When she's not busy being an action hero, exploring gorillas in the wild or studying the Na'vi race, Sigourney Weaver likes to dabble in comedy.
The versatile actress had her eye out for a project in which she could exercise comedic timing when 'You Again' came her way. Written by Moe Jelline, directed by Andy Fickman and boasting a cast of seasoned stars, 'You Again' tells the story of a young successful woman, Marni (Kristen Bell), who finds out her high school bully (Odette Yustman) is marrying her brother (James Wolk).
Weaver plays the very rich Aunt Ramona to Yustman's Joanna, but despite her facade, she's still flawed and harboring resentment towards her former high school gal pal Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis), who just happens to be the mom of Joanna's fiancé. Got all that?
In a brand-new interview with Moviefone, the Oscar-nominated film veteran opened up about her new film, how she remains an active Hollywood all-star, her hopes for 'Ghostbusters 3,' playing a vampire in Amy Heckerling's 'Vamps' and teased a possible return for Dr. Grace Augustine in 'Avatar 2.'
I just have to say, this is a real treat. You're in about a half dozen of my favorite movies. I love 'Galaxy Quest' and 'Imaginary Heroes' so much!
Oh, thank you so much! I don't think enough people have seen 'Imaginary Heroes.'
I just saw 'You Again,' and I thought it was really great; the instant you came on screen, the comedic energy clicked. What were your initial thoughts when you read the script?
I was looking for a comedy, and this seemed like a kind of old-fashioned comedy for the whole family, because everyone has been scarred in high school. I found there's something very touching to me about Ramona, that she, according to her, failed in high school, and spent the rest of her life making up for it. Then [she] finally has the chance to show off and it doesn't go at all the way she hoped -- that's actually good.
Just the chance to work with Jamie Lee [Curtis], Kristen [Bell], Betty White, Odette [Yustman] and Victor Garber -- that was just a love-fest. And I loved Andy's [Fickman] energy. He seemed very old-style, very gun-ho. I've never worked with anyone like Andy, because he's quite a theater director within the world of film. Usually the directors I work with are very visual and they're not about -- they're wonderful directors -- but they just come at it from not a show person's point-of-view.
What was it like to work with such a strong ensemble of actors?
It was so easy and fun. Everyday we had a very noisy makeup room -- lots of personality, which I don't usually like. Usually, I'm sort of thinking -- I'm sort of still in the morning, even though I consider myself a morning person. It was just no-holds-bards on this; it was high energy. Everyone in the movie -- Jimmy Wolk, Odette Yustman -- everybody was just so high-energy, and I think that just made it fun. You never knew quite what was going to happen when you went into work -- you'd have dance rehearsal or you did this, you'd do that. It was just an unconventional experience for me, because I'm usually in darker things. Even 'Galaxy Quest' had a bit of darkness in it. This was really this cheery Disney movie for the whole family. It was a nice visit to a different country than I usually get to go to.
Why do you think audiences should see 'You Again' this weekend?
It's really a throwback to those delicious comedies that Disney always did, where everything goes wrong for the character you love -- which is Kristen Bell -- and she's just so delicious in it and I think really a classic, big comedienne -- big meaning that she'll have a long career. She's really something. She's just the anchor for this story, which goes in so many different directions. It's like a classic comedy. Everything goes wrong until everything goes right. I think the talent of the cast is something that really is a delicious surprise as you watch the movie. Odette plays this person who is just so horrible and you think at a certain point in the movie, "I don't know how I can make sense of this story because I don't know how to like this woman." Then she has a scene with Kristen in front of the icebox where she just simply tells the truth, and you just fall in love with her and the whole movie takes off again. It's really well-calibrated.
Would you say you have any "frenemies" in Hollywood?
