by Dennis Hensley
When I arrive at the VIP Will Call booth at
Universal Studios in Hollywood, Jennifer Love Hewitt has already been there for 20
minutes. "I wanted to get everything taken care of before you got here," chirps
the 20-year-old star best known for the I Know What You Did Last Summer films,
and as Scott Wolf's girlfriend Sarah on TV's Party of Five. "I got a
priority pass for all the rides so we can go on them first." Given that the actress
has been working non-stop lately -- on her new series Time of Your Life, a
spin-off of Party of Five, a three-hour biopic for ABC about the life of Audrey
Hepburn, and a new film, The Suburbans -- she figured it couldn't hurt to squeeze
a couple of summer thrills in with her publicity duties. "I've been on everything
before," she explains, before taking me by the hand and leading through the main
gate. "I could give the tour."
"Would you be a perky tour guide?" I ask,
trying to keep up.
"Duh!" she exclaims, while leading me to
the park's newest attraction, Terminator 3-D. "Who are you talking too? Yes!"
All of which leads me to recommend, dear readers,
that next time you go to a crowded theme park on a hot day in the middle of July, you
should try to take a famously sunny movie and TV star. I'm telling you, it makes all the
DENNIS HENSLEY: What would your tour guide
JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT: I'd be like, "Good
morning, everyone. We're walking! We're walking!" And I would have little presents
for my guests.
That would last a couple of days.
I don't think so. I'm a people person. I would love
to work here. I think I'm going to give up the show and come work here. I think that's
such the career move.
If there was an actor's strike and you
couldn't work, how would you spend your time?
I'd probably try to get a job at a day care center
working with little kids or I would go get a job at Abercrombie and Fitch.
For the employee discount?
Yeah, or I would get a job at this place, Color Me
Mine, so I could work with paints.
(An official Universal Studios photographer
stops us and snaps our picture.)
Damn, the paparazzi!
No pictures, gosh darnit! (Laughs) It was so funny.
I'm driving up here today -- What pulls in front of me but a huge bus of teenagers and one
kid looked out the back window and literally threw himself up against the back window
screaming. The whole bus within 30 seconds was all the way at the back of the windows. It
was absolutely hysterical.
Does that ever make you feel threatened or
No, I really like it. It makes me feel good.
I have to say that most stars of your level
of fame would never do an interview in a theme park. It's just asking for trouble.
I'd rather go and be able to have an hour of good
time and two hours of having to sign autographs than not be able to go somewhere where I'd
have a good time. Here we are, Terminator 3-D!
(We show our pass to the genial Kirk who leads
us into VIPs-only waiting area with a black and white checkerboard floor.)
This floor makes me feel like I'm in the
"Livin' La Vida Loca" video.
I think Ricky Martin is the Elvis of my generation
with the hips and the "dare to be hot" music.
Do you ever feel guilty or uncomfortable being
whisked to the front of the line?
Heck no! Are you kidding me? It's everyone's dream
in a theme park not to have to wait in line. Sometimes I feel bad when I see little kids
all hot and sweaty but I've been able to sneak them in with me before.
(The doors open and we're lead into a larger
waiting area, where we stand behind a man wearing a shirt that says, 'Will Work For Sex.')
What a coincidence! I was going to give you
that same shirt today.
I actually have another shirt that I was going to
wear today that says "Silicone Free." When I was in Australia for I Know
What You Did Last Summer...
Speaking of 3-D movies...
(Laughs) Anyway, there was a whole day where people
were asking questions about the tiny top that I wore so when we were shopping I bought the
shirt and wore it around the entire day.
Did the more inquisitive people say,
"Well, what about saline?"
No, they were just shocked that I had it on. I wore
it to work one day and Scott Wolf was like, "What are you doing?" and he gave me
How old were you when you blossomed?
Eleven or 12. It was very odd. I went through my
period of wearing big sweaters and then at 14 or 15, I went "Well, they're not going
Is there going to be another sequel to
"I Know What You Did...?"
I don't think so.
If there was, what would you like to see
Actually, I've thought about this. It would take
place in New York City and the plot would be that Julie gets so fed up with him causing
her trouble that she stalks him and they would duel it out at the very end and end up
killing each other, but with no hook, no nothing, just all out brawl. And at the end I
would have four students sitting around a campfire exactly as we did in the first film
talking about the girl that finally killed the fisherman.
Did you like the spoof of it they did at the
MTV Movie Awards?
Oh my God, it was brilliant. The girl's standing
there screaming, "What are you waiting for, my boobs to pop out of my top?"
Did they cut to a reaction shot of you?
