<%-- Page Title--%> Cinema <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 139 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

January 23, 2004

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The Charm of Uma

According to Empire Magazine, former model Uma Thurman was one of the 100 most Sexiest Stars in 1995. Born in Boston, Massachusetts on April 20, 1970, she made her debut in Hollywood in the film, Kiss Daddy Goodnight (1987). Her first taste of stardom, however, came through her role as Cécile de Volanges in Dangerous Liasons, in 1988. In 1994 she received an Oscar nomination for her role as Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction. Over the years she has dazzled her audiences by playing many diversified characters in her movies, such as Fantine in Les Miserables (1998), Poison Ivy in Batman and Robin (1997) and Black Mamba in Kill Bill (2004). On December 3, Uma Thurman talked to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association about her experiences as an actress, as well as her latest movie, Paycheck.

Have you ever done anything strictly for a paycheck?

I've been so lucky that I've been able to be paid for what I love to do for most of my life. I did when I was twelve-years-old because my father was withholding my allowance, convince the man in the local Chinese restaurant to let me wash dishes and that was my first job aside from baby-sitting at the ripe old age of twelve and I only lasted there like a couple of months I was twelve and I think he got a little worried so one day he came up to me and he said, "Oh, no, Uma, no work here. No, no. You're a girl. Go home" I was very impressed with getting minimum wage at twelve though and in cash.

You have worked with Ben Affleck for X number of months and you must have perceptions about him. Can you see what J. Lo sees in him?
Oh, yes. Ben's what you call a catch. He's intelligent, he's beautiful, he's funny, he's self-effacing, he's sensitive, very much of a gentleman. I can see her problem. I can see it. It must be a terrible, it's tough to love such a catch I'm sure but he's a wonderful guy.
He's a good example of a celebrity, an actor, a movie star, whatever category you want to put him in. He seems to carry it with a lot of grace and humour. He doesn't pity himself; he'll humorously complain maybe but he is not bitter about the press. He's very gracious.

What are the moments that you really cherish in your life?
I guess probably the moments that I never would be able to forget, you know. The birth of my children, the trip I took with my father when I was twenty-three and we really talked about our relationship. My birthday party when I was three. I remember that because my mother surrounded the cake with these beautiful flowers. My grandmother was still alive. I don't know. There's so many. Those are a few.

How do you usually celebrate the New Year?
I always find New Year's is a bummer. You always want to do something so spectacular for New Year's and it's a bust, you know. I've had such bad luck with New Year's. I have often found that the best New Year's is when you don't make a plan and you don't try to have a good time. That's the only time that I've had a really nice New Year's. Otherwise it's like the ra-ra of it all and somehow it's depressing and in regard to resolutions. Well, I usually make a resolution every year about my work-out regime and how I'm going to improve it. That's one. Depending on whether I've beaten back, my unspeakable, struggle with getting rid of cigarettes. If I am not smoking, then I don't have to make the resolution. If I have smoked, then I make the resolution so I. Those are two of my main struggles.

Can you talk about your family and how do they support you?
I have one older brother, two younger. I feel very bad for my family in a way. One of the hardships is when your own choices in life have a difficult effect on your family I think that my brothers were sort of caught off guard but they're good and we are a very close family and obviously that's been one of the single greatest sources of strength to me in my whole life.

Do you have anything professionally planned apart from 'Kill Bill' for next year?
Well, I've been tinkering with this romantic comedy that I've been trying to develop for a couple of years so I am hoping maybe -- maybe the moment is right and I'll get it together. I really enjoy working with the writer and, you know, dabbling in producing. It's really fun. Makes me feel grown up or something.

What type of role is it?
It's a comic role. For me it's a good role. I have an incredible soft spot for screwball comedy. There's something else that I am thinking about doing, a character part, in a really fun character-driven movie that I might do in the spring. I've got a lot of home work to do.

The two characters that we have seen you in recently, one is a take charge woman and this one although she's very intelligent, her way that she fights is very different. The man still rescues you in some respect so I was wondering if you can address that?
Well, you know, each character belongs to their piece. I mean, there's something incredibly liberating in some mad way about Kill Bill and the ferocious courage of the bride. That was really amazing but there's another part. You know if I didn't believe I could be rescued I'd be so depressed. Everybody needs to be rescued sometimes. I don't get offered to play the girl very much. I really liked that. It's funny because actresses always complain about it and I was like oh, I just want to be the girlfriend. I just want to be the girl and sure, I'll kick a few people but let him do all the kicking so one of the things that really appealed to me about it was just to play a pretty regular woman.

There must be something in the professional world that you are uncomfortable or outraged about.
You won't believe this but actually I was really quite shy when I started and I remember reading once they had something called an Uma which was the person who walked into a party, migrated immediately into the corner and started smoking and it's someone coined this from me and it was terrible. ‘That's an Uma like a wallflower, neurotic dud, you know’. That was really a bummer. But I feel like I've gotten a lot better at it and I feel like I've grown a little bit, I try to communicate better. It's all about communication and with actors, I realised this because it was true of me, whenever actors get funky, it's not because they think they're great, it's because they think they suck. It's really just insecurity.

I think in a way once you kind of run the gamut and, you know, you've got to keep going, you've started to grow, you don't always do it well but you do the best you can and you've heard that you suck and you've heard that, some people like you, it gets a little easier. I really enjoy what I do now too because, I'm much better at it than I was when I was eighteen. You got to be willing to believe. You're an actor, you've just got to know you're going to get it, someday, so if it stops you from being happy in the moment then you really are a loser.

Interview courtesy of Munawar Hossain Piyal of the HFPA





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