Judy Greer - 13 Going on 30
For Judy Greer, turning 30 is a year away. But as far as she's concerned, the age most twentysomethings dread should just happen already. In her new movie, 13 Going On 30 starring Jennifer Garner, age is more than just a number. Jenna (played by Garner) is a 13-year-old living in the age of Madonna, "Jessie's Girl," and hot pink hair scrunchies. After having the worst birthday party ever, thanks to her so-called friend Lucy (played by Greer), Jenna wishes to be "Thirty, flirty and thriving." When she wakes up the next morning, she gets her wish along with a live-in boyfriend, a successful job as editor-in-chief of Poise magazine and bodacious boobs to match. Hysterically sweet, fun and incredibly sentimental, this comedy will get you back into your lime green Lycra biker shorts in no time.
Known as Hollywood's scene-stealing actress, Judy Greer has blown audiences away since her pass-the-tissues-please scene with Mel Gibson in What Women Want as his suicidal secretary. With a genuine gift for laughs and great taste in co-stars (such as Sigourney Weaver, Nicholas Cage and George Clooney), Greer has more flair than most of Hollywood's A-listers. This girl of the 80's has not only captured the essence of what it is to be 30 and flirty, but she wrote the book on how to thrive.
The film has been compared to Tom Hanks' Big and Tina Fey's Mean Girls. Where do you think the comparisons lie?
Judy Greer: I did not see Mean Girls yet, unfortunately, so I can't comment on that. But I think the difference is we go forward in time and Big doesn't. So I think its interesting to go forward in time because you get to see the effect of the decisions that were made, when you get your wish. So I find that to be, not to say that our movie is more interesting than Big, but I find that our concept is pretty interesting now as an almost 30 year old! (laughs)
And I hear you just had a birthday?
JG: Yes, I did.
Well happy belated birthday! I love the 80's vibe of the whole film. Would you say you're a child of the 80's?
JG: Absolutely! Heck, I was so obsessed with Madonna. Obsessed! I had Madonna parties, I dressed like Madonna, and I had all of her records because we had records back then. I knew all of her lyrics; I was obsessed with her movies and the whole thing. And the only thing I wasn't allowed to do was wear a rosary because we're Catholic and my mom had a heart attack when she saw me come out of my bedroom wearing that.
I'm a big fan of the Thriller dance scene. What was your favorite 80's element?
JG: Hmm, my favorite 80's element…. That's a good question because that was the only one I felt I was really involved with. Actually, I like the language. Like with me, you know, in a lot of her scenes she was using terms that we used back then. I thought that it was funny to be in the present, but to be with someone who was using (terms) like "grody" and "gag me with a spoon." I often use those terms!
I know! I still use "grody."
JG: It's the best!
In past interviews you've compared yourself to Jennifer Garner's "Jenna" more than your "Lucy." Did you ever encounter girl sabotage like Jenna does in the film?
JG: No, I wouldn't say that there was like outward meanness towards me. But I definitely felt awkward and I didn't fit in. Other than that I'm learning that everyone felt that way: even the popular girls.
JG: They were blessed with nice looking hair and skin and everything so they get to hide behind that I suppose. But yeah, I never felt that type of meanness. I mean that's just low.
The DVD extras show old grade school pictures of you and your cast mates. Were you reluctant to have viewers get to know your old side?
JG: I was because I felt like God; I was so ugly back then.
Oh stop! You were not!
JG: See I still see in those pictures, like when I showed them to my boyfriend he's like, "Oh my God, you are so adorable!" and I'm like, "Ugh shut up!" What I see in those pictures is what I saw in the mirror everyday, you know? But at the same time when I see girls on the streets and they're all awkward and trying to wear what's in fashion, maybe it's working and maybe it isn't, but God bless them. I have so much compassion for them and I'm excited to show off my old pictures to those girls who buy the DVD or get it as a gift and are excited to see it. I want them to know that things can get better.
You've been known to steal many scenes from some of Hollywood's heavyweights. One of your most notorious moments is your love scene with George Clooney in Three Kings.
JG: Oh God.
What's your thought-process or preparation for a scene like that?
JG: Oh there was none. Actually, that scene was the last scene that I shot. When I was working on that movie and everyday that they flew me to Arizona to work it was supposed to be to shoot that scene. And then they would have a change of plans so I felt I was on a gangplank for like three months with this scene building up and building up and building up. I was so nervous. It had taken so long. So by the time we got to shoot it I was just ready to go and I was so excited to do it.
A big relief I'm sure.
JG: Definitely. It worked for my benefit. When I read the script I just couldn't believe it.
Any woman would have died to be in your position!
JG: I would've! When I got back my friend John said, 'You know you're never going to get a date again, right? What guy's gonna want to ask the girl who's already done a love scene with George Clooney?' Luckily I found one that did!
That's good. Are paparazzi ever a problem on-set with the big names you've worked with? Like Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner for example?
JG: I don't remember anything with Jennifer Lopez. Not paparazzi wise. I remember people kind of like coming up to us outside and asking for autographs and stuff. But with Jennifer Garner, man, it was just crazy in New York! They were everywhere all the time!
