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HEWITT, JENNIFER LOVE: HEARTBREAKERS

THE PROS AND CONS OF JENNIFER
A lousy lier herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt plays a con artist in Heartbreakers Ė itís not her, but then thatís what actingís all about, she tells Jenny Cooney Carrillo.

Jennifer Love Hewitt has played the nice girl for so long that itís hard to imagine her as the sexy con-artist she portrays in her latest film, Heartbreakers. As Sarah on the hit TV series, Party of Five, she won audiences with her love-struck innocence to the point where she got her own spin-off series, Time of Your Life - cancelled after only one season. Now in Heartbreakers and again in her follow-up role in The Devil and Daniel Webster, playing the devil, Hewitt challenges these beliefs audiences have held about her.

So how good a con-artist are you?
I think as actors we are all constantly trying to make people believe that we can do whatever it is they want us to do, be whoever they want us to be. But Iím a really bad liar in real life, so I try to be as truthful as possible whenever I can. Iíve been conned myself, but I am really bad at doing it to other people.

In Heartbreakers, youíre very close to your mother, played by Sigourney Weaver. What about in your own life?
My mother and I are also really close. The only thing we donít have is the whole fighting aspect that Sigourney and I have. I mean, we have our fights when we need to, but my mother and I are really close for the most part. Thatís a big reason why I wanted to do the movie, because I havenít really done anything thatís touched so closely to my own life. It was fun to do something that explored the whole mother-daughter thing.

What is it specifically that attracts you to certain projects?
I try and not play the same parts all the time. Paige (the character in Heartbreakers) is definitely something different. She has a really big attitude, she wears such revealing clothing, and sheís really feisty with people, but sheís got a mushy center. Then right after Paige I went on to play Satan in The Devil and Daniel Webster. It was really fun to let go and do different things.

Did you have any conflicts between playing the devil and your own religious up-bringing?
My mum raised us to believe that there was something watching over us, that God would take care of us. I say my prayers every night but I donít go to church every Sunday. My belief is a little more private. I did feel a little weird about playing Satan though. I thought about how that might play out when I died and got to heaven, how I was supposed to explain myself at the Pearly Gates! And actually right before we started filming I thought that I should do one good thing before I started to be Satan for the next three months so I went to St. Patrickís Cathedral in New York to light a candle and ask for guidance for playing the Devil. I stopped myself for a minute, thinking how weird it was what I was asking, but after that I just did it. We tried to make Satan as human as possible and sort of gave Satan feelings. Which is a hard thing to do.

What does success mean to you?
I think personal success is the best success. Jamie Lee Curtis once said something really, really important to me and Iíll take it with me for the rest of my life. She said you are really successful if you can look in the mirror 20 years from now and see the exact same person that you did when you started 20 years prior. And to me, that is success. When you can do something that you love, people will allow you to move forward in it. You get to work with a lot of amazing people. But more importantly, you get to stay the same as you were, only richer in spirit.

You also worked on The Devil and Daniel Webster with Anthony Hopkins. How was that?
What do you say about Anthony Hopkins except Wow! I started bawling my eyes out the first time I had to say my line opposite him because I was terrified, and heís looking at me like Iím crazy, and Iím thinking how amazing it is to be acting with someone of his stature. Heís great. Heís so funny and full of life. Heíll be one of my great friends for a long time. I really learned a lot from him. Iíll never forget it. He was awesome.

Do you still consider yourself a role model after starting out that way on television?
Thatís the best part of my job and itís the best thing that I think I am blessed with. Because of my character on Party of Five and even with Paige in Heartbreakers, I was able to show the insecurities that so many women feel and explore how to be my own person and find the confidence to be my own person. Besides the women in my own family, I didnít have people to look up to so I looked up to celebrities, and now itís cool to be a role model and help people like myself figure out what they want and who they are. I think itís a really important thing.

Published July 5, 2001

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