Okay, so you saw her goofing around with
Alicia Silverstone in Aerosmith's 'Crazy'
video but this 18-year-old can rock with
the serious roles too. After appearances in
Silent Fall, Heavy and Empire Records, Tyler
next embodies - ahem - legendary director
Bernardo Bertolucci's ripe vision of a young
woman's sexual awakening in Stealing Beauty.
When I arrive to interview Liv Tyler, hailed by
critics as one of the most beautiful and talented
actresses they have ever seen, she's still in bed
suffering from a combination of jet lag and party fatigue.
The first thing about her that will make your eyes go wide
is HER LIPS - puffy and red and obviously inherited from
her famous father.
Her MILE-HIGH LEGS do come in a close second. They are the
kind of legs that could hurdle cars, and she has used
them to leap from modeling to film.
In person, her most
striking maquillage is
not supermodel -
perfect eye paint but
rather the chipping
metallic - blue polish
on her toe nails.
Listening to her, it's easy to forget that she is
just l8. But a lot has happened in those years.
With more wit and intelligence than you would
find on several miles at catwalk, she has done
more than most people twice her age.
People think she had a wild childhood, but,
although she got to see more than enough cool
bands and good rock'n'roll, she certainly was
not living in a house of drug addicts.
So how did she survive her childhood?
"When I was a baby, my mom would take me
everywhere. But I would sleep through everything.
As soon as the music stated. I'd pass out, and
as soon as it stopped I'd wake up. Mom said it
was really funny - I'd sleep through every
situation I needed to sleep through," recalls the
silvery-voiced Liv, who was raised in Maine by
her mother, Bebe Buell, now 40, the witty and
glamorous Palyboy model-turned-celebrated-escort
of rock stars such as Elvis Costello, Mick
Jagger and Rod Stewart.
The whole family did not live together
properly until they moved to New York, which
is still their home. It was a bohemian lifestyle
that encouraged her to perform. She was
naughty as a little girl. She had a little red plastic
guitar and a rocking horse, and she used to
perform naked for her mom's friends. It was this
picture of herself as a baby holding the red
plastic guitar she chose for her high school
yearbook amongst her thousand of perfectly
posed covers for Vogue and other top magazines.
"What my mum told me about her party days,
it would have been so much fun, so glamorous,
but the drugs part of it would have been very
scary because I know all about that kind of
thing. I know what it does, so it's no fun. I
couldn't have fun at a rave..."
Maturing very young, there were many times
when she had to be the mom, too. "We'd sit on
the couch and I'd be the therapist. My mum told
me about her time with Steven [Tyler] and Todd
[Rundgren] and Elvis," remembers Liv, who,
before movies, was best known for having two
rock stars as 'fathers'.
She was raised as former Utopia frontman
Todd Rundgren's daughter and her parents
wanted to wait until she was l8 to tell her the
truth because they had made a decision: She is a
kid and we don't want to confuse and bring this
After meeting fast-living Aerosmith singer
Steven Tyler at one of Todd's shows in Boston.
Liv started receiving presents and stuffed
animals from him, and eventually, at 11, she
figured out Steven was her biological father.
"It was exciting. I didn't see the bad side of it. I
just thought, 'Wow, I've got two dads and all
these brothers and sisters. Christmas is gonna be
My father has since told me all about his
(drug) addiction. He's a survivor, it's
unbelievable and I'm very happy for him. We
speak often. I've learnt from my parents
My mom has since remarried (to 28-year-old
musician-producer Coyote Shivers) and I'm still
close to Todd. But I think we need to spend
some time working things out.
I was an ugly child - a little, awkward kid
who was chubby and much taller than
everybody and I was actually really surprised
when I started to get taller and slimmer and
come together. I'm glad it was like that. I still
think I'm really awkward. It makes me more
Modelling was not a planned career move,
says 5 ft 10 in Liv. Family friend and supermodel
Paulina Porizkova took some pictures of her for
fun, but British Vogue bought a picture at the
14-year-old, then Interview... The next thing she
knew, she had an agent and modelling jobs and
was being invited to travel and wear clothes and
play dress-up and miss school.
What else would a girl want to do? Modeling
was fun lot a while because "it was an after-school
job really, instead of babysitting, to make
Then it stated getting a little strange because it
was a job and she had to really watch what she
ate and it made her sad.
"It just struck me that it wasn't something I
wanted to do for the rest of my life. So when I
got the part in 1994's murder mystery Silent Fall
(her first film) starring Richard Dreyfuss, I
stopped modelling, though most of my fans
want the opposite, hoping my modelling days
will stretch out forever..."
