Metro USA Interview with Julia Stiles
I’m finding it hard to tell when Julia Stiles is finished talking because she ends every other sentence with a raised inflection. And she comes off a bit aloof: No matter how I try to engage the “10 Things I Hate About You” actress, she won’t budge.
It’s probably just exhaustion. We’re chatting because Stiles is hard on the press trail for “Riviera,” a murder mystery slash crime drama slash display of extreme extravagance. For real. The whole plot hinges on a yacht blowing up. It’s like “Revenge,” but with a bigger budget — and much prettier views. Say what you will about the series, but the stunning views of Côte d’Azur that it offers are rivaled by no other.
Metro USA spoke with the 36-year-old, who plays Georgina Clios — AKA what’s supposed to pass for an antihero in this series — about her first major television role and how social media has changed the entertainment industry.
First of all, congratulations on your pregnancy!
I’m due pretty soon. I’m excited about it.
What’s it like taking a major lead role on a TV series for the first time?
I was really struck by the premise of the show. Neil Jordan had described his idea behind it as, “Behind every great fortune is a great crime.” And I just thought that was really interesting to explore, and particularly [in] the setting of the French Riviera.
I liked the international sensibility in the show, too. I love that it’s such an international cast and that the scope of it is very international.
Speaking of Neil, how do you feel about him disowning the series after his writing was “heavily reworked?”
I mean, he’s a very passionate, opinionated artist, right? And so sometimes that clashes with studio executives. I’m not really sure what happened? But I feel like we were still able to make a good show.
What was it like doing a series across the pond?
It was great. My only experience doing TV before was on an already well-established show (Stiles appeared as Lumen Pierce on the fifth season of “Dexter”) and I was just along for the ride. To be in the lead in this show was a lot of responsibility, but I think because it was a European show, they were really open to my input, in a way that I’m not sure happens here.
Georgina has some anti-hero vibes, too. We’re seeing that more often, and it’s great to be able to see women in these imperfect roles, like with this series, “Fleabag,” “Insecure”—
I know, I love that show “Fleabag,” I hope they do another season.
They just announced they’re doing a second season, actually!
Social media plays such a huge role for young actors these days. How do you feel about not having had that extra layer of performance as a young actor?
I was just thinking about that. I’m really glad that when I was starting out as an actor social media wasn’t necessary for success as an actor, especially when you’re starting out. I have a hard time enough navigating that now, having a little more experience, being a more recognizable actor.
The danger is that it gets in the way of being able to play pretend. Because you’re advertising your own personality and your own real life, how can you trick people into thinking that you’re somebody else?
It blurs the line a lot more.
And it seems to have an influence over casting, now they’re very interested in people who have lots of followers. And I feel like that’s sort of contrary to actors who I think are really interesting.
Busy Philipps and Michelle Williams recently did this video where they reminisced about all the teen heartthrobs they kissed while on “Dawson’s Creek.” Can you dish about what your favorite teen heartthrobs are that you kissed back in the day?
That’s so tricky because it’s so different when there’s a camera and a whole entire crew watching you. I hate to ruin the romance, but it’s very different than a real kiss.
Julia Stiles to perform for charity that creates a Broadway play in 24 hours
Live theatre is stressful for any actor, so just imagine how crazy it can be if you’ve been handed a script only a few hours before having to go onstage.
That’s what’s facing about two dozen brave stars on Monday night at the 15th annual benefit “The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway,” which asks actors, writers and directors to come up with six original short plays over the course of a day.
“The biggest lesson is to have fun and not take yourself too seriously,” said Jason Biggs, the “American Pie” star. “You’re going to look like a fool — that’s the point.”
Biggs will be joined by performers Sasha Alexander, Geoffrey Arend, Lorraine Bracco, Tony Danza, Edie Falco, Ashley Fink, Ari Graynor, Kesha, John Krasinski, David Krumholtz, Margarita Levieva, Adrienne Moore, Diane Neal, Rosie Perez, Phylicia Rashad, Molly Ringwald, Julia Stiles, Amber Tamblyn, Tracie Thoms and Vanessa Williams.
Saturday Night Live will be well represented by Taran Killam, Jay Pharoah and Cecily Strong and Rachel Dratch — a nod to that show’s ability to nurture people fast on their feet.
Biggs and Stiles are repeat offenders at “The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway” and call it a highlight every year, even though there’s plenty of sweat and stress getting ready.
