AROUSING ALICIA by Dennis Hensley
Parked outside Alicia Silverstone’s trailer on the set of her NBC series Miss Match is an eco-friendly Toyota Prius hybrid, which is not surprising, given the 27 year-old Vegan actress’s well-publicized views on animal rights and the environment. On the car’s back window, someone has scrawled “Watch me, please.” This makes sense, for although Miss Match has been well received by critics—Silverstone was even nominated for a Golden Globe for her turn divorce attorney-by-day, matchmaker-by-night Kate Fox--ratings have been less than spectacular. Oh wait, the window says, “Wash me, please.” This makes even more sense because the car’s filthy.
Bad auto hygiene. It’s just one more thing to find adorable about Alicia Silverstone. Though her 12-year career has had its highs—Clueless, The Crush, those Aerosmith videos—and lows—Batman and Robin anyone?—one thing has remained relatively consistent. People just seem to like her.
Today is the last day of shooting for the season on Miss Match. Dressed in her outfit for tonight’s wrap party--jeans, a rocker T and black Stella McCartney jacket—Silverstone stretches out on the sofa in her trailer and reflects on this chapter of her life. “It’s sad and I had weird dreams about it last night,” admits the actress, who makes a brief return to the big screen in this month’s Scooby Doo: Monsters Unleashed, “but I’ve had the best time. I love playing Kate Fox. She’s like a little Superman fighting for good. She’s so romantic and excited by life and those are things that I absolutely relate to. I want people to feel all gooey inside.”
DENNIS HENSLEY: Do you hope Miss Match gets renewed for another season or are you ready to move on?
I’ve made great relationships here and it would be a shame for us all not to be together for another season. I love working with NBC. They sent me to a Radiohead concert so they’re good in my book.
Did you go backstage and meet the band?
They’re too amazing to even want to meet.
What celebrity would you really want to meet?
Prince. He’s my big love God. Wasn’t he amazing on the Grammy’s with Beyonce? She was smokin’ hot. I don’t think I’ve seen something that hot in like, my fantasies.
So you have a little crush on Beyonce?
(Laughs) I guess. She looked like your best fantasy of a Barbie doll, like when you’re a little girl and you have these ideas of what a woman is. She is that.
Back to Miss Match. Has it been fun working on a project that’s all about love and romance?
I’ve always been a big sucker for love. It’s what everybody is searching for, even the angriest, most upset people. So I feel like I’m in a really cool, ongoing Meg Ryan movie.
You seem really unjaded, on-screen and off. Given that you were so successful so young, it seems like you could have turned out a whole different way.
What way could I have gone?
You could have gotten messed up on drugs or alcohol or been sort of desperate for attention, like turning up on all fours in Maxim.
I was on all fours in Detour, but that was with David LaChapelle, an artiste. (Laughs) No, I know what you mean. I feel like I’ve always had really good ideas of what I wanted and I had my priorities straight.
Where does that self-possession come from?
I think intuitively, when I was younger, love was the most important thing. I really, really craved deep love with people and I never thought that I was going to get that from my work. When I was younger, I think I pushed away success. It was scary. I was a little girl.
Like, “Sure, I’ve won a zillion MTV Awards, but what does it all mean?”
(Laughs) Yeah, and it was all happening so fast. I was appreciative but I never was impressed by it. Now, I’m more impressed. Now, I can be like, “I got nominated for a Golden Globe!” whereas before I’d be like, “(scoffing) Golden Globes…it’s not real.” I was very serious back then, but it wasn’t arrogance. I was just trying to figure out what was important. Luckily, I had really great people in my life who really let me be who I was, friends that I could tell all my darkest feelings to. I could express how uncomfortable I was about everything and they weren’t going like, “You’re insane.”
When you first started, you did a lot of movies right in a row, then you seemed to disappear for a while. Was that a conscious decision?
When I was little, it was like, “I’m going to take every single job I get. I’m in no business not to.” But Clueless was so successful that I had to be selective about what I picked next. And at that point I was taking things extremely seriously. I felt like, “I’m not just going to repeat the same thing? I’m an artist!” Right away, I got offered an amazing opportunity to produce Excess Baggage. I cared so much and I wanted the movie to be so good and I was really proud of the compromises and the end result. I worked on that for two years, like sweat and blood, and that’s where I really learned some key things about filmmaking and about myself.
You cast Benicio Del Toro as your love interest before many people knew who he was.
He had to be the guy. But we had to convince people to hire him. I went in and did the best acting job of my life, convincing the studio that he looked just like Brad Pitt, that he was brilliant and that there was no other choice.
Before Miss Match, did you ever feel a sense of panic, like ‘I’ve been gone a long time. I need to bounce back big’?