No, darnit, and I wanted people to know I thought it
When you're at an award show do you always
try to look like you're engaged so the camera doesn't catch you rolling your eyes or
I just kind of have fun. I think real reactions are
better than people just sitting there like, "Ha ha ha ha ha." I got in trouble
once though. I don't know where it was, but a favorite band of mine, I forget which, was
nominated in the same category as the Spice Girls and they didn't win, and I didn't know
the camera was on me, and I was like, "Aw man!" So someone came up to me in a
commercial break and said, "You have to be nice to the people who win. You just gave
a really bad reaction to the Spice Girls," and I was like 'I wanted my favorite band
to win. I love the Spice Girls but they've already won like nine times tonight."
(The lights dim and a nauseatingly effervescent
hostess named Kimberly Duncan who says "Oh, Super!" a lot introduces herself as
Cyberdyne's director of Community Relations and Media Control.)
Oh no, not a publicist!
I could do that part.
What would your take on the character be?
I would say "Ah, fantastic!" instead of
"Oh, super" and I would be more flighty, more scattered. I might drop the mike a
couple of times and trip on my way in.
(After a short film that shows us how the evil
Cyberdyne corporation is planning to make all our lives easier with technology, Kimberly
invites us into the main auditorium for the big event, a spectacular combination of live
stunts, a 3-D film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and a metallic spider that explodes and
gets everybody in the audience a little moist.)
Oh my God, do you feel that?
Is that supposed to be metallic spider guts?
Yes. That's gross! You want a churro? It's my treat.
(Arnold, Eddie and Linda Hamilton save the day.)
Yes! Whoo hoo! That was amazing. When that chair
dropped I thought I was going to have a heart attack!
I didn't want Kimberly to die. I wanted her
to make out with Eddie Furlong.
But Kimberly got wrecked! I think you missed the
best part; when the girl sitting behind us goes, "Wait a minute, I recognize that
scream... I Know What You Did Last Summer!" She recognized my scream. Okay,
we have to get to Back to the Future.
(On the way, a group of male teenagers stops
Jennifer for photos and before you know it there's a crowd of 15 or so people around her.
She poses and signs genially, then I explain that we have to move on and shuttle her
What does that feel like when people are
crowding around you wanting autographs and pictures?
It's comical to me. It makes me laugh because I
don't understand it at all. When it's mobs of teenagers or older people, that can
sometimes get scary if you're by yourself and they start to push but when it's little
kids, it's really fun.
Speaking of fans, I understand you play one
in "The Suburbans?"
Sort of. I play a sexy, sassy record executive who
finds an 80s band and decides to bring them back. Ben Stiller plays my mean boss.
Is it the next "There's Something About
I think it's going to have to find its audience.
People are going to have to take it for what it is -- a fun, independent film.
What real 80s band would you want to bring
Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam or the Police.
I daresay Lisa Lisa needs you more.
I really dug Lisa Lisa. I'd let them tell their
whole story on Behind the Music.
What's going on with your new series,
"Time of Your Life?"
I do three good-bye episodes of Party of Five
and then I go straight into my pilot, which we have to reshoot because we're fixing some
story line stuff.
Does the idea that it needs retooling make
No, whatever is going to make it better. Plus, I
kind of grew up a bit over the summer so I look a little bit different than I did when we
shot it. I'm excited.
Since it's set in New York, I think you
should get into a fight with Felicity on the subway.
How funny would that be.
I read that, in terms of tone, they want it
to compliment the show that follows it, "Ally McBeal." Please tell me you won't
be falling down all the time and flushing frogs down the toilet.
I won't be falling down, I promise. But it won't be
anywhere near as dramatic as Party of Five. It's going to be much more of a
What's the basic premise?
I'm looking for my birth father. My birth mother is
dead and so I find out that I was actually born in New York so I go there to find my
father. But then you find out the reason she's really staying there is because she wants
to find herself.
You were raised by your mother. Is your
He's in Texas. I haven't seen him in a long time.
Can you imagine having to say goodbye to
It's going to be really hard to say goodbye and not
to get to work with Scott everyday, but I'll be right next door and I'll still bug him
every single day like I always do. I'll still go over and steal from their craft services.
If you were going to compile the show's
soundtrack from songs that meant a lot to you in your life, what would you pick?
Oleta Adams "Get Here," because of the
whole long distance thing, but also just because I've always loved that song.
"American Pie" by Don McLean is also one of my all time favorites. I can't wait
to see the movie American Pie. It looks really cute.
There's all sorts of teen sex shenanigans
like a kid pleasures himself with a pie. Are you okay with that?
I'm fine with it. I wouldn't do it, but watching it
What's the first naughty movie you saw?
