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Amanda Peet Talks About "Igby Goes Down"
by Rebecca Murray and Fred Topel

Amanda Peet and Kieran Culkin in "Igby Goes Down"
Photo©Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - All Rights Reserved.

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• Susan Sarandon (Mimi)


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Amanda Peet candidly admits that once she'd read the script for this film, she was hooked. Peet says she would have been willing to play any character just to be a part of "Igby Goes Down." "Don't tell Burr [Steers], but I would have done anything to be in this movie," says Peet.

Writer/director Burl Steers is equally as enthusiastic about working with Amanda Peet. "Amanda is an actress who, when you work with her, immediately makes you think of other things you can write for her," he says. "She gets in front of a camera and has those eyes and this incredibly expressive face. You realize what movies are about, the magic of movies. And she's brave. Just fearless. Amanda is an artist and wanted the opportunity to show it. I think that's what this movie gave her."


Do you know anybody like your character Rachel, or is this just something totally off the top of your head?
No, definitely, I feel like I've read about people like that and I have seen people who have had a morsel of that pretentious, lost, pseudo-downtown thing.

Why do you think filmmakers like to cast you as a seductress?
Am I always a seductress?

Not always, but often.
I think it's just women. I think that, when you have a male lead, you're probably going to have some femme fatales in there, at some point, unless it's just a really boring love story where everyone is happy and stays together. We're the obstacles, I guess.

Do you see Rachel as a seductress?
I think she is, in the most predatory and abusive way. She is a seductress, absolutely. She's not very successful at it and she certainly doesn't seduce the right things. Everyone's a seductress, but one would hope that you would try to win people over who are going to be in something real with you, who really take you seriously, as a person, and who you can have a substantive relationship with. She seduces all the wrong things and is seduced by all the wrong things, as well.

Do you think the director's previous experience as an actor helped him be able to direct you better?
Yes, probably. You have people out here who are incredibly smart and intuitive and sensitive, and you have people who are just like, "Put the camera here," and, "Can you act a little more sad when you say that?," or, "Could you be more funny, 'cause this is a funny moment?" You just have a lot of idiots that don't really care. Burr is incredibly passionate and has the mind to match his passion, which is also a rare combination.

What makes you so comfortable with doing nudity in films?
For this movie, if Burr had said, "Okay, today you're going to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge," I would have done it. It was just really easy for me because when you feel like you have the right pair of eyes - and because I thought he was so intelligent and because his creative sensibility and his aesthetic sensibility are similar to mine - I just trusted him completely. I thought the movie was so beautiful and so smart and original, that I just really would have done anything. Usually I'm splicing the scene into 2-second portions of nipples and saying, "Artist's buttocks will be shown for 3 seconds in this shot," but for this I was just like, "Where do you want to put the camera?"

Did you feel that was necessary for this movie?
Oh, my God, I thought it was so necessary because I thought it was that she was completely desexualized and had desexualized herself. What's sad about the scene is the complete indifference and the fact that it's as if she's wearing clothes, to her and to them.

What was doing the sex scene with Kieran Culkin like?
I was so immature and he was very mature. I was very giggly. I was like, "Well, I have to make Kieran feel comfortable." We got to the set and he was the one who was like, "Okay, sweetheart." He's so protective. He's really an old soul. I can't tell you how much I admire him and adore him. When you're with the right people, it's so fun because you can really let go. It's the same thing as dating, when you're with someone who you're comfortable with and who you know respects you -- you're okay to really show yourself.

What makes you feel sexy?
Being happy really makes me feel sexy. When I'm depressed, I don't feel sexy, and when I'm happy, I feel sexy, pretty much.

So, what makes you happy?
(Laughing) Kieran Culkin. Just kidding. He's too young. If he were a few years older . . . Oh, a wide array of things (laughing). When I have a crush on a boy, I feel sexy, usually, if he likes me back.

There are already whispers that MGM wants to push Kieran for an Oscar.
As well they should.

Can you talk about what you know about him that we don't?
He's very, very unfazed by this s**t and he's very dedicated as an artist. I think he's wildly talented and, hopefully, he'll be protected in the right way, so he can not only become a movie star, but a great actor, and stay the great actor that he is. I am just flabbergasted about how talented he is. I don't know what to say. I feel very lucky to have stood across from him. He's very relaxed. He's so smart. It's almost like I couldn't distinguish between the script and him, and that's a testament to his acting ability, how much he just molded in.

All of Spencer Tracy's leading ladies used to flub their lines in the beginning of scenes because they couldn't tell when he was starting to act from when he was just being Spencer Tracy, screwing around before a take, and Kieran's very similar that way. He just is himself. It seems so easy. What's so hard about being yourself when the camera rolls? But it's so hard to be that easy, that's the thing. And he's got it. He's got that thing, where it's like he doesn't change. The camera rolls and he's in his shoes. Plus, he's easy on the eyes, let's face it (laughing). "He's 19, Amanda. He's 19. (Laughing) Amanda Peet was inappropriate at her press junket and talked about her crush on Kieran Culkin."

Most of your roles have been in the comedy/teen genre and this role seems to be much more meaty. Are you trying to move more in that direction?
Yeah. I think when I did "Changing Lanes" and "High Crimes" with Ashley [Judd], I was trying to get away from solely relying on comedy. I do love comedy, and this is, in fact, a comedy in some ways, but obviously, like every actress, I'd like to do both. It's just hard because people like to pigeonhole you and say that that's your thing, so you have to just keep darting around.

I just shot this movie "I.D." with John Cusack that James Mangold directed, and it's very dark and scary. I play a reformed hooker from Vegas. It's very, very dark, so I'm excited about that. And then we're doing "The Whole Nine Yards" sequel, so I feel like I'm definitely starting to mix it up.

What's the sequel to "The Whole Nine Yards" about?
I think Matthew [Perry], Bruce [Willis] and I are going to try to save Natasha [Henstridge] from being kidnaped by Kevin Pollack (laughing). See, it's already funny. I can't even say it without being like, "That's ridiculous. That's the funniest thing I've ever heard."

When do you start work on ‘The Whole Nine Yards II'?
October 1st.

What would you say to people to get them to go see "Igby Goes Down?"
Why did you go see "American Beauty?" Because it's better and it's enriching. I think it will find it's audience. Definitely in New York and Los Angeles, anyway, and Chicago and places where they have people who aren't just into cow tipping. (Laughs) Was that mean? Sorry! "She's a craddle robber and an anti-Midwestern New York snob." That stuff just gets so monotonous and offensive, especially now, after September 11th. I've seen some stuff where I was just like, "This is just offensive." I don't want to name names, but you're confusing everyone younger than the age of 15 about what is CNN and what is a blockbuster film. It's scary. It's really frightening.

Interview with Ryan Phillippe - >Page 3

"Igby Goes Down" Production Photos

"Igby Goes Down" Trailer and Websites

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