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Liv it up

by Jordan Rejfe, HotDog, July 2004

In Kevin Smith's new film Jersey Girl, she plays the kind of sexy, sassy video store clerk who'll have sex with you before the first date. Why can't we meet more girls like Liv Tyler?

Even at just the age of 26, the daughter of Aerosmith's lead singer has already racked up an impressive range of credits. Whether it's playing a youthful life-wrecking femme fatale in One Night At McCool's or rescuing hobbits while weighed down by a pair of Spock ears in The Lord Of The Rings, she's more than proven her versatility and talent. This month, she's reunited with her Armageddon co-star Ben Affleck (thankfully without a repetition of the godawful 'animal crackers' love scene) on Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl, the first project for the director that takes place outside his View Askewniverse of Jay and Silent Bob. Kevin Smith growing up, the while Affleck/J-Lo media frenzy at its height during filming - what did the actress make of it all? Can't hurt to ask...

Was it a weird kind of film set with all the hubbub surrounding Ben and J-Lo?
On my first day of work, that scene in the diner, that was my first day. And when we got there at, like, six in the morning there were already 500 people outside. I couldn't believe it, I was like, 'Benjie, you're like the Beatles! This is crazy, I didn't know you were so famous!' It was wild. At the end of the day, I'm not very good with numbers but there was over a thousand people outside and news vans with the big antennas going up, photographers. And he just kind of went out into this sea of people and shook hands. I was like nobody, so it was fine. Maybe one person was like, 'Oh, we like you too, Liv!'

What is Ben like as a leading man?
He's great. Of al the actors I've ever worked with I would say that - I mean, everybody's special and unique in their own way, but I love working with Ben. I feel like we have a sort of chemistry together and I think it comes across on screen, too. And it's so weird because you can't explain chemistry or why it happens, or what your relationship is off the set and all those sort of things. But acting with him, he's very generous as an actor. He's very patient and even though he's a big movie star, he's really not very self-centred as an actor, which is amazing. You always feel like he's thinking about the movie as a whole and the scene as a whole, not just about himself. And he's just really giving. He makes it easy for me to feel free and we can sort of try new lines and different things and all that kind of stuff, so...

Has he changed at all since the first time you worked with him?
No, I mean he was a sweetheart then too. We worked really well together in Armageddon, although he was on another planet from me most of the time. But I really have nothing but really good things to say about working with him. I hope we get to work together again.

You've played such a wide variety of roles; which one had the greatest impact on you as a person?
Of course The Lord Of The Rings was five years of my life so I've grown enormously in that time, not only in years but in just everything I feel about acting and myself. I guess it taught me a lot, that film, about really learning how to endure something and really kind of submitting myself to the whole experience of acting, because a lot of times I do sort of just live my life and go to work. We were required to do more than that on that film. It really had to become our lives in a lot of ways and we were all really involved in our characters and the scenes, and the script was changing every day and every night we'd get new lines. And so you really couldn't be sort of Hollywood about it and just like, 'Oh, well I'm not at work any more.' Lines would show up at midnight that you'd have to learn for five in the morning. And that was just a part of that, so that definitely taught me a lot about working.

Have you thought about bronzing your elven ears? Last time I talked to you, you mentioned that you might.
I would love to have some bronze elven ears. I don't have any, though. I think Cate Blanchett got some.

The film swept the Oscars, but the actors weren't nominated. There was talk of an ensemble cast award...
The Best Film nomination is everybody's, really, because that's saying that the film, as whole, is pleasing and so they're sort of acknowledging that fact. So that was amazing. Also, there are just so many actors in Lord Of The Rings, there are so many different performances.

What was it like presenting at the Oscars? How was that for you?
Oh, it was amazing. It almost felt sort of surreal in a way, like it wasn't happening. It's really different when you're actually at the Oscars as opposed to when you watch it on TV. I haven't watched it yet. I kind of prefer to stay at home and watch it and all that sort of excitement that happens. But when you're there, you're just so overwhelmed because everywhere you look there's your favourite actor or musician in the world. I mean, it just was amazing. I can't say anything else other than we were just totally blown away really.

But it can't all be awesome, surely. Is there anything about the Oscars that you could do without?
It's in that place, the Kodak Theater, the Oscars, and it's like a mall with escalators and then you go to this ball thing after. And at the end, you go to get your car and give somebody a ticket and then you go outside. No matter who you are, no matter whether you have an Oscar in your hand or stilettos on or what, you just stand out on the street and all these limos drive by like fish swimming in the sea. And somebody calls out on a megaphone like, '2508! Last call, 2508!' And you're like, 'That's me!' But it took 45 minutes for that to happen and by then it was like midnight and I was like, 'I'm going home, I can't do this again!' Because every party has that sort of same car system. I just felt like a cow going to slaughter, I couldn't take it.

Do you really still get star-struck?
Of course! I actually get more star-struck, in a way, by musicians. Like at the Oscars we were sitting in the same row as Prince and that freaked me out. It's amazing to meet all the people that you've watched your whole life. I don't always want to talk to them, just observe them.

Speaking of musicians, how's your dad?
He's really good, he's actually out in LA because he's doing a movie. He's doing Be Cool, the Get Shorty 2. He was really nervous because he had to do two days of work with John Travolta and Uma Thurman and he kept calling me, like, nervous about his lines and stuff. But he did a brilliant job.

Do you want to do something with your dad some day?
I'd love to. I actually really missed my chance because the last record he did, he kept trying to get me to come up and sing on it. But I was in New Zealand a lot working. We talk about it all the time. I think we definitely would do something at some point, or I can do some back-up singing on a song or something. But it's just timing, really.

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