Jamie Lee Curtis Interviewing Sigourney Weaver Is Delightful
Jamie Lee Curtis interviews her friend and fellow actress Sigourney Weaver in the latest issue of Interview Magazine, and the pair—with their funny stories about the early days of their careers, adorable meet-cutes with their respective husbands and joke shit-talking about James Cameron—are an absolute joy to take in.
Here’s how they start things off:
JAMIE LEE CURTIS: Hey, frenemy! I’m calling from California, where it’s 72 degrees, sunny, and maybe the most beautiful day of the year.
SIGOURNEY WEAVER: Well, I’m going to Hawaii on Wednesday.
CURTIS: Way to trump me again. [laughs]
WEAVER: That’s all I care about. That’s what this whole conversation is going to be about, Jamie.
CURTIS: I did no research, no deep background on you.
Much of the interview is spent talking not about the art of acting, but the joy of acting, which is totally fun and refreshing.
Weaver, who went to Yale Drama School, found studying performance to be a rather soul-crushing experience:
When I was in college, I was an English major, but I was part of this great group at Stanford called the Company. We didn’t know any better, so we did it all; we did King Lear, we did Hamlet, new plays … And we did it all in a covered wagon that we took around the Bay Area. We all put our makeup on in one cracked mirror. It was the most fun I’ve ever had. Then when I went to Yale, I thought it would be like that 24 hours a day. Robert Brustein [former dean of the Yale School of Drama and founder of the Yale Repertory Theater] was there, and we did all this very serious—I would go so far as to say completely humorless—Eastern European drama, as well as Strindberg, and Ibsen, we weren’t allowed to do Shakespeare or Williams or O’Neill. I was not in the right place…
…I didn’t leave, because they convinced me I had no talent, even though I was always working. They cast me mostly as prostitutes and old women, and I stayed because I loved the writers. I loved Chris Durang and Wendy Wasserstein. I was always doing their work in the Yale Cabaret. My mother said, “Pack your bags and leave.” And my father said, “I’ve already paid for a year and a half—why don’t you stay and get the degree?” And I said, “That’s a good idea, because then I can at least run a theater even though I have no talent, and I’ll never be an actor.”
Both women met their husbands in very sweet ways:
WEAVER: I met my husband during the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 1983, when I was doing a Pinter play with Dianne Wiest and the late, great Ed Herrmann. Jim [Simpson] was directing the nonequity groups, doing whatever plays they were doing. He was also the bartender at the bar we called the Zoo. I remember going there with Christopher Walken—we were not dating—and I took my shoes off to dance on the dirt floor, and it was so dark. Anyway, this man who’s my husband now rescued my shoes and put them up on a pipe somewhere so that I had to go to him, and say, “Please, sir, where are my shoes?”
Curtis was very ballsy when it came to approaching Christopher Guest:
CURTIS: I married Chris five months after seeing his picture in Rolling Stone. I said out loud to my friend, the late, great Debra Hill, “Oh, I’m going to marry that guy.” It was a picture of Chris with Michael McKean and Harry Shearer fromSpinal Tap , but just as regular guys. Debra said, “Oh, I know him, and he’s with your agency. I tried to get him in a movie.” So I called the agent, left my number, but Chris never called me. And then I ran in to him at a restaurant.
WEAVER: Did you go up to him at the restaurant?
CURTIS: No. He was sitting about ten feet away and he looked at me and kind of nodded. I made a gesture, like, “Hi, I’m the one who called you.” I was sitting with Melanie Griffith and Steven Bauer, and I looked down at my plate and whispered, “Oh my God, I called this guy and he never called me back and there he is.” At that moment, Chris got up to leave. He shrugged his shoulders, and basically waved goodbye. Not a word was exchanged. And then he called me the next day. He had kept my number. That was June 28, 1984, and I married him four months later, on December 18.
And then there’s the one who got away:
CURTIS: There are not many women who worked with Jim Cameron, as we did, who didn’t marry him. And you’re about to work with him again.
WEAVER: [laughs] But there’s still time for us to marry him. He’s only been married five times. Surely he can make it an even seven.
Read the full interview (where they talk much more about acting and their friendship) here.
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