' would be?
    None whatsoever. We had no idea. We thought it was going to make no money 'Juno''s one of the first scripts I ever read. I read it when I was like 18. And it was incredible. It was and still is one of the best scripts I've ever read. And anybody who read it will say the same. It was just completely unlike anything else that's ever been created. And it was like that in script form, just as much as it was like that in the final product.

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