Tara Reid – actress – Interview
When it comes to making movie magic, actress Tara Reid knows it isn’t what you say but how you say it. And it isn’t what you look like on camera, it’s how you look at the other actors. Look out for her, though, because she’s about to hit big
Earlier this year, in the TV film What We Did That Night, Tara Reid played a tease picked up in a diner by four college guys who want her to participate in a dangerous prank. She takes a shine to the sweetest of them (Jack Noseworthy) when they’re left alone in an indoor swimming pool; dangling her feet in the water, she opens her eyes wide In sexual invitation while mocking his prissy diction. Later on, she taunts his friends and is apparently shot dead by Noseworthy’s dupe while they’re making out. She doesn’t actually die, but since she doesn’t reappear, the movie does.
Reid neglects this TV flick when describing her feature roles to date in the following interview with her friend and American Pie costar Alyson Hannigan. That suggests she didn’t care for the trashy part or realize her performance was brilliant – as humorous, sexy, and knowing as Gloria Grahame’s spellbinding noir floozies in The Big Heat (1953) and Human Desire (1954) or Annette Bening’s in The Grifters (1990). With her gurgly laugh, almost tangible glow, and whip-smart line readings, Reid could be a Grahame for the 2000s – we should be so lucky. Then again, she’s thoroughly convincing as American Pie’s anxious virgin, so go figure.
GRAHAM FULLER ALYSON HANNIGAN: Hello, I’m here with the most important Tara Reid. Oh, Miss Reid, thank you so much for doing this Interview. I’m so excited to get the chance to interview you because I’m such a big fan and –
TARA REID: Shut up.
AH: [laughs] You grew up in New Jersey. Do you think that prepared you for Hollywood?
TR: I don’t think anything prepares you for Hollywood. Maybe the one thing New Jersey gave me was the small-town-girl thing; I think that helps me in certain aspects of different roles.
AH: I don’t really think of Jersey as a small-town kind of place.
TR: Well, that’s because you think of Jersey as, like, Newark Airport or the beach. But where I come from in Jersey [Wyckoff] is actually a little town, and everyone knows everyone, and we all grew up together.
AH: Did you always know you wanted to be an actress?
TR: Yeah. Anytime I watched a movie or a TV show, I’d want to repeat the performance. I remember watching Drew Barrymore in E.T.  and thinking: I want to be her, I could do that. The same with Firestarter  – the one where she blew up things. I love that idea, killing everyone with your eyes.
AH: Did you tell your parents you wanted to act?
TR: I did. When I was two, I went shopping with my mom at the Garden State Plaza and she went to get pizza. My brother and I were standing on this table, and I started singing and dancing and screaming. My morn was like, “Tara, get down.” This talent manager happened to be there at the time, and she came up to my mom and said, “Your daughter’s so cute, she should do commercials.” That’s how I got my start.
AH: If you weren’t an actress, what would you be?
TR: A race-car driver. It’d get my aggression out.
AH: Is that your second passion?
TR: I’ve never actually done it. But I love driving fast and, like, maneuvering through tight spaces.
AH: Sounds like acting, with all the competition there is. What was the first job you got after you moved to L.A.?
TR: The first big one was The Big Lebowski . I liked playing Bunny Lebowski. She’s crazy and fun, the kind of girl you would almost love to hate, but you can’t ’cause she’s cool.
AH: So how much do you resemble Bunny?
TR: There’s definitely a bit of me in there – the part of her that’s painting her toenails by the pool with a little drink in her hand.
AH: She’s a trophy wife!
TR: Yeah, but that’s the one thing I wouldn’t be, and I wouldn’t tell a guy I’d suck his cock for a thousand dollars.
AH: Do people still ask you about that infamous line?
TR: All the time. I’ll never live it down.
AH: [laughs] Are you afraid that by doing roles like that you’re going to end up being typecast as the bikini-clad girlfriend?
TR: No, because that’s the only one I’ve played. After The Big Lebowski, I played a hippie girl who makes this guy go into drug rehab in Around the Fire . Then I did Girl , where I played a lesbian rock star, and Urban Legend , in which I was a radio sex therapist, like a female version of Howard Stern. I’m the all-American girl in American Pie, and in [the upcoming] Body Shots I play this girl struggling through the kind of disastrous night I think everyone has. And in the comedy I’m doing now [The Visitors] I’m a gardener. I think everything I’ve done is soooo different.
AH: Which one was the most fulfilling?
TR: They’ve all been fulfilling in their own ways, but the one my heart’s closest to is Body Shots because I felt I got to show more colors as an actress. It’s this kind of Rashomon-like drama where you see the story from the different perspectives of my character and [costar] Jerry O’Connell’s.
AH: What appealed to you about American Pie?
TR: That it wasn’t your normal teenage ensemble movie. Everyone who sees it will be able to identify with one of the characters. I think my character is probably the most serious one. It’s not that she’s a goody-goody and doesn’t want to have sex – she just wants it to be right when she does. I wanted that the first time I had sex, but it wasn’t the greatest time in the world. So I liked that she was trying to plan it right, because if I had to go back and do it again, I would do it differently.
AH: How would you?
TR: Probably just with a different guy. [laughs]
AH: You didn’t care about the guy?
TR: I did. At the time I probably thought he was the best thing. And it was OK – it wasn’t bad – but it would have been better if he’d been my fast real boyfriend.
AH: Are the more flirty roles you play easier than, say, the one in American Pie?
TR: No role is necessarily easier than any other, whether it’s flirty or non-flirty. It depends on who your partner in the scene is. When there’s no chemistry, it’s definitely not easier.
AH: Have you ever been in that situation?
TR: Yes, I have. But I’m not going to say in what.
AH: [laughs] Well, it shows what a good actress you are because I haven’t been able to tell which film it was. Do you have any rules you live by, do’s and don’ts?
TR: One of them – it’s kind of my motto in life – is “work hard, party hard.”
AH: Do you consider yourself ambitious?
TR: I know for sure I want to keep working – it’s truly my love right now. I guess I feel I have to talk seriously [with industry people] and say what I want, because if I don’t, I think they sometimes misjudge me. I don’t know if people look at me and think, She’s actually pretty smart. But I am. And I feel like I have good focus and good values and morals. I don’t want people thinking, Oh, she’s another pretty blonde actress – one of fifty of them. I’m not just one of fifty.
AH: Are you happy?
TR: I’m happy I’m doing what I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid, and sometimes I want to pinch myself because it’s happening. What I’m missing now in my life is true friendship and love. This is a lonely business and it’s hard to make good friends in it. I’d like to have someone to go home to and share stuff with. I’m not saying I want a husband, but I wouldn’t mind someone there. And touch is so important. Like, just once in a while, someone I know will say, “Hey! How are you?” And they’ll just touch my arm, and I’ll want to cry. That’s retarded, I know, but I find lately that I’m so emotional – I don’t know what it is.
AH: OK. New Year’s Eve, 1999, at 11:59 P.M. to January 1, 2000, at 12:01 A.M.: What will you be doing? You’ve got two minutes there.
TR: Hopefully I’ll have a boyfriend by then, and I’ll just kiss him for two minutes.
AH: One last but relevant question. What’s your favorite toe?
TR: This one.
AH: That would be the long one next to the big toe.
TR: Yeah. On my right foot. [laughs]
AH: So, readers, she likes the little piggy that stayed home. That’s kind of symbolic. [laughs]
COPYRIGHT 1999 Brant Publications, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group