“There’s a weird addiction to it where you keep wanting to come back to it every year even if you were panicking leading up to a performance,” said Stiles. “There’s something so great about seeing how much can get done in 24 hours.”
Biggs agrees: “At some point during the day before the performance, we’re like, ‘Why do we do this? Why are we here? Why do we agree to keep coming back? It’s like a monkey touching the electric fence.”
Directors this year are Andy Fickman, Thomas Kail, Leigh Kilton Smith, Patricia McGregor, Kathy Najimi and Eduardo Ponti. The writers include David Lindsay-Abaire, Rachel Axler, David Cross, Dael Orlandersmith and Jonathan Marc Sherman.
The whole thing works this way: The playwrights will gather at 10 p.m. on Sunday and will write a short play by 7 a.m. the next morning. As one might guess, they can get very silly indeed.
The celebrity actors — who, to help the process, have brought in a prop and a costume, as well as reveal a skill and a secret desire — are cast and then rehearse the work for the next 12 hours.
“The actors have it tough,” said Biggs. “But at least we’ve gotten some sleep the night before. These writers are there all night long, under the gun, trying to come up with funny jokes and characters at 4 o’clock in the morning. I’d much rather be the actor in this scenario.”
Then, at 8 p.m. on Monday, the plays will be performed for a live audience of over 1,000 people at the American Airlines Theatre. The one-night-only show benefits the Urban Arts Partnership, an organization that brings arts education into New York City classrooms.
“There’s no way to prepare for it, really. The only thing you can do is try to get a good night’s sleep,” Stiles said.
As for what prop she will bring, Stiles is leaning toward bringing along something that is cluttering up her home.
“I’ve been thinking about something I want to get rid of because oftentimes you forget to pick it after the show,” she said, laughing.
Guardian Interview + Photoshoot
Julia was also interviewed by The UK Guardian last week, you can find the Q&A here, plus a new photoshoot by Charlie Forgham Bailey, here.
When were you happiest?
This morning when I woke up. I am generally happy.
What is your greatest fear?
I am not a fan of rats or pigeons. In New York City, they have become very confident. When I was a child, you went on the subways and the rats would stay down on the tracks, but now they hang out on the platform.
What is your earliest memory?
A hurricane in New York. My mum strapped me to her back to walk home, and all the windows were taped and boarded up.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
People I went to school with who have careers as doctors and teachers.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
What would your super power be?
I’d have a remote control for time, so I could rewind, fast-forward and pause.
What makes you unhappy?
Usually other people’s unhappiness.
WIGS to air on Skewing
Lifetime UK is turning to a web series for their next acquisition. The female skewing channel has snapped up the exclusive UK rights to the WIGS series Blue starring Julia Stiles (The Bourne Ultimatum) for their Spring schedule, TVWise has learned.
Blue stars Stiles as the title character, who works as an accountant by day, but as an escort by night. As she leads two lives she struggles to keep these worlds apart. Ultimately, Blue is threatened with exposure and becomes desperate to shield her son from the truth, forcing her to descend deeper in to a world of deception. William Peterson, Eric Stoltz, James Morrison and Uriah Shelton also star.
The series is produced for WIGS, the YouTube channel launched in 2012 by Jon Avnet and Blue creator Rodrigo Garcia with a decided focus on scripted drama, and has aired three seasons. As part of their deal with Fox, Blue and other WIGS series have also aired longer-form, TV-length episodes on Hulu and Hulu Plus.
BlueLifetime UK’s deal for Blue covers the content produced for the first two seasons, which originally unspooled on YouTube as close to 40 webisodes. For its run on Lifetime, those webisodes have been re-cut into 10 hour-long episodes, which will begin airing on the channel on Monday March 2nd at 10pm.
24 Hour Play Lineup Revealed
Yey – Julia Stiles will join Melanie Griffith, Amanda Seyfried, Uzo Aduba, Peter Dinklage, Nina Dobrev and siz other actors next month in the 14th annual benefit “The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway,” which asks over a dozen actors, six writers and six directors to come up with six original short plays over the course of a day.
Rosie Perez, a veteran of the 24-hour plays, had this advice for participants: “Anything you can do outside of being reckless and taking illegal substances do it! You’re going to need everything.”
The finished productions will be staged in front of a live audience at the American Airlines Theater on November 17. The 14th annual event will benefit the Urban Arts Partnership, New York’s largest arts education organization.