Dirty Dancing. I was like seven or eight.
That's not very naughty.
No, but I felt like I shouldn't have watched it.
They were bumping and grinding and I just couldn't believe that people could dance like
that. My friends and I watched the movie over and over again so we could learn all the
dancing just in case Patrick Swayze showed up in Texas and wanted to dance with us. We
would be prepared.
(We arrive at Back to the Future and again are
lead into the VIP waiting area where a young girl approaches with an open Disney autograph
book, which Jennifer happily signs.)
Which Disney girl did you sign on?
Cinderella. She's my favorite, just a classic. I
would love to do a movie like Ever After, where I get to wear the big dresses and
be the princess.
Have you ever played a bad girl?
No, but I want to really badly. I'm going to
audition to play Veronica in the Archie movie. That would be really fun. Betty is much
more like me in real life, but Veronica is much more somebody that I would like to play.
She's hot and sexy and drives a pink limousine.
What's happening with the movie you're
producing called "Cupid's Love," about the wedding planner who falls for the
There's a script and now we just have to find time
to make it. It probably won't be done for a while. Hey, by the way, I opened up my own
production company called Lovespell Entertainment. Do you want a card?
(She whips out a heart-shaped business card.)
"Jennifer Love Hewitt, President."
That's me. I have my own office on the Sony lot.
Speaking of cupid's love, how long have you
been dating your boyfriend, MTV veejay, Carson Daly?
A year and a half in September.
What was the first thing you noticed about
His eyes. The sexiest things in the world to me are
smiles and eyes and he has the best eyes in the world.
What city was your first date it?
New York one time. We were out for like eight hours.
I went on the subway for the first time, we went on a carriage ride, saw the Empire State
Building, the Plaza Hotel. And we just spent five hours inside the Star Diner just
When did you have to return to L.A.?
The next day.
So when did you know it was official?
He came to L.A. like two or three days after that
and we talked on the phone for four days.
How many times a day do you talk on the
Probably four times a day, if not more. Our goal is
to talk at least in the morning before we both start our day, even if it's him calling me
at four in the morning my time.
How often do you see him?
Maybe once or twice a month. It's hard but it's good
when we see each other so it's worth it.
What's the most days you've spent together
in a row?
Eight days, here in L.A. It was really fun.
Does he have a secret signal that he does
for you when he's on the air like Carol Burnett pulling her ear?
No. I wish he did. I'm going to tell him to
"Turn around and shake your butt three times to the camera."
Something subtle like that.
If you could switch places with Carson for a
day, what would you do?
If I could be him for a day, I'd pack up the car and
move to L.A. (Laughs)
What if you could be a man for a day?
I'd want to meet one of the most difficult women I
could and learn how to deal with her the right way. I think it would give me huge
perspective on the frustrations that men have. You know how they're like, "Ah,
(We're lead down a hallway and to our own
private DeLorean. The car revs up, and we laugh, scream and holler while dodging
buildings, getting eaten by dinosaurs, disappearing into a volcano and finally returning
to the present. Before we exit, Christopher Lloyd says, "Remember, the future is what
you make it!")
That's definitely my favorite! It's like Terminator
Speaking of the future, do you have an
overall career strategy?
No, I'm just kind of figuring it out as I go. If
there's somebody's career that I'd like to follow I think it'd be Meg Ryan's just because
she's always stayed true to who she is and done really classy parts.
What's your biggest frustration?
Just learning how to be an adult. I don't really
have anything that frustrates me horribly. I frustrate myself a lot because I'm very hard
on myself work-wise. I don't ever think I work hard enough or do a good enough job.
(A tourist women saunters by wearing a slightly
over-the-top nautical ensemble.)
That's the Captain and Tennille all wrapped
up in one outfit.
I can't believe how mean you are.
(Laughs) Yeah but come on, that was a fashion faux
pas from the start.
Like you haven't had a few of those.
I've worn hideous things. I was really into the
cutoff denim shorts with vests and that's scary.
Describe your most unfortunate haircut.
I had long hair down to my butt, and after I saw
Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation" video, I went and cut it off and got a perm and
had like three-inch bangs sticking out from my forehead. Scary.
What's been your favorite birthday?
I was seven or eight and there's this roller-skating
rink in Texas that my friends and I went to every single day after school, and if it was
your birthday there was a giant skate that fit two people, you and the roller guy. He
drove the skate around the rink so that everybody would see that it was your birthday and
we all dreamed of this moment because the roller guy was older and was the rebel...
...played by Skeet Ulrich in the movie...
Yeah, but he wasn't particularly cute or anything.
