Star Chat- Julie Benz
From: Teen Celebrity, Feb 2000
Tell us about your character on Roswell. . .
“I’m actually an undercover F.B.I, agent but they don’t know it. Thesecret diary contains Liz’s thoughts and feelings about what’s beengoing on between her and Max. It reveals these very extensive noteson her emotions, just like a journal. It’s all about how Max brought herback to life and my character sensed that. I did six episodes and then Ileft to begin filming my latest project, but they have been talking aboutbringing me back. I like the character, she’s really intriguing.”
What is it like being on one of the hottest new shows?
“It’s a great feeling. Roswell is a terrific show and it’s really well written.The writing is really amazing. It’s very rare that you have this level ofintelligence in a program geared toward teens. Sometimes they dumbshows down for teens, yet Roswell is very serious. For instance, my parents and their friends are hooked on it.”
But you originally wanted to go into medicine because you come from a long line of doctors, right? That was until you actuallywatched an operation being performed. . .
“I was thirteen years old and I had just started dating. I had donesomething really stupid and my parents wanted to ground me but theyknew that I really wanted to go to this school dance, so my father, as ajoke, gave me the option to watch six-hours of surgery on videotapeso that I could still go out. It was one of the most disgusting events I’veever witnessed. I really have a weak stomach when it comes toblood-even fake blood gets me shaky, It truly turns my stomachs’
You were a professional ice skater for years, acting must seemrather easy after putting in that kind of discipline. . .
“I don’t think that there is anything more petrifying than when you areout performing in competition and you fall. In that way, acting doesseem like a walk in the park. To me, skating was a mortifying experience. In acting, if you fall down they just edit it out.”What was it like shooting scenes from As Good As it Gets?Jack Nicholson was amazing. He has an amazing presence abouthim-he’s a movie star. He embodies everything that that means.He is so professional. I couldn’t believe it-me-a little girl fromPittsburgh, is acting beside jack Nicholson.
Did he offer you any classic tips from the Nicholson school of act-ing?
“Yeah! I was in this scene from As Good As it Gets where I wasdirected to turn, leave the elevator and trip on the carpet-only I didn’t know how to trip. . .Jack showed me how to trip. . .”
So, how do you trip like Jack Nicholson?
“You have to hit the toe of your one foot against the heel of the otherand you allow that action to kind of push you forward. The trick is toalways look back and make a face at whatever it is that you’ve trippedover.”
You’ve also spent some screen time with bad girls SarahMichelle Gellar, Shannen Doherty and Rose McGowan. Do youhave any behind-the-screen tales from the likes of Hollywood’smost progressive young vixens?
“Both Shannen Doherty and Sarah Michelle Gellar are so extremely professional. They are also amazing to watch while they’re on the set-just how they ask for things and communicate their needs. They arevery strong women. I learned a great deal from Shannen especially. Herreputation is so unfounded, she’s a lot of fun. She’s very protective ofher cast and crew.”
So, tell us a bit about this ABC television movie that you’re in,Satan’s school For Girls.
“It was actually pretty scary. The original, I think, was kind of cheesy-or maybe it just seems that way because it was made in 1971. This onehas elements that are really sort of frightening.”
How is Canada treating you?
Great. I’ve been up here shooting A Fate Totally Worse ThanDeath-a new film with Christopher Lloyd and Dawson’s MonicaKeena. it’s a film by the Bubble Factory-it’s run by the same man whoused to run Universal Studios. I play Danielle-the most popular girl inschool. She’s a character that is extremely self-centered and vain. Aftershe accidentally kills someone, a curse gets put on her and her twofriends which causes them to age prematurely. So my character goesfrom the age of 1 8 to like 90 in just two weeks.”
Do you find that you’re spending much time in the make-uptrailer?
“The makeup process for this role is a brutal one! For instance we justshot some scenes where my character was around 65 years of age and
make-up for that took about 7 hours. They actually used latex and agelatin prosthetic to achieve that look. And they actually have to doyour neck and your hands-it’s quite a remarkable transformation!
Were you shocked to see yourself as a 6S-year-old?
“No, not really. I think, or at least I hope, that I’ll look much better thanthat! i like to think that I take better care of myself. But the role is a lit-tie disconcerting. For one scene I even had to wear adult diapersbecause my character loses control of her bladder. It was very sad(laughs).Adult diapers are not comfortable. You have to wonder, thewhole thing seems so humiliating. You pretty much end up the sameway you began.”
You do a lot of spoofs like the one that you did for Rhino Films, I Still Know What You Screamed Last Summer and Eating LasVegas. Do you have a soft spot for comedy?
I love doing comedy. Summer was directed by the same person thatdid MadTV and Kids in the Hall years ago-he’s brilliant so it was a lotof fun. It gives you a lot of freedom to go over the top. And I’ve beenvery fortunate in the fact that I’ve been able to do a lot of differentthings-especially Roswell, because it’s so serious. The variety keeps it very interesting for me.”
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