As an actor, you always have those feelings. You have a to have a balance. I’d worked so much at such a young age, that I missed out on things. When all my girlfriends were in school, I was working every day and we had nothing in common. So it was really important for me to experience life. I spent time growing veggies, hanging out with my dogs, reading, doing yoga, being naked on the beach in Hawaii, and just having fun. It’s very easy for me to pick roles now because if it’s not really stimulating, I’m so happy doing other things.
Now you’re back on the big screen, playing a TV reporter in Scooby Doo: Monsters Unleashed. Did you base your character on all the nutty interviewers you’ve had over the years?
I didn’t use them at all, but she is psychotic. (Laughs) It’s a cameo part but it was a dream job; go to Vancouver, work maybe forty-eight hours and have all this great downtime. I’d go out on romantic dates by myself.
Did you pull out the chair for yourself and pick up the check?
Yes, I did.
Did you put out for yourself at the end of the date?
I did. No, wait. I don’t know if I did. (Laughs) But I would sit there with my little journal, order a glass of wine and work on my script. I felt very, very artsy.
When in the course of making a movie do you know if it’s gonna turn out good or not?
I never know. And I never really used to care. I was always so excited about the process that to me, the end result was just like, “Well, it’s not my problem.” But now I feel more invested. I want my movies to do really well and I want to do everything I can to help promote them because I want to support people that are supporting me.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
The most fun part is being locked in a room for hours, working on my script. I get so stimulated and really turned on.
Speaking of turn-ons, some of your early roles, like The Crush, had a sexuality to them that was beyond their years. Who do you think of when you look at pictures from that time?
Sometimes I laugh and I think, ‘I hope I’m going to have the imagination to do now what I did then.’ I was totally free as Darian in The Crush. Like where did that come from when I was fifteen? That scares me. And there’s some pictures where I look so sad and I’m just like, “Wow. That’s so neat that I was totally into it.” I really, really got off on doing The Crush. Maybe there’s something weird about that, I don’t know. I guess I got to let out all my angst or something.
Then came Clueless. What does that movie mean to you looking back?
I loved it but I was really terrified to do it. That was a character role for me because I’m nothing like that girl. Then I started to get into this groove and I felt like I felt like I was channeling some kind of wonderful thing from the past.
Unlike Cher in Clueless, you’ve never been much of a clotheshorse. Has that changed as you’ve gotten older?
Not really. The fact that I’m wearing this semi-hip outfit right now is shocking. It’s my wrap party outfit. I’m just learning to be a woman. I’m just learning about make-up. I think that all came from becoming healthier, because once I got healthy, I started wanting to feel pretty. There’s definitely been moments, like at the Emmy’s or Golden Globes, where I’ve felt more girly and more like, appreciative of a good hairdo. It’s so funny to me that I would say that now, because I would so not admit to anything like that before.
How hard was it for you to go Vegan?
I really thought I was making a huge sacrifice but then the most amazing things started happening to me. I calmed down emotionally. I don’t have to exercise, and I still maintain really nice figure from my diet. My skin got better. My nails got strong. My eyes got white and bright and I have not been really sick in five years.
If you were going to seduce me into Veganism, what would you prepare for me?
I’d take you to Real Food Daily, and order the nachos, some tacos, the Rueben, the club sandwich and some mashed potatoes and gravy. So yummy. Then for dessert, I would get us coconut cream pie, chocolate cake, the macaroons, carrot cake and pecan pie.
I’m sold. You win. The name of your company is First Kiss Productions. Do you remember your first kiss?
I was ten and it was with a guy named Isaac. His brother was encouraging him and my girlfriend was encouraging me. I don’t know if it’s because I was embarrassed or because it was true, but I went to school saying, ‘Don’t ever French kiss. It’s very disgusting.”
If you could be a guy for a day, what would you want to experience?
Oh, my mind goes one place really quick, but that’s weird. (Laughs) You know what would be really nice? To pee so easily, though I still do pee easily, just wherever, but a guy can get away with it a bit easier.
Have you ever been in a typical movie star situation—like in a limo—and just snuck away and did your business in the bushes?
Oh, I’ve peed everywhere you could possibly imagine. I’ve been like, “Pull over!” and my friends are like, “No!” because they don’t want me to get caught but I don’t care. Whenever I gotta pee, I pee.
You’ve been involved for several years with musician Christopher Jarecki. Do you think about getting married?
Yeah, but I still feel like I’m a little girl. I think when I was in unhealthy relationships, marriage was a really important concept. I don’t think it was conscious, but I think it was like, ‘If they’ll marry me, they really love me.’ But now, I’m not that interested in marriage as much. It’s a really romantic, beautiful concept, but for me, it wouldn’t be so right to have a traditional wedding. I would want something more like, tribal, something that was an expression of where I was at, at that time.
How would you describe this time in your life?
Insane but fulfilling. My lifestyle really allows me to feel healthy as I’m being pulled left and right and up and down and my brain’s falling out. I feel like as long as you can get to Yoga, eat really good food, feel healthy, and have love in your life, it’s all good.