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From: Teen Hollywood
September 6, 2002 by Lynn Barker
Pretty, doe-eyed brunette Shiri Appleby won our hearts as Liz Parker, the human teen in love with an alien in the TV series Roswell. Whether it’s a TV movie or an indie film, the actress seems to perfectly fit the role of wholesome girlfriend. She plays another heart-of-gold gal in the new teen thriller Swimfan. When we talked with Shiri we found her to be really appreciative of her fans and discovered that she has a feisty, frisky side that she can’t wait to display.
TeenHollywood: Why are brunettes always persecuted in movies?
Shiri: I don’t know. They think that brunettes are sweeter, nicer girls, but we have little dangerous sides as well, I guess. I would love to play something like that. It would be nice in contrast to the other characters I’ve played, which are definitely more sweet and innocent kinds of girls.
TeenHollywood: Are you looking forward to doing a role where you don’t have to cry?
Shiri: Yeah, because I don’t cry that much in my personal life, which is really nice, thankfully. I think it would be nice not to play a victim quite so much, but I’m not really complaining about that because there’s something really great about being seen as the love interest also.
TeenHollywood: What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do for a role?
Shiri: I think the hardest part is just the endurance during the day. It’s not hard to be a team player, but the endurance of just being awake and being alive and being up all the time is what gets tiring after awhile, like after 18 hours at 6 o’clock in the morning.
TeenHollywood: What would be your dark side? Like would you run with scissors?
Shiri: (Laughs) I go in the pool after I eat. Things of that nature, yeah.
TeenHollywood: If a girl came on to your boyfriend in real life, like Madison [Erika Christensen] does in this film, what would you do?
Shiri: I was actually in the position that Amy was, when I was in high school. I did get cheated on and the slap that happens in the movie is actually taken from real life events in my own life. When you’re feeling the emotions of being in love for the very first time, and then you feel betrayal, you don’t necessarily know what to think, and so that was the first thing I came up with. When John Polson [director] and Jesse [Bradford] and I were sitting around in rehearsals talking about it, I told him about that experience, and so John said, ‘Well, in this moment, why don’t you slap Jesse?,’ and he had no problem with it, so that’s what happened.
TeenHollywood: Did Jesse expect it?
Shiri: Yeah, he expected it. We had to do it so many times. I felt so bad. The stunt guys were there, so I learned how to slap him but it wasn’t looking as real, so I finally just had to let him have it once. They teach you, so that he could move with me because, God forbid, we should pop blood vessels and stuff. So, I learned how to slap somebody.
TeenHollywood: You have to stay underwater for a while in this film. How was that done?
Shiri: I learned how to scuba dive, so I was underwater for about half an hour at a time. I had scuba guys near me that would bring the air in to me. As soon as I started feeling like I was running out of air, I would just shake my shoulders and in they would fly. They had a loud speaker underwater so that the A.D. could say, ‘They’re pulling focus right now. The camera’s moving to you. Jesse’s swimming in,’ so I knew what was happening. The very first time I went down, I couldn’t hear anything. I had no senses and I felt completely lost. I panicked and swam back up to the top.
TeenHollywood: Aside from the pool scene, what was the most challenging scene in this movie for you?
Shiri: I also had to learn how to ride a motorcycle. That was me the whole time. Yeah, I do all my own stunts. (Laughs) Yeah, me, Tom Cruise, Jackie Chan. It’s very exciting. I’d never done it before, so it was really fun, especially when we finally got to shoot it. I had just practiced up and down the block, in front of the production office, and so I got miles of just being able to go and it was really fun.
TeenHollywood: Do you have one at home now?
Shiri: No. I want a Vespa. So, tell them I want one. A pink one.
TeenHollywood: Can you still relate to your teen characters?
Shiri: Sure. Like experiencing love for the first time and experiencing what it’s like to be completely enamored with somebody and wanting to do everything to be in a relationship, or what it was like to have your heart broken for the first time. I don’t necessarily know if you forget what those things feel like, so to call upon those emotions is rather easy, I think.
TeenHollywood: With Roswell over, what are you up to now?
