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Exclusive Interview : Michelle Monaghan

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Clint talks to the “Heartbreak Kid” and “Gone Baby Gone” star


The masters of the hardcore comedy, The Farrelly Brothers, directors of the hits ‘’There’s Something About Mary’’ and ‘’Me, Myself & Irene’’, are back!
In ‘’The Heartbreak Kid’’, Ben Stiller plays a newlywed who meets the love of his life whilst on his honeymoon! Michelle Monaghan, most recently seen as Tom Cruise’s love interest in ‘’Mission: Impossible 3’’ and soon to be seen in Ben Affleck’s directorial debut ‘’Gone Baby Gone’’, shifts gears to play the woman of Stiller’s affection – who he attempts to woo whilst he keeps his new, increasingly horrid wife at bay. In this exclusive interview, Monaghan tells CLINT MORRIS why she wanted to do a comedy.

Hi Michelle, we talked last year for ‘’Mission: Impossible 3’’. Great to speak to you again!
I know! Hi Clint!

Now you’re married to an Australian, are you heading back here for Christmas?
No, we’ve been there for the last couple of ones, so this year we’re going to have it with my folks – before I’m disowned.

’’The Heartbreak Kid,’ great stuff – but after ‘’Mission: Impossible 3’’ and ‘’North Country,’’ it seems like a bit of a departure for you; almost an odd choice?
Well it’s definitely a new choice. I’ve wanted to do a comedy slash romantic-comedy for as long as I’ve been acting so when this opportunity came along I just jumped for it.

But ‘’Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’’ was definitely a comedic movie, and you had some funny moments in there, so people mightn’t realise it isn’t that much of a stretch. That movie was the bomb!
[Laughs] Thanks!

Tell me about meeting Ben Stiller for the first time.
Oh my gosh…. Well, I’d met him a few years ago – we had done a read-through together – but I had to audition for him for this and I can’t even tell you, I was a bundle of nerves! And then there’s Bobby and Peter Farrelly, these are two guys that I’ve admired and respected for such a long time and I had to go in and try and be funny! It was really pretty daunting. But anyway, yeah, Ben is just so great – he’ll support you whether it’s an improv, or whatever, and he definitely makes you look better than what you are.

I remember you telling me last year about how nervous you were to work with Tom Cruise on ‘’Mission : Impossible’’…
Yeah it’s kind of the same thing – as Tom is to action, Ben is to comedy

And how great are Ben and his real-life father Jerry in the film?
Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! It’s clearly where Ben gets his comedic chops – Jerry is a comic legend. They were just so much fun to watch – to watch them interact, but more so to see them laugh at each other was so endearing. It was really incredible.

Now how do the Farrelly brothers work – is it a lot of improvisation?
Well they have a brilliant script to start with but the joy of doing something like this, because it’s so spontaneous, is that you didn’t necessarily have to do a scene as written. They’d shout out ‘No, try this!’. They’re very quick and witty – and think on their feet. A lot of the time they would let you use improv as a tool to keep the scene fresh. After about twenty takes of the same scene everyone – the crew – would stop laughing, so you’re free to throw something in there to get people laughing again and everyone’s blood pumping again.

Were you the first choice for the role? How did you get involved?
I actually went in to read for the role of Lila, and then half-way through that audition I was told I should read for Miranda as well. And then [The Farrelly Brothers] gave me that role. I just wanted to be in the film so desperately I would’ve played any role.

I think it’s a better fit anyway
Yeah, it’s definitely perfectly cast. Malin [Ackerman, who plays Lila] did a great job and is hysterical, and I got to play the girl-next-door, which is probably more suitable, and it was fun to play.

Is comedy harder?
I think it is… I think it definitely is. For drama you can prepare – you can research your character, you can put a lot of thought into how you’re going to play that character from day to day; but with comedy you can’t really prepare to be funny. You just have to cross your fingers and wing it… and just be open to trying anything to try and achieve that laugh. For me it’s definitely more challenging.

Where was the movie filmed?
Cabo San Lucas – at a resort called The Esperanza.

It looked great!
Tell me about it!

So how long were you there for?
We were there for a month – the cast and crew – and we booked out the whole place. It was like a paid vacation. We were up at the crack of dawn shooting scenes on the beach and we’d finish that night when the sun would go down… it was just really incredible. It was one of those jobs that I just didn’t want to end.

Have you had a job where you did want it to end?
Oh yeah. You get tired; you want to sleep in….. But this one was such a pleasure, we were on a beach, we were outside, we were laughing the whole time.

Did you know that there’s an Australian film by the same time?
No!

Yeah, it was a huge film about a decade ago – I’m actually rather surprised that they kept the title for this one for Australia; they usually change it if there’s something else by that title.
Oh that’s surprising…

It was quite a good movie – a teenage love story between a teacher and a student.
Oh wow, I will have to check that out!

You’re on a real roll lately – looking at your filmography, it’s been film after film. Do you kick yourself?
Every single morning – either I kick myself or my husband kicks me! Yeah, it’s really been an amazing couple of years – the level of people I’ve been fortunate enough to work with has been amazing. The actors, the directors and the material have been great. I’m really incredibly proud to be in the films I’ve done.

How did ‘’Gone Baby Gone’’ go?
Yeah, really amazing. And that’s another one that I’m really excited about. It’s definitely different from anything I’ve done. It’s a beautiful drama… a real intense film. People are talking about it already, which is really exciting.

Have you gone onto ‘’Eagle Eye’’ yet?
Um, I actually start rehearsals for that tonight! Which I’m very excited about! So yeah we’re starting tonight and we start production November 6 in Chicago. Shia LaBeouf, Billy Bob Thornton and Rosario Dawson and I are in it – it’s got a really terrific cast. I’m really excited about it. D.J Caruso is directing it.

Do you think there’s any chance of another ‘’Mission: Impossible’’?
You know what, I don’t know. Nobody has told me anything about another one but if they did one, I would totally love to be a part of it. I had a ball making that movie.

It was a fantastic film too. At the time when I interviewed you for it, I don’t think we’d seen the whole film – I think we’d only seen 15 minutes of it – and I can truly say it was the best one of the series.
Oh that’s right, you hadn’t seen it all….. yeah, It was so good… and it was a really fun time.

Would you like to work with Ben Stiller again?
Oh my gosh, yes! Of course!

I was watching something with the Farrelly Brothers the other day, I think it was an interview they were doing on E! News or one of those shows, and they name-dropped you as being ‘one of their gang’ now… someone they absolutely adore
Awwwwww….. That’s so nice to hear! God bless them! It’s so nice. I would work with anyone from that cast again! It was such a great bunch. I think the Farrelly’s have such a unique brand of comedy – R-rated, had a lot of heart too.

Comedies are definitely back this year, aren’t they?
Yeah! They’re back with a rage! It’s great to see so many R-rated comedies come back! We sort of lost them a while or so back so it’s good that they’re back.

What’s next for you?
I’m on Eagle Eye, and after that, I don’t really know… I’ve got an independent film that I’ll produce and star in called Trucker. That’s a drama that’ll hopefully go to Sundance this year. If all goes well, hopefully we’ll release it next year. And then, I’ll be seen in a romantic comedy that I shot with Patrick Dempsey called Made of Honour.

You have been super busy!
Super Busy!! [Laughs]

Thanks so much for talking to us…
Yeah, you too Clint! And hopefully next year time I’ll be in Australia we can catch up!

THE HEARTBREAK KID is in sneaks this week around Australia

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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