Exclusive Interview : Amanda Bynes


Clint meets the “She’s the Man” cutie

She may just a week shy off her 20th birthday, but Amanda Bynes has already lived quite a full life. Acting since the age of 3, Bynes hit the big time when she was just thirteen; when she asked to headline her own series, “The Amanda Show”. In 2001, she made her movie debut in the comedy “Big Fat Liar”, and has since starred in several other films, including the recent comedy hit, She’s the Man. In it, Bynes plays a soccer-mad teenager who dresses up as her brother – in other words, as a boy! – just so she can win a place on the cutthroat boys squad. In this exclusive interview, CLINT MORRIS learns how Amanda Bynes keeps so grounded, why she’ll never have plastic surgery and why she thinks it’s much more fun being a girl, than a boy.

You played soccer in the movie, ‘She’s the Man’. Was that you though?
Yeah, well it was a stuntwoman for some of it, but it was me too. I trained for two months and then kept it up whilst we were filming the movie. I didn’t continue with it though, I wasn’t really that passionate about it.

Are you a sports person?
No. I’m not a big sports person.

You obviously take care of yourself though – because you look great.
Oh, thankyou. I’m naturally thin, but I’m also very active – always on the go – and like to walk whenever I can, too. Not that I ever care too much of I gain a couple.

Is there pressure on you to main your figure though?
Not really. I’m not a supermodel anyway, and I’m not in this business to show everyone how beautiful I am – I simply want to entertain.

And that’s what audiences love about you. You’ll always go for the laugh first, and worry about whether it makes you look silly later.
That’s definitely my goal, so thanks.

You started your career in Television. How easy was it making the transition into movies?
It was luckily not the most difficult thing, because the first film I did (“Big Fat Liar”) was written by the guy (Dan Schneider) who did my TV show (“The Amanda Show”). And after that one, I found it reasonably easy to get other films.

What’s your favourite?
Let’s see. Well, I’ve done Big Fat Liar, What a Girl Wants, She’s the Man and Robots. And also a film called Lovewrecked, which hasn’t come out yet. So I’ve done five, but four that have come out. Um, I think this (She’s the Man) is my favourite. It’s because I got to live the college life on film – because I haven’t been able to go to college yet in real life – and because of the cast. I’ve enjoyed all the movies I’ve done – it was a bit lonely being in England working on What a Girl Wants, though – and everyone I have worked with on the other films I have learned a lot from – but this was a young cast, acting wise and that, so it was much more me.

Now that you’ve played both a boy and a girl. Who has it easier?
I think they both have their good and bad points. Girls get to have long hair and make-up – some guys choose to do that as well [Laughs] – but I personally think it’s more fun to be a girl. But I did have fun playing a guy!

There is a lot more pressure on women to maintain their looks though, isn’t there?
Definitely. I think women look better and better as they get older, but there is some pressure on them to look a certain way. I personally think we should grow old gracefully. Like, my mum has great hair and it’s beautiful. It looks natural.

It is a little off-putting to see an actress on screen that’s hard too much work.
Totally. When you can see it, it’s disgusting. It also takes you away from the film you’re watching. I saw an actress on David Letterman – who will remain nameless – and he was congratulating her on how great she apparently looked. She was trying to shake her head, and modestly say ‘no, no, I don’t’, but she couldn’t frown or anything – because of the work she had had. It didn’t move. It was so freaky. How can you be an actor if you can’t use your expressions? As you see in my movies, I use every muscle in my face.

Was comedy always your forte?
Yes and no. I started out doing plays, where I was strictly doing dramatic roles. In To Kill a Mockingbird, I played Scout. In The Secret Garden, I was Mary. And they were all dramatic, sad stories. I started doing comedy, and stuck with that, but I definitely would like to do some serious roles in the future.

Is that where you’re at at the moment? Trying to decide your next move?
Yeah, I am. It just depends, I guess, on what scripts get sent to me, who wants me, and which ones I believe in. For instance, I was supposed to do this (She’s the Man) two years ago, but it just didn’t feel right then. I wasn’t ready for it. Then it was bought up again, and I was ready.

What do you do with your time off?
With anytime I have off, I just sleep. I just try and enjoy being with family and friends. And even being on these promotional tours, there’s no time to see anything besides what you see outside the window of a hotel room.

How are Australians different from Americans?
People are really, really nice, and you all seem to have a good sense of humour.

Compared to some of the fakeness in America?
Yeah, and I don’t do that anyway, so I feel like I sort of fit in more here.

Would you like to make a movie here sometime?
Are you kidding me? I would love to!

What are some of your favourite films?
I have a few favourites, but I’m a huge Jim Carrey fan, and I love Dumb and Dumber. I can just watch that over and over. In fact, it was on loop in my trailer, in Vancouver, whilst I was making this movie. Same with Mrs Doubtfire, I would go over to my friend’s place and she would ask what I want to watch, and I’d say ‘Mrs Doubtfire!’. She’d be like, ‘No, we’re not watching it again!’ I just love it! I also love The Notebook.

Anyone you’d like to work with, in particular?
Speaking of, I really like Ryan Gosling (from The Notebook). Big fan of his. He’s just such a good performer.

What have you been eating whilst you’ve been here?
I’ve tried; I think they’re called, mud crabs? It was pretty good.

Are you a big fan of candy and sweets, too?
Yeah, of course!

One thing you’ll notice here is the lack of sugar-free candy. You guys have so much of it there in America – but we don’t have very much of it at all.
Yeah, we do. It’s very close to the real thing too. It’s pretty good.

How’s it feel being such a young role model, being so idolised, by all these young girls?
I think because I’ve been working so long, I feel like I know them. I guess it helps too that I’m like a fan too. I’m just like them.

You had a lot of success with TV’s ‘What I like About You’, in which you co-starred with Jennie Garth. Is that caput? How was that?
Yes, it’s finished. Yeah, it was good, but it just wasn’t what I really wanted to be doing. Still, it was a good thing transition-wise. It was a good stepping-stone. Jennie and I also got on well. We keep in contact, but we don’t hear from each other a lot, because she’s so busy with her family and all.

Tell me about your next movie, ‘Lovewrecked’?
It’s a comedy about a girl who gets stuck on an island with her favourite pop star, and they think they’re stranded, but they’re really just on the opposite side of the resort. She finds out, but doesn’t tell him. It’s a good one for kids. We made it before She’s the Man. Because it was an independent movie – She’s the Man was Dreamworks – it didn’t have a distributor, and that is why it’s taken so long for it to come out. The Weinstein Company have just picked it up though, so now it’ll finally come out.

You’re turning 20 next week! What are you doing for your big day?
I don’t know. I’ll probably go out for dinner with my family, and then go out [with my friends].

What do you want to accomplish in your life?
I want to win an Academy Award, so obviously I have to play this amazing part sometime, but I’m happy where I am at the meantime.

SHE’S THE MAN is in cinemas next Thursday