Liv's next acting
role was in Heavy, in which she plays a young
waitress who becomes the object of desire for a
shy, overweight diner cook (Pruitt Taylor Vince).
Her co-star Evan Dando "was so nervous",
laughs Liv. "I felt like I'd been acting my whole
life, because I was saying, 'It's OK, you can
touch me, you can kiss me, I'm not gonna bite
your head off.' He was terrified."
Then came Empire Records, set in a
record store. Director Allan Moyle
remembers: 'The first time I met Liv, I was
telling her how I wanted the cast to really
be like a family, and she reached across the
desk, took my hand and said, "Allan, Allan,
I can help you with that." It wasn't the kind
of thing a normal l7-year-old could do.'
Now her career is set to rise with the
release of Stealing Beauty, a chamber piece of
the heart. Two weeks into production in
Tuscany. Liv took a long distance call from
Woody Allen wanting to cast her in his first
musical. Having completed roles for both Bernado
Bertolucci and Allen, she is currently playing
the lead in Tom Hanks' directorial debut. That
Thing You Do! a rock'n'roll drama.
Stealing Beauty, a departure from Bertolucci's
recent epics like The Last Emperor, The Sheltering
Sky and Little Buddha, concerns 19-year-old
Lucy Harmon - "a good ol' American girl."
says Liv - who goes to spend the summer in
Tuscany with old family friends of her
"Her father is sending her there to get her
portrait done, but I think in her mind her main
focus is to renew her acquaintance with the
first boy that she ever kissed four years before,
when she was last there." says Liv.
Lucy wants to lose her virginity to him, but
he's not there when she gets there. He does get
there, but things don't quite work out the way
they were planned. In the absence of young
love, a variety of characters - played by Jean
Maratis, DW Moffett, Jason Flemyng, Stefania
Sandrelli and Jeremy Irons - become
awakened by Lucy's blossoming womanhood
and all-too-transparent intentions. Lucy's a
pulsating vein. She's the freshest vein. Her
presence has a profound effect on the
household, reminding the inhabitants of the
pains and pleasures of youth.
"It is not simply sex that lures them," cautions
Liv. "Not everybody wants to have sex with
her. She's not this big sex symbol at all. It's
more her youth that excites them, and the
Bertolucci brought the idea fort Stealing Beauty
to novelist Susan Minot after reading her short-story
collection, Lust And Other Stories. It is the
first Bertolucci movie without the vivid tones
of his legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.
"Shot in and around a Tuscan villa where the
actors also lived, we all had to share a
bathroom. We'd be brushing our teeth in the
hall and running around and singing. It was
The familial atmosphere suited me just fine.
Getting up at five every day was, like, no
problem. I was up and out and excited to be
there," continues the wide-eyed actress, who
still views her summer in Tuscany as the ideal
Hollywood experience. "It's never going to be
that beautiful again!"
Liv was in Cannes when Bertolucci made an
announcement about the film. "The first thing
he said was. 'I would like to introduce to you
the star of my next movie, and my muse.' I
was shaking so much. Bernardo said I looked
like I was four years old. I was so embarrassed;
I had never been around that many paparazzi
before." She giggles, her dulcet voice tinkling
with pure delight. "He called me his muse!"
Liv took one of her "first big trips by myself",
to London for the screen test, where she found
that the script had changed to include a
subplot in which Lucy discovers a secret about
her parentage. It was a curious coincidence,
because "I don't think Bertolucci knew," says
Liv. "I don't think he could have."
Having inherited her mother's model looks
and her father's Jagger-esque lips, Liv could
easily forgot small-budget film such as Heavy
and go down the more glamorous route to
"I don't like those films. If those films
were good I would say yes," declares Liv,
who is still not used to seeing herself on
film. "It's one thing when friends video
you, but to see yourself on the big screen as
this huge being, crying and things, is no
And in a so-far-glittering career, Liv's
first role in her father's video still troubles
"I was a bit bummed out that that was the
first thing that ever came out because I'd
made these films that I'd worked my ass off
for and to have a video come first, that's all
anyone says - Aerosmith Video Vixen.
Superbabe Liv Tyler. It's frustrating."
In the love department, Liv, voted Miss
Woman of the World last year, is shopping
more for scripts than for romance.
"I don't have much of a love life right
now. I'd rather be at home with my cat
Little Man, a book and bed."