Graham | A Pretty Powerhouse
emily blunt interview
Graham is a pixie girly girl with a steel mind behind those baby
blues. Her comedic timing is impeccable. Though I enjoy all her
work, none makes me giggle harder than her Ann Heche send-up in
Steve Martin's bitter beau with a splash of revenge comedy
Heather's currently starring in the Bollywood meets Hollywood
offering The Guru. Again the pretty
young vixen plays a porn star - but she also plays a strong female
lead underneath the superficial title. Whether she's titillating
a super spy (Mike Myers in The
Spy Who Shagged Me) or seducing an up and "coming"
actor in the field of porn (Mark Wahlberg - Boogie Nights),
or selling her wares to Jack the Ripper ( w/Johnny Depp in From
Hell), Heather illuminates the screen. She's gorgeous
and talented - a sinister combo!
We had a chance to talk about her career and her goals at a swanky
Hollywood hotel. She's down to earth and a feisty little ball
of talent. Let's get to it.
You know I have to ask you, since people will notice...were you
concerned about playing yet another porn star?
Heather: Basically, I only want to play porn stars.[laughter]
I want to see if I can have my entire career and only play
that role. It'll be fun. [obviously she is joking.] Yeah, I read
it and I thought, "Oh, I love it, but I don't know if I can
do it because everyone's going to ask me why did you do that?"
And then I just thought, "Who cares? I think it's really
good and funny and I like my character a lot" and I could
relate to a lot of things with my character. I thought it was
a really unique story, a story that I'd never seen before in a
What part of your character, Sharrona, did you personally relate
Heather: Well, because I was in porn movies
Basically, I could relate to the new age kind of healing stuff
that my character talks about and I liked the idea that I had
these things to say that were wise and interesting but that actually
no one would take me seriously. But, if someone else said them,
then they sounded really good and everyone thought it was genius.
I liked the love story about a girl, basically a person who feels
like if they really are themselves, they won't be accepted. I
think a lot of people feel that way and I like that I created
this whole other personality in this guy to make him like me,
but then I learned that actually someone will like me even if
I am myself. I just think that's a cool story.
How was Jimi to work with - he's quite a little studmuffin though
not the traditional Hollywood lead and of course it's all women
behind the scenes.
Heather: He's great. I mean, I guess since I am female, it's funner
for me in a way because you can relate more to some of the things
they write and we can relate more. And I didn't have to be naked
and he did, so basically that was good. And, I don't know.
It was fun. I think Jimi's a great actor. I think he's really
The cool thing is Ramu is more like what women really go for or
end up with. Do you think the girl power behind the scenes was
the reason they didn't cast a white guy to play an Indian guy?
Heather: Well, a female might have a little more insight into
being more, not a minority but you feel like you're not part of
a white male world. You can understand more what it's like to
the power, part of the power group. I guess you just feel like
there's a whole story that's not being told in movies. You're
only seeing the macho guy version of a story that from the woman's
side may be completely different. I just think it's funny because
I've been trying to develop things because there's less opportunities
for women. We were selling this idea that's alittle bit Sex and
the City-ish and they said, 'Oh, you know what? Sex and the City
has already done this. A lot of people watch Sex and the City,
and it's a movie that would make over 100 million dollars basically,
but Sex and the City has already done it.' I laughed and I was
thinking, 'That's not enough. Like, one show? It's not like you
do The Terminator and say let's not do XXX.' People think 'Well,
you've done one woman show, it's done' but no one just thinks
about every single action movie that's exactly the same. I went
to see some trailers and it's like 'He's a trained killer. He's
a trained killer.'
Were they closed minded because it was a male executive looking
at a predominantly female project?
Heather: I don't know. I think women can be like that too. Basically,
we have this sex comedy idea and they're like, 'Well, The Sweetest
Thing didn't make money so female sex comedies don't make money.'
And I'm like, 'Well, Bridget Jones made money.' I'm just seeing
it's harder for women and any kind of minority, like obviously
have you thought of a movie that has an Indian lead? Like an Indian
man lead. You can't really think of any other than maybe Gandhi,
and he's a historical figure, so it's not like- - So, I just think
if we have more of that, it's good for all of us. It's fun to
see movies about people from different backgrounds and to appreciate
people from different cultures. Hopefully, it'd be nice if there
was less racism in the world and maybe we should all be open to
different kinds of movies I guess.
True. Bollywood is lava hot in England - here we have a taste
- like Monsoon Wedding and so
on. Had you experienced Indian culture and Bollywood before making
Heather: I was exposed to some things about Indian culture like
yoga and I read books on shakras and tantric sex and stuff like
that. And I've been really into aesthetically like furniture.
In my house, I have a lot of exotic-y kind of Indian Moroccan
Asian stuff, but I've never seen Bollywood until the movie. Then
when I saw it, I was really excited to get to do it.
You just went to India right?
Heather: I did. I went to India as part of this magazine article
and it was really fun to see Bollywood, and it was really cool
but I had an experience a little bit like the movie where you
think something's one thing but it's actually not. When I went,
I thought, 'I'm going to have this deep spiritual epiphany here
and my life's going to make sense' and it didn't. And I just thought,
wow, it's really hard getting around and it's just a lot more
difficult living there, for me, because I'm used to living in
America. There were amazing moments, but I found myself missing
all my materialistic comforts. It was amazing and the pictures
look amazing, but it was funny because Jason was like, 'I like
traveling in Europe.'
Did you identify with Marisa Tomei's character Lexi's search for
Heather: To be honest, I kind of identify with all the characters
in a way. I identify with Jimi because I wanted to be an actor.
