Q the Interview: Marisa Tomei

Article excerpt

Brooklyn-born Marisa Tomei quit Boston University when she won a role in a CBS daytime drama. In 1992, she clinched the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in My Cousin Vinny, and her role in the drama In the Bedroom won her another Oscar nomination in 2001. At 38, Tomei commands a great deal of respect on screen. She plays Adam Sandler's girlfriend in her latest film, Anger Management. Tomei divides her time between homes in Manhattan and Los Angeles.

Have you ever dated a guy with an anger problem?

No, I've dated a few thugs - haven't we all? A couple of genuine thugs, but they weren't angry at me and they didn't let it out in bad ways. Just angry-at-the-world kind of guys.

Was it hard keeping a straight face working with Adam Sandler?

Yeah, but he's not really a prankster. Like he doesn't play tricks or anything. He would never embarrass anyone, but he has a way of getting things off his chest in a really funny way. He has a lot of funny friends who he keeps employed, which makes him look a lot funnier. If you watch enough of his films, you see who his best friends are.

How's your temper?

I'm one of these people where I hold it, hold it and hold it and then I explode. It's terrible.

So, what ticks you off?

Well, it's not LA traffic. Thankfully, I don't have road rage. But I probably don't drive enough to really have it. It's mostly when people aren't communicating, then I start getting really paranoid. Whether it's on a set, or it's between two people in a relationship, I start inventing things. What's really going on? I have to hear from the other person. I tend to take it personally. I tend to worry. What's really going on with you?

At 28, you won an Oscar for only your second film. Were you overwhelmed?

I wasn't, but I should have been! I had no idea. I was naive, which is a blessing and a curse. I just didn't know that people would be expecting so much, and I felt that there would be more support. I didn't know that it would be like, OK, now the knives are sharpened.

There was a period in your career where you were considered the romantic comedian. Did you find yourself being typecast for a while?

Well, when I was younger I kind of did what anyone told me to do. I didn't really think about it long term. I didn't take enough time to really think that I could make those kind of choices, which were closer to my heart. I just went along blithely.

So, when a role like In the Bedroom comes around. …