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  Cameron Diaz
Bringing a Woman's Touch to Any Given Sunday
By Christine James

  Cameron Diaz Someone's wearing lipstick in Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday. It's not Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx or LL Cool J, and it's certainly not Charlton Heston. Cameron Diaz plays the beautiful but tough-as-nails football team owner Christina Pagniacci in the gridiron drama, which marks the latest step in one of filmdom's least predictable careers.

When you look like Cameron Diaz, producers are going to fall over themselves offering you the "big" roles — as the romantic interest of the real star of the film. But after initial stints as Jim Carrey's objet d'amour in The Mask and as Dermot Mulroney's fiancĂ©e in My Best Friend's Wedding, Diaz has chosen some seriously off-kilter parts. From the emission-coiffed heroine of There's Something About Mary to the psychotically anal-obsessive bride-to-be in Very Bad Things to the frowzy, would-be transsexual in Being John Malkovich, Diaz decimates any attempts at pigeonholing.

During a recent press junket, Diaz spoke to reporters about her role in Any Given Sunday. Playing the ruthless Christina, she gets to explore her inner bitch, chewing out Pacino's football coach in the process. As Heston notes in the movies, she is someone who "would eat her young."

Q: So this wasn't a stretch for you at all, was it?

Cameron Diaz: I know, it's so me. I wasn't acting at all.

Q: I read that football and sports are kind of your thing anyway.

CD: I get this question asked a lot, and last night I was thinking, "God, I'm sure I gave the answer that nobody wanted to hear!" [Laughs]

Q: Which is?

CD: I was at one time a huge sports fan. I grew up with it — it was very much a part of my life. But in the last five or six years, I've kind of let it go, been really busy and haven't followed and kept up with it. It's not as much a part of my life as it once was. But I do really enjoy sports. I love the game. I love football. It's part of my makeup, in there genetically somewhere.

Q: Were you intimidated by the script when you first read it?

CD: Yes, I was intimidated, of course. Just the whole thing. Oliver [Stone], Al [Pacino], James Woods — everybody involved. You want to go in and do your best, but I did sort of feel like Christina sometimes, being that 12-year-old girl with braces on, trying to be tough. I put a lot of trust in Oliver, of course — why wouldn't you? He's a genius filmmaker. That was the reason why I wanted to do the film, because of him.

Q: Was it fun to be so tough?

CD: Yeah, it was fun, it was a challenge — it was just a great experience. I like to try on different shoes.

Q: Were you a little nervous about getting in Al Pacino's face?

CD: Yes, I was. I was very nervous. It's Al Pacino! And he's such a strong presence. He's such a nice man, and incredibly patient. But it was sort of like, "Okay, I'm ready to go!" It's like you're running out to the field, and you're like, "I'm ready! I'm going to do it!" Then you're like: "I'm gonna go back into my trailer and I'm gonna cry!" [Laughs]

Q: What about those locker room scenes [being surrounded by naked men]?

CD: [Coyly] What about those locker room scenes? Next time I'll look down.

Q: You were looking at the ceiling?

CD: Eye-to-eye contact is the best way to handle those situations.

Q: After being so frumpy in Being John Malkovich, was it nice to actually look really good again?

CD: Me, personally, I'm kind of in the middle of Lotte and Christina. I'm sort of a blend, a mixture of the two. It was fun to play Christina; it was fun to be that girl. I felt [it was] very important for her [to not] come off as a man. I wanted her femininity, the fact that she was a woman, to be apparent, and for it to be obvious that she wasn't afraid of it, and that it was important to her. The way that she presented herself was well thought-out — it was strategic as well as fulfilling her own needs as a woman.

Q: How did you like shooting in Miami?

CD: You know, I love Miami! I love being there. I love everything about Miami. I love the air and the water. I like the water that's in the air. I like the whole thing.

Q: Did every Cuban that you met stop you and try to talk to you in Spanish?

CD: Mm-hmm. You know they do, absolutely.

Q: And how do you handle that?

CD: I go, "God, you know, it all sounds so familiar. I know what you're saying, I really do. I just cannot respond to you back in Spanish. I can barely speak English properly." I didn't grow up in a Cuban or Latin community. I grew up in Southern California on the beach, basically. And I'm third generation. I'm of Cuban descent, but I'm American.

Q: That was a question on Who Wants to Be A Millionaire.

CD: Was it really?

Q: Yeah, and they got it wrong. They picked you [as having been born in Puerto Rico], not Ricky Martin.

CD: Well, you see, I just keep people guessing! Put the wrong information out there.

 
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