Oscar nominee Amy Adams a screwball heroine in "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day", a fun period comedy in which she plays Delysia Lafosse, a woman with three hunky boyfriends: Phil (Tom Payne), Nick (Mark Strong) and Michael (Lee Pace). She unexpectedly gets some assistance from Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) who fakes her way into Delysia’s life and helps her solve her romantic problems.
First Enchanted, now Miss Pettigrew. How did you keep your energy level playing these bubbly characters?
You just do it, you know. I enjoy it. I’ve played depressed characters, and there is a benefit to that. This is much more infectious in your life. You go home with energy, with more spirit. I get something from my characters as well.
Have you always had such energy?
I was a greeter at the Gap. I wanted to work in the stock room, but I was just too peppy. They were like “No, you have to be in the front of the store, you are the only person who will literally talk to every person coming through the door!” It was 1993-1994, right after I graduated high school.
How did you get into acting?
I lived in Colorado and started working in theater, and from there I went to Minnesota and worked in dinner theater, and as a dancer, and I got cast in Drop Dead Gorgeous, and that gave me the chutzpah to move to Los Angeles, and do everything from day player roles to Delysia.
Your comic timing here—the gasps, facial expressions, pratfall slapstick moments—are terrific and really make the film a delight. How did you develop this for this character?
I think that I approach the physicality from being a dancer. I figure out how they feel—it’s all very tactile and kinetic. What does it feel like to be this person? I’m a huge fan of old movies—and older films are more closely related to the stage. It was something I wanted to accomplish, that style of acting. And Frances [McDormand]—once I saw what she was doing with Guinevere [Miss Pettigrew] gave me permission to go there. It’s a physical movie, and you want people to get caught up in Delysia’ world.
Delysia has three men and is different with each. What can you say about this?
What I love about her is that her whole world is a stage, and every day is a performance. With Nick, it’s that he overpowers her—she’s the damsel in distress and can manipulate him with her feminine wiles. As much as it hurts her, there is something about her playing all the roles with all of her men. I think there are deeper reasons, and you get to know her in the film, and what’s really happening and why she is doing what she’s doing. She’s the kind of person who once she decides she’s going to do something, she’s going to do it—full out.
Miss Pettigrew fixes many things in Delysia’s life. What could Miss Pettigrew fix in your life? Three Men? Money trouble?
No, I’m such a practical person! Well, for the most part. Maybe she could clean my closet out, because I’m messy. I nitpick over little things. Like getting a bed set at Bed Bath & Beyond and I wake up in the middle of the night going, “I should have gotten a patterned one. I just know it!” If someone could make me stop doing that, I could accomplish more in my life.
Are you a little OCD there, Amy?
Are you like that? What would my mind be capable of if I wasn’t thinking about throw blankets?
Did you identify with Delysia’s ambitions and drive in show business?
To a certain degree. I can understand her reasons for wanting it. She wants security and stability, and that I definitely can relate to. Wanting some bit of certainty and control over your own destiny.
So how does it feel now, that you kind of made it?
As Delysia would say, there is no such thing as security. Your mind will find something else to worry about.
Like patterned sheets?
Yes, like patterned sheets. Sometimes you realize that when you get what you want, it isn’t what you needed. I always consider “Is this really making me happy?” I don’t think it’s any one thing—career, relationship, etc. I try to achieve balance in my life.
By Gary Kramer for Aroundphilly.com