Ari Graynor... Good Girl or Bad Girl?
Hot Interviews by Michael Medico
Ari Graynor has never been average. YEARS ago I was doing a play at the Huntington in Boston and this little 14 yr old girl was blowing the rest of the cast away on stage every night... that was Ari. She played my little sister in that show and she's been an adopted little sister ever since. However, 'little' she's not... these days she dazzles the stage, screen and tube on a regular basis. Her latest preject hitting the airwaves is An American Crime starring Ellen Paige and Catherine Keener. It premiers tonight (May 10th) on Showtime. I snuck in an interview with Ari between her birthday party and jetting off to New York to finish lensing her latest movie... It's the least she could do for a brother!
MM: It seems you play a lot of cer-azy chicks (Law and Order:SVU, the Sopranos) now the conniving daughter, Paula, in An American Crime (AAC)- What's the deal with that? In real life, you are the sweetest! What is your prep like for characters like these?
AG: I think the thing is, either with Paula in An American Crime or any of the other characters I’ve played, crazy or otherwise is understanding where they’re coming from and why they do what they do. An American Crime is so hard because it’s a true story. Obviously some of the movie is fictionalized, but in our interpretation, Paula is 17 yr old girl way over her head, scared, insecure, wanting love and attention. It does not excuse any of her actions, but it’s a little easier to play and I think by not judging your character, you can live more fully in them. Would you say that’s the most pretentious answer you’ve gotten to a question?
The Cast of An American Crime with Director Tommy O'Haver in Park City
MM: Yes it is... the MOST pretentious. ;-) When you had really intense material days for AAC- what did you and the cast do to unwind and shake off the day?
AG: Catherine Keener was amazing on that set. We had a lot of kids around and I think everyone, but especially Catherine felt there was a certain responsibility to be ok for them when we were out of a scene. And, I think the kids themselves helped a lot without even knowing it. They would be so incredible while we were working and just so in it and emotional, and then we would stop to relight or set up another shot, and they would be back to giggling and playing, and I know that helped me. But don’t get me wrong, there were also days you just needed to sit alone or have a good cry in your car on the way home.
Ari and Ellen Page
MM: You are just now completing reshoots on Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist in New York with Kat Denings and Michael Cera... What's something funny that happened on set that we wouldn't know from just watching the movie? when can we expect to see this movie in the theatres?
AG: Ohhh funny things that happened on set…oh god, I’m not good at remembering like the penultimate moment of fun, but there were a lot of amazing times. We all just hit it off immediately, so that combined with lots of night shoots and New York equals a lot of super giggly times. We shot a lot in this van and we filmed into December when it started getting really cold, so we would all hide out in there in between takes. We had a couple of good dance parties up in her, and I almost had an eye poked out at like 3 am when someone (who shall remain nameless) threw one of those hand warmers you keep in your pocket directly at my eye. It was an accident, but that van got quiet real fast.
MM: You're also in Michael Cera's next movie (the name)... What is your character like?
AG: Its called Youth In Revolt based on a really exceptional book. My character’s name is Lacey and she’s fresh out of cosmetology school and dates Michael Cera’s character (Nick Twisp)’s dad. And they have a very dysfunctional relationship. Its really fun, but I still have a lot to learn about her.
MM: Do you like playing comedy or drama better?
AG: I really love both. I feel like each one balances out a certain part of me. After the past year and half of doing a lot of comedy, I think I'll feel ready to get into some more serious stuff for a bit.
Ari with her casts of Brooklyn Boy and Little Dog Laughed
MM: If you had the opportunity to go back to broadway tomorrow (after your two hits: Brooklyn Boy and Little Dog Laughed) would you put movies on the backburner for a while?
AG: Absolutely. In fact I just had an audition for one today. Theater was always my first passion, Ive been doing it now for 19 years. Oh my god. That’s a lot of years. For a long time, I only really felt at home on stage and felt much more nervous on camera, so now its nice to feel comfortable in both places, but I’m anxious to get back
Ari and boyfriend Eddie Kaye Thomas at Hot in Hollywood 2007
MM: Who or what do you think is Hot in Hollywood?
AG: Charades, Celebrity, Mafia
MM: The big question: m&m's plain or peanut?