CUE & A with Julia Stiles
Film star Julia Stiles, who returns to the New York stage July 28 in Scott Organ’s Phoenix at the Cherry Lane Theatre, fills out Playbill.com’s questionnaire of random facts, backstage trivia and pop-culture tidbits.
Stiles has appeared onstage in Oleanna (Broadway), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare in the Park) and The Vagina Monologues.
Her extensive screen credits include “Ten Things I Hate About You,” “Mona Lisa Smile,” “Dexter,” “State and Main,” “Save the Last Dance,” “O,” “The Bourne Supremacy,” “The Business of Strangers” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”
The Cherry Lane Theatre is located at 38 Commerce Street. Visit phoenixtheplay.com for more information.
Full given name: Julia O’Hara Stiles
Where you were born/where you were raised: New York
Zodiac Sign: Aries, Cancer rising
What your parents did/do for a living: They own a ceramics business. My mom makes the work, my dad sells it.
Siblings: Two, a younger brother and sister
Do you have any early mentors or people who inspired you to pursue the performing arts? My grandmother
Special skills: I’m pretty good at “name that tune”
Something you’re REALLY bad at: Going to bed early
First Broadway show you ever saw: A Doll’s House with Janet McTeer, woah!
If you could go back in time and catch any show, what would it be? Measure for Measure in the park with Meryl Streep
Current or recent show other than your own you have been recommending to friends: Cavewoman with Michael Cavadias (you have to search it, cuz it’s not on Broadway and it’s always a surprise)
Favorite musicals: All things Fosse, Guys and Dolls, Hair, Cabaret, Threepenny Opera, Rocky Horror
Some favorite modern plays: Laughing Wild (Christopher Durang) and Hysteria (Terry Johnson)
Some favorite modern playwrights: Scott Organ! Christopher Durang, Mamet, LaBute, Tracy Letts
Broadway or screen stars of the past you would have most loved to perform with: Philip Seymour Hoffman. We worked together on a movie, but live performance would have been special.
The one performance – attended – that you will never forget: Fiona Shaw in Medea
Music that makes you cry, any genre: Anything with passion. A strong drum beat makes me ecstatic, a thoughtful singer makes me cry.
Your personal acting idols: Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Tim Curry, Natalie Wood (“Splendor in the Grass!”), Catherine O’Hara, Diane Weist, Amy Adams
MAC or PC? PC, What? PC, Who?
Most played song on your iPod: “I Follow Rivers” by Lykki Li
Most-visited websites: Free Will Astrology, NPR music, Literary Jukebox, Chances with Wolves
Last book you read: “All That Is” by James Salter
Must-see TV show(s): “Veep”!
Last good movie you saw: “Obvious Child”
Some films you consider classics: “Cool Hand Luke,” “Clue,” “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Three Caballeros,” “Vacation,” “Splendor in The Grass”
Performer you would drop everything to go see: Andrew Bird
Pop culture guilty pleasure: “Dancing With The Stars”
Three favorite cities: (aside from New York)- London, Prague, Berlin
First CD/Tape/LP you owned: “She’s So Unusual” by Cyndi Lauper
First stage/screen kiss: “10 Things I Hate About You,” with Heath Ledger
Some favorite or most memorable roles as a child or teen: “Clue,” “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Adventures in Babysitting”
Moment you knew you wanted to perform for a living: As soon as I was old enough to know I had to earn a living.
Favorite pre-/post- show meal: Two Bridges or Joe Allen’s in London.
Pre-show rituals or warm-ups: Standing in the back row of the house, breathing and stretching on the stage. I like to sing, too, it calms me down.
Worst flubbed line/missed cue/onstage mishap: Only in my nightmares
Worst costume ever: A wool army uniform for Twelfth Night. Only because it was summer in the park and about a thousand degrees.
Worst job you ever had: Babysitting, but because I had some weird allergic reaction to something in the house and when the parents came home my eyes were almost swollen shut.
Craziest audition story: Are they ever not crazy? It’s the most bizarre situation every time!
Some favorite screen or commercial roles: So many! I really marvel at the ability to make a living at playing dress up and perform. So many performers I know do something else to pay the bills. That said, I don’t really take time to look back and pat myself on the back. Should probably work on that. Or not.