JG: Oh yeah! Even from our craft service table, standing behind the camera taking pictures while we were shooting. It was crazy. And I've never experienced that before and I thought 'Jesus Christ, that would make me nuts!' You know? It was hard for me and they weren't even trying to get pictures of me. And then one time even, we were shooting in L.A. and someone got onto the set by accident. Obviously they weren't supposed to be there. A fan, you know? They were like, 'Hey can I have an autograph?' and we were all like, 'Who are you?' It's kind of awkward, but she's a sweetheart. She handles everything perfectly and I would have been freaked out!
Definitely. I've heard she's really great to work with.
JG: Oh she's the best. The best. Definitely. I can't believe she can be that happy at five in the morning.
Not me - that's for sure. You have incredible range. You've done everything from drama to chick flicks with your most recent role being in M. Night Shyamalan's The Village and Wes Craven's upcoming Cursed. How do you make the transition?
JG: I just try not to look at any role as a comedic role or a dramatic role. I just try to stay in the movie I'm in. Does that make sense? Like sometimes you know you can watch a movie and say those people are like not in the movie. Their performance is really good, but they're not like there. I just try to keep an eye on what we're doing. Say we're making a romantic comedy so maybe I'm telling off my friend, but its still a comedy, you know? Does that make sense?
Yeah it does, it makes sense.
JG: If you're telling off your friend then it's something that's deep and dark and dramatic. It's going to be a different scene even if the lines are the same.
Absolutely. It's all about the tone I think.
JG: Yeah it is. It's all about the tone and the director sets the tone. I've been fortunate enough to work with directors like Gary Winick and M. Night Shyamalan. They're like very clear about creating this environment. And the clothes help and the set helps. It's all cheating really. When you come out in four-inch heals to go to work you feel like you work in fashion. Although they all told me they don't really wear those shoes. They really wear flip-flops and tennis shoes and change into them for parties.
There's so much secrecy about The Village. Is there anything you can at least hint at?
JG: Well I guess not until tomorrow (opening day), but I can say that I took a whole bunch of friends to the premiere in New York and not one of them got the twist before it happened. And these are people who I consider extremely intelligent: an investment banker, a girl in fashion and a guy who has a degree in architecture. None of them could figure it out. Actually, my agent didn't even know.
Adrien Brody was on Live with Regis and Kelly the other morning and he was saying he couldn't tell his agent anything either.
JG: Yeah I know. I didn't tell anyone anything. I didn't even tell my boyfriend. That makes it fun. (laughs)
Is there anything you can tell us about Cursed?
JG: I don't know. I forget what I'm supposed to say and what I'm not supposed to say. It's a movie about werewolves in Los Angeles. I had so much fun making that movie. I don't know how to describe it without giving too much away! You get to really go for it. I just had a good time making it, what can I say? If you call me maybe in October we can talk more about that. Wes Craven is so fun. He loves to laugh and have a good time. He just created this fun working environment and he keeps the set filled with people who are like that too: hair, makeup wardrobe, props, prop crews and everything. He keeps everything upbeat. Then you see like really gross stuff and you're like, 'Oh, wow?" (laughs)
A little surprise!
JG: Grody and cool!
I was watching Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown the other night.
JG: Oh no.
And noticed you were one of the contenders. When did you learn to play poker and how did you get so good?
JG: I wouldn't say I'm very good, but it's nice of you to say that. My friend Sean Gunn, he's on the Gilmore Girls and he's a poker genius. He taught me and we had a one-month crash course because I did not want to do it and he was like, 'You have to do it.' Then I really wanted to do it because it was for charity and one of the executive producers is Joshua Malina. We're friends and I wanted to support a charity and I wanted to hang out with the guys from Arrested Development which was so much fun. So I guess I learned quickly. But you know, everyone's playing poker now. It's a pretty good thing to know how to do.
It's the new trend.
JG: Absolutely. It's so trendy. I couldn't even believe it when I was at the airport yesterday and the bookstore had a whole display of poker books…at the airport bookstore? Shit, it's hittin' hard.
JG: It went from like yoga to kabbahlah to poker.
When I was watching the show your costars on Arrested Development got along so well. I can only imagine what the mood is like when you guys go into work everyday.
JG: Its insane. It's so fun. It's SO fun. I don't have brothers or sisters so I like to consider them my brothers just the way they treat me. Like the way brothers treat sisters kind of mean and insulting, but with love underneath it all. (laughs) They're fun, great guys.
Your calendar is jam-packed with production starting on Elizabethtown and three films currently in post-production. What else is on your plate?
JG: I did a pilot for NBC during pilot season that we're kind of reworking right now so I don't have really too much to say about that except for its called Nearly Nirvana. It's about a white girl and an Indian, meaning South Asian Indian guy, who are girlfriend/boyfriend. They live together, they're in love and they're graduating from medical school. His whole entire Indian family comes for graduation then I find out that I'm pregnant so then they decide to move in with us because of the baby.
Talk about a twist!
JG: Its really funny. So, we're working on that and working on trying to figure that out.
Well good luck with that. Thank you so much for talking with me today. It was a pleasure and your movie definitely took me back!
JG: Well it was great! Thanks for asking interesting, good questions!
- Danielle Henbest
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