Saturday, March 1, 2008

Amy Adams savors the day

Amy Adams received an Oscar nomination for "Junebug" and starred in the big-budget hit "Enchanted" after turning 30.

Naturally, she is making hay while the spotlight shines. "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day," opening Friday, marks her eighth film since she appeared in "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" in the summer of 2006. She recently signed up for the sequel to "Night at the Museum."

Adams is 33. Not an age where a fresh-faced optimist has to panic. Not an age where one floats out of bed like a Disney princess either.

"I feel more pressured by the biological clock than I do by my actor's time clock," she says.

Memo to Adams' agent and her boyfriend: She's just ruminating, not declaring.

"I think things have changed so much now, you know," she continues. "You do see pregnant actresses all the time and you bring the kids to work and it's just ... there's a lot of people who have paved that road."

While the clock is ticking, Adams is clicking. She followed her fairy-tale turn as the warbling cartoon princess turned Manhattan maiden in "Enchanted" with her congressional aide in " Charlie Wilson's War." She has upcoming roles as a crime-scene mop-up gal in "Sunshine Cleaning" and as a nun in "Doubt."

"Miss Pettigrew" tweaks Adams' goody-two-shoes image. She inhabits a wannabe American actress juggling boyfriends and ambition in pre-war London. Her new personal assistant Miss Pettigrew ( Frances McDormand) doesn't enable so much as enlighten in director Bharat Nalluri's bittersweet comedy.

Adams describes her character Delysia Lafosse as a "fake it till you make it kind of girl." The real-life Adams is nothing like that. "I'm not good at faking anything," she says. "It just feels very phony, which is not a comfortable place to be."

She was the Army un-brat born in Italy and raised in Colorado with six siblings. The family left the Mormon Church when her parents divorced. Her religious conviction, though unaligned, endures.

"I think it's really easy to get self-centered in this life," she says. "And I think it helps you to stay humble. It's not anything specific. It's the idea. It's larger than you."

One would have had to be armed with faith to get through Adams' protracted show-biz beginnings. She has a doggy-bag full of tales from her dinner-theater days in Minnesota, when a potato could land on the stage. Once while she and a troupe mate performed theater-in-the-round, she recalls, "A man patted me and my friend on the shoulder and said, 'It's gonna be OK, girls.' He actually touched us, which is weird."

She insists she would be happy acting anywhere, as long as she was supporting herself. But after playing the brace-faced bride of Leonardo DiCaprio's con man in Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can" (2002), she auditioned as if Hollywood were shutting down in a week. She says she tried all sorts of identities, from the sex kitten to the girl-next-door.

She took solace in the belated success of colleagues such as Naomi Watts. At the same time, Adams was planning to relocate to New York to start over. Then "Junebug" wowed Sundance, and Adams' pregnant Ashley Johnsten stole the indie. She got an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress, and blasted off.

Journalists turned her brief stint as a waitress at Hooter's into entire Sunday features. It seemed everybody wanted to know who the heck the perky strawberry blonde out of nowhere was. Family members became local celebrities by way of association.

"I imagine at times it's frustrating for them because they're asked a lot of questions about me," she says. "I just hope that they never feel like that their identity is wrapped up in mine."

If it weren't for a steady relationship with actor Darren Le Gallo, she could be gossip grist. She says she is not bothered by any media outlet, including TMZ, where her brother, Eddie, once worked (they made a pact not to talk about it, she says).

"I don't think being an actress means that you're predisposed to being tabloid fodder," she says. "You can make choices. I'm not going to have lunch at the Ivy on the balcony."

Hundreds of millions saw Adams perhaps for the first time when she performed "Happy Working Song" from "Enchanted" at the Oscars. The goodness that emanates appears to be the real deal off screen as well. She says she isn't about to "bite the hand that feeds me" in a bid to play against type.

She confirms that cynics in show business see her positive nature as a green light to challenge her. But when you break into the big time at an age when most struggling actors have boarded the bus to 9-to-5, you're no pushover.

"Cheerfulness can be perceived as stupidity," she says. "It's not at all. It's a choice. I make a choice. ...I don't like myself when I'm Debbie Downer."

Source: Ron Dicker / The Courant

1 comment:

David said...

Oh she's adorable!