Shiri: I’ve been taking some classes at UCLA, and I’ve kind of just been enjoying the summer. I think it’s been my first three months off in three years, so it’s been nice to remember what it’s like to go out and pay attention to relationships and friends in my life. I haven’t seen Erika and Jesse this much since we made the movie, and we became really good friends, so it’s nice to hang out with them again. I’m really proud of the film and it’s my first big movie that’s coming out, so hopefully it will help me make the transition to film.
TeenHollywood: What were you studying at UCLA?
Shiri: I was taking a writing class and a photography class, and I’m also studying acting with Jeffrey Tambor. I’m kind of just taking classes of things that I’ve been interested in. I’ve been writing a little bit.
TeenHollywood: What sort of things do you write?
Shiri: I was taking this class called ‘Find Your Unique Voice,’ and I thought it was just going to be writing essays, and it actually turned out to be a class where you write scenes and then we would go to a theater and actors would get on a stage and act out your scenes. I didn’t realize how connected you are to the words and, if somebody didn’t say it exactly the way I had interpreted it when I wrote it, it stung a little bit, so then I felt bad for all the writers whose scenes I’ve ever butchered.
TeenHollywood: How many times since Roswell started have you been asked whether or not you believe in aliens?
Shiri: Billions. And my answer is, basically, that I think that we would be ignorant to think there is not another life form out there, but yet, I haven’t met them, so I don’t really know. There’s my stock answer. (Laughs)
TeenHollywood: Where did you like to hang out in New York?
Shiri: I loved spending a lot of time in the parks. I was a really big fan of Union Square Park, or just walking around or going out at night. New York is just so great for people watching. In the summertime, it was beautiful. There was so much stuff happening
TeenHollywood: What in your life, besides acting, is a natural high for you?
Shiri: Hanging out with my friends because I haven’t done much of that in the past three years. And, I’m a really big traveler. I’ve been traveling quite a bit. I went to China last month, and London. I just like to travel. I’ve been backpacking a few times.
TeenHollywood: Have you seen any of your fan supported websites?
Shiri: Oh, yeah. When you’re working in a concrete box with people and you’re hanging out and making friends, you never realize that people are affected or care about what you’re doing. So then, you go on the Internet and you can see all these people that dedicate so much of their time to you. It’s very flattering, but it’s so overwhelming and definitely a little shocking. Sci-Fi fans are really, really strong and very vocal about their commitment to the shows. In our case, if it wasn’t for the fan support, I don’t necessarily know if Roswell would have made it as long as it did. I felt really fortunate that the people were so supportive.
TeenHollywood: Do you ever respond to anything on those websites?
Shiri: Yes. I’ve gone on a few times at Crashdown just to say, ‘Thank you,’ because I don’t know a group of fans [who were that dedicated]. They kept the show on another year at The WB and then they got another network (UPN) to pick up the show. You want to just say, ‘Thank you so much,’ because without them, you wouldn’t have a job and you wouldn’t be doing what you love every day.
TeenHollywood: Are you musical at all?
Shiri: I bought a guitar while we were shooting Swimfan and I was like, ‘Oh, Jesse can teach me how to play guitar.’ He’s really good and I just really suck. I’ve got it at home so when guys come over, they play it, otherwise it’s like a hat rack. I’m not very musically talented.
TeenHollywood: Who would you really like to work with?
Shiri: Cameron Crowe. I think he’s fantastic. I really love Mary Louise Parker and Billy Crudup.
TeenHollywood: How does Jesse Bradford compare to some of the other co-stars you’ve had?
Shiri: Kissing wise, he’s great. They’re all great. [laughs]. We got along really well. In the film, we’ve already been together for awhile, so we just wanted to be really comfortable together and he was really great. He’s a really fun, nice guy, really outgoing.
TeenHollywood: Jesse’s character cheats on you. Why?
Shiri: I think Ben cheats because I think the stability of being young and having a relationship so serious for so long has probably worn on him. Amy wants to go to college together and she’s really looking at this for the long haul, so when something new and exciting comes along, I think it’s kind of refreshing.
TeenHollywood: Do you think the strong support that you receive from your family helps keep you grounded?
Shiri: When you have a family who are watching what you’re doing and letting you know when things are getting a little out of control or they’re there to hold your hand through things, it’s really nice. At the end of the day, you know it’s going to end and you want to enjoy it while you can, but not allow it to really affect you.
Lynn Barker is a Hollywood-based entertainment journalist and produced screenwriter.
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