Clint chats to Justin Long & Ginny Goodwin

Actors Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin flew in from New York on the weekend of Australia’s worst natural disaster – the tragic bushfires that have claimed near 200 lives (and that number is likely to increase by the time this interview goes to print) – to promote a movie.

As the Hollywood stars were introducing ”He’s Just Not That Into You” to a premiere audience in Melbourne, fire-fighters nearby battled treacherous blazes in an effort to save as many people as they possibly could from the horrendous adversity (Alas, those brave firemen were no match for the fierce fires that ripped through townships such as Wandong and Kinglake and many, many homes, not to mention lives, were lost).

“I can’t even wrap my head around it”, says Long, obviously taken back by what he’s heard and seen of the fires on the local TV news. “It’s just terrible. There’s nothing you can say. It’s tragic. And you can’t help but acknowledge it in the interviews we do. And doing all this publicity for a film just seems so insignificant compared to what’s going on this week.”

Goodwin agrees that it feels wrong “just promoting any kind of movie”.

Long, best known for his roles in the films ”Die Hard 4.0” and ”Jeepers Creepers”, says he’s taken back by the courageousness and amity of the Australian people – and that includes our new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

“I saw some footage of him on TV the other night – and I was taken back by just how sensitive he was. He’s a very eloquent man. He was shedding tears. He seems to be legitimately in mourning. On a human level, he seems to be truly affected by it.

“[Americans] have lived through, and are now trying to cope, from a similar tragedy for the past eight years – and we didn’t really have a guy like that there for us”, Long says, referring to the tragic events of September 11, and former leader George Bush. “Seems we’re both (Australia and America) in better hands now”.

Though the actors say it’s difficult promoting a film in the current circumstances – it is still important that audiences have “an escape” at such times, says Goodwin.

And this is a good “escape”.

The film, based on a best-selling book, tells of a mass of interconnected characters, led primarily by the desperate and dateless Gigi (Goodwin), who weave in and out of the picture, all either stuck in, looking for, or leaving, a relationship.

In the case of Gigi, she’s constantly being either stood up, or used, by men who, for some inane reason, don’t care to see her again after that initial date. In an effort to steer herself away from the hurts again, she seeks advice from relationship guru, Alex (Long), the slick manager of a local bar.

“[The film] is light and people can relate to it – because life is funny”, says Goodwin. “It’s a film that shed’s light on relationships. It’s an intelligent story”.

“As opposed to one of those comedies that’s moronic – with moronic humour. You know, films that get their laughs by having people fall and trip over?”, adds Long, who, as he’ll attest, has starred in his such of such movies – like teenage comedy Accepted and comedy dud Strange Wilderness.

Though the film features a well-known cast, including Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Aniston and Drew Barrymore, Goodwin was actually one of the first actors attached.

“[Producers] had seen me on [TV series] Big Love, but mostly, they thought I embodied the character”, the actress, who also appeared in the film’s ”Walk The Line” and ”In The Land of Women”, says. ‘’And they were right. I am pretty much this girl.

‘’I could also relate to Gigi’s plight – I’m humiliated on a daily basis and my heart’s but broken so badly it’s nearly killed me”.

Long couldn’t relate to his character as much – but that’s what interested him about the role. Having played teenagers for so long – and usually geeky ones – the young actor wanted to stretch his wings and show people he was capable of playing other parts; in this case, a slick, confident, well-dressed young man.

Long originally met with the producers to talk about playing one of the other roles in the movie but begged them to let him for read for the charming Alex.

“I thought I could do it – I thought I could play this jaded guy. It was such a great opportunity for me to show audiences another side of me”, he says.

The actor, who shares a home with another 30-something-actor whose still playing teenage roles, ”Superbad” star Jonah Hill, said it was also a chance to play someone his own age for a change.

“It’s hard to keep playing teenagers when you’re hair line is receding as much as mine is”, says the. “I’m 30 now, and I was 28 years old in [teenage comedy] Accepted. You just can’t keep doing that’’

It also works in the film’s favour that Long and Goodwin, who play potential lovers in the film, had a history.

“I’ve known Ginnifer for, like, 8 years. I hadn’t seen her in a while but just knowing she was going to play that role, and therefore hearing her voice in my head whenever I’d read the script, really helped. I knew straight away, because of who Ginnifer is, the tone of the thing. It’s genius casting”.

The film is getting great feedback from critics – due to its realistic [interweaving] storylines and the fact that it doesn’t paint the man (as many of these types of films do) as the bad guy. Even the character that cheats on his wife in the film has been written and performed so well that you don’t necessarily hate the guy – you actually feel for him.

“I was sympathetic to the character”, Goodwin says.

“And I think that’s a testament to how well Bradley Cooper played the part”, adds Long.

“I had one journalist though who didn’t feel that way though – she said ‘but Ginnifer, wouldn’t you just want to rip Scarlett Johansson’s eyes out if that was your husband?’’’

‘’I don’t think someone could say that unless their husband had cheated on them – they’d had to have been there. Someone’s got some issues they need to deal with”, laughs Long. “But that would definitely make for a great headline! ‘Ginnifer Goodwin wants to claw Scarlett Johansson’s eyes out!”.


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