What drew you to this project? The idea of two people in their thirties able to connect on deeply intellectual and primal levels, but with some carry-on baggage. The question of whether their Fight-or-Flight instincts will triumph. It’s not cynical, and yet not saccharine either.
What has been the biggest challenge so far? At this stage, just infusing the one-word sentences with meaning. I know it’s there, I know Scott Organ chose each word deliberately, but remembering why my character says “Yeah” versus “Okay” versus “Right” is a welcome challenge.
What has been the most fun or fulfilling aspect of this show/character? Playing!!! Meaning, this is the first time in my career I feel like I am exploring and experimenting without feeling I have to get something right.
Most challenging role you have played onstage: Carol in Oleanna
Any upcoming or side projects you can talk about? Ask my agents.
Leading lady role you’ve been dying to play: Lady M
Leading man role you’ve been dying to play: I’ve joked with Jimmy that we should switch roles in Phoenix each night, but I don’t think the gender-bending works, generally. Men are men, ladies are ladies. That said, there are lots of fun roles for dudes. Most of the Mamet guys. And the Sam Shepard guys too.
Something about you that surprises people: I’m funny. But like funny ha ha, AND funny strange.
Career you would want if not a performer: Do teachers count as performers?
Three things you can’t live without: Music, Exercise, Water
“I’ll never understand why…” … God (or the Universe, evolution, whatever) made child birth painful. Population control?
Words of advice for aspiring performers: Focus on the story you want to tell, not the applause.
Julia Stiles Interview 2014
Moving to a new home is said to be one of the most stressful events you can endure — up there with death and divorce — but Julia Stiles has just done it and looks radiant.
The Emmy Award- and Golden Globe-nominee sat down before rehearsals of her new play only hours after moving from her longtime three-bedroom apartment on 15th Street to a new one-bedroom East Village space.
“I feel great about it. Downsizing. Simplifying. I gave away lots of stuff. It feels like shedding your skin,” she says. “It was time for a change.”
Gone were books she’d already read. Gone was most of her furniture she’d accumulated over a decade. She even donated her piano to a music school. A lot of stuff went out on the street. “I had to be brutal,” she says.
Change is not something Stiles is uncomfortable with, having jumped into projects as diverse as William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” to being a serial killer on “Dexter,” to her own scripted show on YouTube.
“I’m such a child that I just want to show up and play dress up. I’m not very good at the long term plans,” she says. “I’ve kind of embraced that my work is always in flux.”
This summer, the flux has put Stiles at the intimate Cherry Lane Theatre for a production of the one-act dark romantic comedy “Phoenix” by Scott Organ, which the actress calls “really charming and really romantic.”
Stiles and co-star James Wirt play one-time lovers who meet several weeks after a one-night-stand to discuss the consequences. “I thought it was refreshing that it’s not cynical,” she says.
Stiles, 33, had been looking for a play that she and director Jennifer DeLia could work on together. They wanted something small and something downtown — where the actress began her career with the tiny Ridge Theater company.
“For me, it makes sense because it’s getting back to my roots and also why I wanted to be an actress in the first place,” Stiles says. “At its core, it’s very simply what I find delightful.”
Rising star Wirt, who was a fan of Stiles from “Dexter,” soon rented “10 Things I Hate About You” to learn more about his co-star. He says her love of acting is clear in her decision to pick a 180-seat theater to showcase a new playwright.
“You see it just to do this play. This little play, in the summer, in the West Village, for the love of the game,” says Wirt, who also stars in DeLia’s film “Billy Bates.” ”That’s what it is: For the love of the game. Period. That’s a joy to be around.”
Stiles’ credits also include being in the “Bourne” franchise with Matt Damon, David Mamet’s play “Oleanna” in the West End and Broadway and the films “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Mona Lisa Smile.”
More recently, Stiles has been among the first A-list actresses to embrace online storytelling, starring in the hit WIGS web series “Blue” as a mother juggling raising her son with being a high-end escort, and writing and directing “Paloma,” another WIGS series which stars Grace Gummer navigating modern life. Both are available on YouTube and Hulu.
“Years ago, it seemed like the content wouldn’t be as sophisticated as a proper TV show or proper movie, but I could feel that was changing,” said Stiles. “I feel like my decision to do that without being able to predict the future was rewarded because it was for the right reason.”
