Wednesday, October 27, 2010 / 1:21 pm
Not Playing It Safe
With the release of "Life As We Know It" in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article based on a press junket interview for the film held at the end of September in New York. At the publicity event Katherine was joined by co-stars Josh Duhamel and Josh Lucas, as well as director Greg Berlanti to talk about the movie.
Grey's Anatomy Star Cuts Through Hollywood Conventions
By Greg Truman
Katherine Heigl has been turning heads for more than a decade.
But as the Emmy Award-winning former model glides through the lobby of a New York hotel, she shows why it's not only her looks that demand attention.
Chatting to her entourage, Heigl unloads a gloriously unrestrained guffaw, startling a few unsuspecting hotel guests who have muscled in close to grab a glance. "Oh, no!" she howls to a companion as she is stuffed into an elevator, her chortles still audible after the door closes.
Heigl's raucous laugh is a constant companion during conversation and part of a refreshing openness, if not irreverence, the 31-year-old has demonstrated repeatedly since she hit the big time courtesy of her role as Dr Izzie Stevens in Grey's Anatomy.
So, what are we going to talk about?" she jokes, pulling up a seat beside her co-star, Josh Duhamel, and taking a lip-puckering drag on an electronic cigarette. "Nobody minds, right?" she asks, as she mischievously blows "smoke" about the room. The electronic cigarette generates only water vapour, she explains, while giving her a hit of nicotine. It's part of a plan to gradually give up the smoking habit, hatched after she adopted a South Korean-born baby girl she named Nancy Leigh, or Naleigh, last year.
"It's not just about you any more," she says, reflecting on the impact Naleigh has made on her life and that of Kelley, whom she married in 2007. "[Having children] is one of those things where you have to dive in blind otherwise you'd never do it. Children are vulnerable. They need you, they love you. You end up being so madly in love with them, you end up doing pretty much anything to make them happy."
There are more than a few art-imitating-life moments in the film for Heigl. Not only did she recently adopt Naleigh but she has a Korean-born adoptive sister, Meg. She also lost her older brother, Jason, to a car accident in 1986.
"I loved the movie and related to the movie because in my own life I was getting ready to become a mum and wanting to start a family but I didn't expect to be doing both at the same time," Heigl says.
"It is a tendency of filmmakers to play it a bit safe, especially for a romantic comedy," she says. "What I loved about this film was everybody was passionate about maintaining the dynamic, not losing one for the sake of the other, the tragedy for the comedy or the comedy for the tragedy."
Director Berlanti concedes Life as We Know It probably wouldn't have made it to the big screen had it not been for Heigl's tenacity. "A lot of studios passed on this movie because of the death of the parents," he says. "But [Heigl] said: 'I'm going to make it."'
Acknowledging her box-office potential, Warner Bros came on board, "so she really used her clout at this moment in the business to make a film that couldn't get made, made", Berlanti says.
"She has it all going on," says Duhamel, who is married to Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas and, like Heigl, is building a film career after success on television.
Josh Lucas (A Beautiful Mind, American Psycho), who plays a leading role in Life, says his decision to commit to the rom-com was easy because of Heigl's presence. "I have a great respect for Katherine," he says. "I genuinely think this woman is a truly gifted actress in multiple ways. And I also have a crush on her from seeing her movies."
Berlanti, who's building a reputation for nuanced domestic dramas and comedies, including the TV hit Brothers & Sisters, notes Heigl's film-star qualities extend beyond good looks and comedic timing. "She can laugh at herself," he says. "That makes a difference."
Please visit the Sydney Morning Herald web site to read the article in full.