In LA for the film's press day, Sigourney Weaver talked about getting to flex her comedy muscles and shared a few memories of high school.
Sigourney Weaver You Again Interview:What was the appeal of playing Ramona?
Sigourney Weaver: "Ramona was just a delicious woman from day one. I felt very connected to her. I felt like she wanted so much to convince Jamie Lee’s character and this community that she had really made it. Really, the person she needs to convince is herself. That happens by the end of the movie because it ceases to mean as much. She can really be herself.”
Why do you think it’s taken so long for studios to cast you in comedies. Why has it just started happening recently?
Sigourney Weaver: "I think since Heartbreakers, even Working Girl a little bit, I think I was so imprinted on the public consciousness as this serious, earnest Ripley that it just took people, maybe even myself, a long time."
Do you do the same kind of character work when you’re playing an outrageous person?
Sigourney Weaver: "In the old days I used to have a method, but now to me it’s all instinctive. I think I work the same way regardless of the genre. I kind of start here [in the gut] and stay out of this [the head]. It kind of just builds a momentum and then I kind of get out of the character’s way."
Did you have a nemesis from high school or somebody you hated or hated you?
Sigourney Weaver: "Most of my friends were…I was at an all-girl school so they were a lot of us who were really awkward. I was this tall when I was 11, so I was really awkward and self-conscious. No one would have really wanted to be mean to me, I was too unimportant."
"I still am in touch with several friends from high school. I don’t go to a lot of reunions much. I’m afraid if I go back to the school, they’ll suddenly go, 'You know what? We’ve checked the records and you still have one more French class. Get back in here,' and it was a boarding school."
Do you believe that the things that happen to you in high school affect you later in your life?
Sigourney Weaver: "I think without question. I mean, I think that’s so true for men and women that we’re still trying to recover from whatever happened in high school - whether it was good or bad. It’s either a great base or it’s still something we’re trying to overcome. I actually think that the reason I am interested in certain parts is because I was such a dweeb in high school. When you are such a loser, it's a helpful way in to a lot of characters because even very powerful people are not all that powerful, really. They all had a high school. I think that kind of vulnerability is completely permanent and as an actor I think it’s a good thing."
Do you think this story could exist if it were men in the lead roles?
Sigourney Weaver: "Yeah I do, but I think it's especially fun for women because I just think that…sorry men, but I think boys are a little more oblivious in high school. Girls are just more sensitive. We’re so concerned about how we look and how we’re doing and I think boys, at least in my daughters’ school what I felt was boys were like they’d find their niche and then they’d kind of go along. Whereas girls, you’re trying to move niches, trying to attract boys, boys who are oblivious and so all of our nerve endings are much more on high."
Do you have a crazy high school experience that inspired your performance?
Sigourney Weaver: "You know what happened to me in high school? It’s not crazy but it was funny because I was so tall in the theater, such as it was I played all the men’s parts and so I would also write the shows. So, in one show I remembered I played…who’s that guy who’s a big silent film star? Rudolph Valentino. So, I played a big sheik, very sexy and then I came in on a kind of motorcycle and I did a whole Elvis thing, and I was chased by a girl. And I kept saying, 'I’m a girl. I’m a girl. Look, look I’m a girl!' And it was just funny because we had no boys to be in class with or anything - it's just sort of a story about how obsessed girls can get and things. Anyway, I had to shake her and say, 'It’s just me. It’s Weaver.' And she went, 'Oh, you’re right.'"
There’s a line in this story about integrity and self-sacrifice. Why do you think those things are so important to include in this comedy?
Sigourney Weaver: "Well I think that’s what gives the movie its kind of very sincere base. You know that ultimately for us to carry on we have to take a cold hard look at where are we. What lies do we tell ourselves about who we are, and what we were, and where we’re going? I think every person in the story needs to kind of - instead of trying to come over in a certain way, which, certainly Ramona tries to do - take the blindfold off and really look at yourself and say, 'Are you who you want to be and is this true? Is this real?' And I think one of the things that was cool about the way that we shot the movie was that by the end Jamie Lee’s character and mine, we realized what we really missed and what we’ve really given up was the friendship we had. We get to reinvent that as women and it’s very meaningful to us."
Can you talk about about the younger actresses? Did you and Jamie show them the ropes?
Sigourney Weaver: "Well I don’t think we needed to show those girls anything. Kristen [Bell] is such a consummate performer. She’s got incredible timing. I think she’s just one of our great young stars. She’s such a terrific person to act with. She and Odette [Yustman] worked so beautifully together, you know, and Kristen just went out of her way to make Odette feel completely at home. It was an amazing ensemble. To work with Betty White too... Betty used to sit in the chair next to me and with her little feet dangling off the end. She used to say, 'Can you hurry please because I don’t want to be late for the call,' and she was 87 and I just thought, wow, I just had so much respect for her professionalism and her joy in life and her generosity, and her chops are serious. She’s amazing."
Your IMDB page lists a bunch of different projects. Which ones are real and which ones are actually happening?
Sigourney Weaver: "I’m afraid most of them are real. I don’t know. It’s like a revolving door. What’s next is I do Vamps with Amy Heckerling where I play this awful wonderful vampire in a comedy, and then I’m going to do this action film over in Spain called The Cold Light of Day. And then I’m going to, I hope, do this comedy with Kate Beckinsale. [It's a] wonderful part for me."
What’s that one called?
Sigourney Weaver: "Happy Holidays Katherine Sloane."
How about an Avatar sequel?
Sigourney Weaver: "Well I can’t…I’m not at liberty to talk about it but anything can happen in science fiction. Ghostbusters apparently is happening."
Sigourney Weaver: "Yeah, Ghostbusters III. I got a call from Ivan [Reitman] and you know, they’re working on the script. But if it’s not a great script, we’re not going to do it. But we hope it will be great script."
Are you doing Abduction also?
Sigourney Weaver: "I did Abduction so that’ll come out."
How was Taylor Lautner?
Sigourney Weaver: "He was awesome. He was great. I think he’s doing a wonderful job."
And how about Alien prequel?
Sigourney Weaver: "Well actually when I talked to Ridley [Scott] a while ago I said…and he probably had this idea too...but I said, 'You’ve got to go back to where that space jockey came from.' To go there is really the movie. So, I’m glad he’s doing it."
Would you do the time travel thing?
Sigourney Weaver: "No, I don’t think so. I think my Alien days are over. My Avatar days are beginning."
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You Again hits theaters on September 24, 2010.