Oh, you know, I'm not out here long enough. I think I just have friends. One of the wonderful things about this story was that all of us were only friends. We played -- what was that terrible game that we played? -- we played Family Feud together off the set. Looking back on high school, I think people that have the kind of classic high school experience: a big high school with proms and everything. It's much more treacherous to navigate than what I had. I was in a small girl's school and we all wanted to be Virginia Woolf. We didn't want to be cheerleaders; we'd rather die than be a cheerleader. I think that I lucked out by being in a kind of geek school.
As an actress who does both comedy and drama, what do you find more challenging: nailing the joke or delivering an emotional speech?
I think that every piece has its challenges. I love going back and forth between one and the other. I'll always pick a comedy over a drama. I have a very commercial appetite. I don't like to do high-brow things. I like things that, to me, tell a human story, and whether they're comedy, or drama -- or, in the case of 'Ice Storm,' [that] had a lot in between. You don't know whether to laugh or cry with these people. So, I kind of have this meter that just helps me find what I think is interesting. I don't really have a plan or anything. It's just kind of like what happens.
I read that you have four projects in the works. As a veteran actress, how do you find the right roles given today's obsession with Young Hollywood?
I know. Well, I just think it's like the ocean -- at least the way the ocean used to be. To tell great stories, you need actors of all sizes and descriptions. You can't just have a movie with only young people; that's just not the way stories work. Even in the old days when [William Makepeace] Thackeray wrote 'Vanity Fair,' it was about Becky Sharp, but there were thousands of other actors in it. I just feel like there's plentiful roles for actors because actors are wonderful. Maybe there are more roles now -- more splashy roles on TV, which I love to see -- but the business thrives on wonderful work from actors. We're never going to be obsolete. Performance capture, which we did in 'Avatar,' is only going to expand and enhance what actors are able to give to the audience.
There are so many big screen actresses on television these days. Would you ever consider starring in your own TV series?
Right at this point, probably not. But I had a wonderful experience working on 'Prayers For Bobby.' There's something to be said for going right into people's living rooms. I think actors have always loved that medium -- you're right in there with people in their homes. A lot of very audacious work is being done on television. I'm an actor, I'm very impressed by all the different mediums right now. Like I said, I don't really have a plan or even a blueprint. If the right thing came along, I'd jump at it. To be a part of a wonderful -- I think it would have to be a comedy or I wouldn't like it -- to be part of a comic ensemble that gets to work together for a long time is just ... what a wonderful idea.
What's the latest you've heard on 'Ghostbusters 3' and 'Avatar 2'?
I think 'Ghostbusters 3' will happen, because we all really want to work together again. I hope it does. I've got my fingers crossed. 'Avatar 2,' I'm sure will happen, because I think Jim [Cameron] has so many ideas for the next one after having done all that work to establish a new world. He can't wait to take us all back to it. I think those things will happen.
Do you think you'd somehow be involved in 'Avatar 2' given the fate of your character?
Well, the fate is sort of, "Well, where did I go?". It's science fiction, and, as Jim Cameron said to me, "anything can happen."
What can you tell us about 'Vamps'?
Well, 'Vamps' is just the most delicious goofy comedy about two young, beautiful vampires who are trying to [go] straight and not drink blood, who unfortunately work for a very unrepentant vampire: me. [My character has] huge appetites, none of them very attractive, and is not at all interested in being a reformed vampire. I had a fabulous time playing it. I had wonderful clothes, gorgeous hair and makeup; and she's deliciously herself. It was fun. It was like being in a Chris Durang play. It was really just outrageous. I had a great time working with Amy [Heckerling], Krysten [Ritter], Alicia [Silverstone] and Wally Shawn. It was just a wonderful ensemble, a delicious movie.
You've mentioned that you've worked with a lot of people in Hollywood. Of the people you haven't, who would you love to get involved with?
I'd love to work with Marty Scorsese. I'd love to work with Ridley Scott again. I'm working with a lot of young directors, people who grew up watching 'Ghostbusters' -- like Greg Mottola. I just finished working with him. I'd love to work with him again. I'd love to work with Jake Kasdan again. Gosh, there's so many people I'd like to work with.