He was just older and rebellious so that made him so cool. And so we all dreamed of having
this day so we could feel special. So finally it was my turn and they played Madonna's
"Lucky Star" --hello, so perfect -- and I remember I was waving like a queen. It
was so exciting.
What's the coolest gift you ever received
Some friends recently gave me Audrey Hepburn's
script from Breakfast at Tiffany's with her original handwritten notes about what
she wants to do in each scene. And on the back page is her flight information for when she
was going to fly to her Swiss farm house. Isn't that amazing?
Have you had any contact with the people who
were close to her?
Well, she has a son Sean, who I'm going to write a
letter to just telling how amazing I think his mom is, to sort of introduce myself, I
What was it like when you first put on one
of the Audrey costumes?
Everybody in the makeup and hair trailer started
crying. It was the Roman Holiday look with the little blouse and the scarf and
the short wig. It was the first day and we all had our moment of, "Oh my God."
What costumes did you steal?
Well, I got to keep the Sabrina dress, her
Oscar dress. The wardrobe woman was amazing.
You're more endowed on top that Audrey was.
How did you deal with that?
I had to wear this sports bra and it was really
tight. I was bound for hours a day, not the most comfortable.
Did you ever have second thoughts about the
project, given how beloved Audrey is?
A week and a half before we started, I wanted to
quit and get out of it. I had this crying, freak attack in my house and my mom had to come
upstairs and give me the famous mom pep talk and tell me to sleep on it and decide what to
do the next morning. I thought about it that night and I tried to think why I was crying
and it was because a bunch of people had already started with, 'What if somebody writes
bad about you.' I was letting it get the best of me and I'd never done anything in my
career or in my life based on what somebody was going to say good or bad. I always did it
because I wanted to do it and I was frustrated that I was letting it get to me. So I went
ahead and did the project out of pure rebellion and the night before, I told myself that
the only thing people can't critique you on is your heart so if I do it from here then
I'll know no matter what anybody says that I gave it my all. So I gave it like 250% every
single day and it was a blast.
What was the biggest challenge of it?
The English and Dutch accent. I was very panicked
about it but after a while, I got comfortable and sort of fell into it. My dialect coach
was amazing. He was there for every single scene and after every take he would come up and
go, "Okay, you did great, but when you say "cat," say "gat"
How 'bout that churro now unless you want to
go on Jurassic Park?
No way! I went on that thing once and I nearly never
got over it.
(We order two churros and Pepsis and sit at
nearby picnic table.)
You work all the time. Do you get to hang
out with your friends very much?
Not that often, but when we do it's like really
really great. I'm not a big hang out person. I like working and then coming home and
having my time to rest. Working for me is so much fun and you're around 325 people
everyday, all day long, so when I get home from work it's different for me than it is for
most people. I'm like, "I've been around people all day long, I need to not be."
You share a house with your mom. Do you ever
feel like you need your own space?
Well, we're incredibly close and she's really good
about giving me my space when I just need it. I'm very honest with my mom, like I'll say,
"I just need to go upstairs and chill," and she's totally respectful of that and
I'm totally respectful of that with her, too.
How do you deal with it when other actors
are being difficult. I can imagine you running around behind them apologizing to the crew.
I'm definitely that way. I basically pick up the
pieces where they didn't and try to make everybody feel okay. I've always been that way.
I'm that way with people in my family. Like if there's an argument, I'm always the one to
go and say, "She didn't mean it this way" and give them a hug and then go right
into the next room and give the same speech. I don't like anyone to feel bad for
unnecessary reasons. But I try to stay very very quiet and out of the way when that stuff
I wonder if our picture turned out good?
I'm scared to find out.
(We stop at the photo booth on the way out.
There, above the clerk, is a TV screen with a picture of Jennifer posing with some fans,
taken earlier in the day.)
Do you always have to be on television?
I look like a total dork in running pants with a
thing on my head.
That woman in the background does not look
She's thinking, ''I can't believe they're taking her
picture. I'm so over this whole park."
(We pick up official Universal Studios shots and
I can't believe we actually had to pay for
these. Can't you call and get somebody fired?
What's the best perk of your job?
The fact that I go to work every single day and I do
something that I love, yet people send you free clothes for it, put you on Entertainment
Tonight. You get to go on the rides at Universal Studios. You're treated so great.
Just from doing that one thing, people from all over the world will come up to you and
think you're something special. That just amazes me.
My sense of it is that kind of adulation
feels good in the moment, but it doesn't make you happy in your life.
No, it doesn't and it's good that it doesn't because
when it starts to make you happy in your life is when you're in trouble and you become the
person that everyone is afraid of. But it is such an amazing thing. I never thought that
I'd be able to affect so many people.