I watched movies and thought, 'I want to be in movies' and wanted
to be an actor. And then you feel like you want to get in and
maybe you don't get in the way you want, so you're like, 'Well,
how can I get in? What way?' And then thinking somebody will make
you happy and maybe it doesn't, and something else makes you happy.
I identify with Marisa's character in that I think sometimes I
find that I want to find answers from someone. I want somebody
to be like, 'I know the answers and they are this.' So, you look
to someone else and you're like, 'Tell me the answers.' And even
if they don't know anything, and in fact you know more, you just
want to feel like someone knows the answers so you believe somehow
they do and then you actually realize that they don't, that you're
better off following your own judgment. And I guess I like my
character because I feel that I have wisdom that I don't give
myself credit for. I feel that, like I learned in the movie, that
someone can actually like me for who I am. I don't need to try
so hard to be someone else.
Being a chickbabe under the press eye do you find your personal
relationships changed or strained because of the infamous spotlight?
Heather: Well, in the spotlight or not, all relationships, you
learn different things from them. I guess you learn from each
relationship regardless of whether it's in the spotlight or not
and I guess I've learned a lot. I've learned that it's better
to really go for it and really open your heart and you get a lot
back from doing that and just more of what you're actually compatible
with, and what exact kind of person you need because of who you
My brother insists I ask you this- are you attached at present?
Heather: Yeah, I'm dating this guy, Chris Weitz.
So how does Heather Graham meet a nice guy?
Heather: I met Chris through Daisy, basically. I met Chris through
Daisy, the director [of The Guru] because she went to college
with his brother Paul.
It's almost Valentines - and since I live vicariously through
friends that have beaus, let me ask what's he do that's romantic?
Heather: [laughter] He's a really good cook, so he cooks really
Like most talented successful actors of late, you're looking to
produce now right?
Heather: Yeah, I'm looking to develop material and produce it
but I'm really doing it to just find better material to be in
and eventually, maybe I'd want to produce it. To be honest, I'd
probably be selfishly doing it for myself first. I think I'd be
doing it for my own opportunities first and then just to tell
a good story, but I would love to get people jobs that are great
that aren't getting shots.
What about the next acting role, Anger Management? How
was that experience?
Heather: It was really so fun. I loved working with Adam Sandler
and it was just a really fun part. It was really like get in and
get out but make the most of the moment, the time you're there.
And, it was just fun. I played a psycho girl and he was just really
charming and he's got this great group of guys around him that
make you feel like you're one of the guys. They gave me a cigar
and went fishing, and they're the most supportive people. You'll
do one line, like 'I'll see you later.' They're like, 'That was
great!' I'm way crazier than him in the movie, my character.
In The Guru you handle the dance segments like a seasoned
pro! Smoke and mirrors combined with a good editor or are you
Heather: Thanks! Actually, I've taken dance classes and studied
it. I love dancing. I wouldn't say I was actually a dancer
but I am somewhat trained. It was really fun. It was kind of intimidating
because there were people there that were like, 'Okay, you have
to do hand exercises. Go like this.' Whatever. There's eye exercises.
There are so many different kinds of ways that you're supposed
to train in dance, so we just try to pick up as much as we could.
I packed on the pounds this holiday season- you're the picture
of fit. How do you do it!
Heather: [laughter] Well, I think that good genes and doing yoga
a lot. I do yoga five times a week. It's funny because actually
I made my boyfriend go to yoga and when it was over he's like,
'Okay, now I see why you're in such good shape. That was miserable.'
I go to these very hard yoga classes.
Emily: I do yoga - but the wimpy videos that you can pause, grab
a martini, fix a snack and leisurely come back to it [laughter].
Maybe that's the problem. Are you ready for a dramatic role?
Heather: I would love to do that. When I saw The Hours,
I thought, 'Oh, I love that' like a great drama about women. I'd
love to do something like that.
So is that the avenue your looking to develop?
Heather: Yeah, we're developing stuff like that. It's just like
the more drama women material there is, the harder- - as a producer,
you learn, the harder to make it. Those movies are harder to get
made. I'm learning as I've been engaged in development and producing
that a woman's movie, drama, much harder to get made.
Are you going independent or trying a studio?
Heather: We have a few different ideas of varying sizes, so whoever.
You should ring Drew Barrymore. She's very into - obviously- women
Heather: I have actually. She's given me some advice. It's easier
to get a romantic comedy made, for example, for a woman than it
is to get a woman's drama made. It's like, 'One woman's drama
was made this year, so what are you going to do? That was it.'
If you could get anything made, what project would it be?
Heather: I mean, at the end of the day, I just want to be in something
good. It's not a specific thing, but I guess interesting parts
for women really interest me. There's not millions of them out
What's the worst job you've ever had?
Heather: This guy fired me after hiring me. It was this movie
called Scorchers that was probably about 10 years ago. He fired
me, it was horrible. He told me to go to his house to rehearse
with him. Later on I realized this was creepy. We were rehearsing
at his house all the time. And then he ran an acting class and
made me go in his acting class and perform the scene for all the
students. I was really nervous. I was like, 'Let me do it again
because I was just too nervous' and he's like, 'No, you're wasting
my class's time.' He was such a mean guy.
Where is he now?
Heather: He's not working, I think [laughter].
you have it. We can look forward to a more serious Heather in
the near future if she gets her wish. They say comedy is the hardest
to do right- so Heather should be a natural in a drama. The Guru
is pretty cute. And Anger Management, with Adam Sandler and Jack
Nicholson follows that - so she's a busy little gal and I don't
think any of us are troubled by that.