On the horizon is a movie directed by DeLia about silent film star Mary Pickford in which Wirt will play Charlie Chaplin and Stiles will star as Frances Marion, one of the top screenwriters during the early 20th Century.
“My work is a little bit of a hodgepodge,” says Stiles. “My career has been this conglomerate of all these different mediums. I’m believing more and more in that expression, ‘You don’t pick the part. The part picks you.'”
Julia Stiles Interview for PHOENIX
The new production of Scott Organ’s play PHOENIX, starring Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Julia Stiles and James Wirt, begins performances at the Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street) Monday, July 28. Presented by Nicholas Jabbour, PHOENIX will play a limited engagement through Saturday, August 23, and is produced by Poverty Row Entertainment, Rian Patrick Durham and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, by special arrangement with The Cherry Lane Theatre.
The company met the press earlier today and BroadwayWorld was there for the special event. Check out photo coverage below!
When Bruce (James Wirt) and Sue (Julia Stiles) meet four weeks after an uncharacteristic one-night-stand, Sue has this to say to him: one, I had a great time with you that night and two, let’s never see each other again. Thus begins a 4,000 mile journey well beyond the confines of their carefully structured worlds. Bruce is fueled by an overwhelming but undefined compulsion to join her in Phoenix. Sue is reluctantly charmed by his persistence, but steadfast in her resolve to keep him at bay. Both are forced to consider a whole new world of possibility, though not one free of difficulty and loss. PHOENIX is a one-act dark romantic comedy.
PHOENIX premiered at the 34th Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville on March 5, 2010, and received its Off-Broadway premiere produced by The Barrow Group Theatre Company on April 10, 2010.
New Promos for Pheonix
The creative team is now set for the off-Broadway production of Scott Organ’s Phoenix, starring the previously announced Julia Stiles and James Wirt.
The production, helmed by Jennifer DeLia, will feature set design by Caite Hevner Kemp, costumes by Amit Gajwani, lighting design by Oona Curley, sound design by Janie Bullard and scenic art by Burton Machen.
When Bruce (Wirt) and Sue (Stiles) meet four weeks after an uncharacteristic one-night-stand, Sue has this to say to him: one, I had a great time with you that night and two, let’s never see each other again. Thus begins a 4,000 mile journey well beyond the confines of their carefully structured worlds. Bruce is fueled by an overwhelming but undefined compulsion to join her in Phoenix. Sue is reluctantly charmed by his persistence, but steadfast in her resolve to keep him at bay.
Phoenix will play a limited engagement through August 23. Opening night for the one-act dark romantic comedy is set for August 7.
Julia’s Twitter Chat
Here are some of the questions Julia answered, head over to her Twitter for more.
Julia I want to know what you enjoy most doing writing&directing or acting?
I love both. And they compliment each other nicely. Kinda like when a painter makes sculptures, or a sculptor starts to paint
I was wondering how you came up with the idea of “Blue”?
Haha, I didn’t. It was all Rodrigo Garcia, and his crazy imagination
What was it like hearing other speak your words in Paloma? How did the idea of Paloma arise?
That’s one of the most exciting things ever, when you see this thing from your imagination come to life
Do you have some fave german food?
Beer. (Kidding, weiswurst)
Are there any particular directors that influenced the style or look of #Paloma?
I really like Julian Schnabel’s films, and Sofia Coppola’s early work.
What did you like best or what was most challenging while acting with your sister?
I felt so protective of her, I had to remind myself to stop mothering. But it was a delight because we are so close.
What your favorite horror film?
Maybe The Shining or Psycho
Which book are you reading at the moment?
It’s hard for me to get into a novel while I’m on set, but I did just finish The Odyssey
Where do you like to spend your holidays most?
I love exploring new places, next on the list is Brazil if I’m lucky.
For Paloma did you get to ‘hand pick’ your cast? Was it your ideal cast for your script?
I had seen Grace in a play, thought she rocked. And then mostly cast my friends- Gaby and I grew up together.
Save the last dance is my favorite movie ! Do You still practice dance ?
Only in my living room ;). Yoga has kind of replaced dance.
What do you love to do between 2 takes?
Between takes you are usually trying to focus on getting the next take right. Between scenes you are trying to learn lines.
Do you have a fave movie or series at the moment?
I’m hooked on SHERLOCK at the moment.
Who are some actors/actresses that inspire you?
Too many to name, but I’ll start with Cate Blanchett and Bill Macy and and and…