Spotlight - Liv Tyler
by Tim Stack, Entertainment Weekly, June 2008.
The rock & roll princess is ready to smash her old image with a thrilling, or
should we say 'Hulk'-ing, summer ahead.
On initial meeting, Liv Tyler may be
the closest thing we have to a real-life
Snow White. Beyond her alabaster skin, raven hair, and bee-stung
lips, the 30-year-old is enchantingly sweet,
especially when earnestly dropping lines like
'the hottest thing since sliced bread.' So it's not
surprising that she's often cast as the dream girl
(Jersey Girl, That Thing You Do!). But spend
sometime with the daughter of rock star Steven
Tyler and a true badass emerges. "I remember
when The Lord of the Rings came out
and there'd be a certain project that
my agent would be calling about and
they'd say. 'Oh, no, she's too ethereal
for that part.'" says Tyler, who played
elvish princess Arwen. "And I was
always like. 'Ethereal? I was playing a
f---ing elf. Of course I was ethereal!'"
Tyler is similarly outspoken, albeit
in her typical hushed tones, when it
comes to her decision to take a break
from acting to raise her 3-year-old son
Milo. "I had a child because I wanted
to be a mother and not because I wanted
an accessory." she says. "I really wanted to take
that time off, and I did. Now I've never wanted to
work more in my entire life." And work she has.
Tyler filmed her latest projects, The Strangers and
The Incredible Hulk, back-to-back. "I was literally
covered in bruises for half the year." she says of
the physically grueling shoots. The brutal thriller
about a couple randomly terrorized by masked
killers provided Tyler with the most challenging
role of her career. "It was as far as I could push
myself in every way: physically, emotionally,
mentally," says Tyler, who spends much of the
film running and screaming. "I remember the
producer calling me and saying that they had
done one of their first test screenings and the
audiences freaked out because they thought it
was a snuff film." But that didn't keep audiences
away from opening weekend, when Strangers
brought in a surprising $21 million.
Shooting Hulk proved a challenge of a different kind:
As the girlfriend of Bruce Banner
(Edward Norton). Tyler had to act opposite a
to-be-CGI'd-in-later green giant. But the real
drama surrounding the film occurred off screen
with Norton and Marvel Studios, who had been
engaged in a heated fight over the final cut. "It's
hard," says Tyler. "I respect Edward enormously
and I think he's incredibly talented... There are
all these little arguments and disagreements,
but ultimately the movie finds its way." If Tyler
doesn't seem too caught up in the
film's struggles, it might be because
she was dealing with behind-the-scenes issues of her own.
On May 8, Tyler and her musician husband,
Royston Langdon, announced their
separation. When asked if this puts a
cloud over promoting two films (both
in theaters this month) she's clearly
proud of, Tyler's answer is succinct:
"Of course." Luckily, the actress has
had great friends to lean on, including
pal Gwyneth Paltrow, who, coincidentally, also plays the
love interest in a comic-book flick this summer. Recounts Tyler,
"Gwyneth got Iron Man first and then she heard
from the Marvel people they had offered [Hulk]
to me. She sent me a really sweet message, just
saying like 'Go, go, Marvel girls!'" But Tyler
turns to her friend for more than swapping
notes on sharing the screen with a superheroic
costar. "I really look up to Gwyneth." she says.
"If I ever have a question about something, it's
always 911-Gwyneth. She has the best advice."
As she looks to the next phase of her career,
it seems that Tyler may be her own sage. "I've
never enjoyed my work more than I do now,"
says the actress. "I'm stronger and more prepared for
it in a way that I wasn't when I was
16." And what would Liv Tyler really like to do?
"The only dream I've ever had is to do a musical.
I wanna sing! I wanna dance!" What was that
we were just saying about Snow White?
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