Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Jennifer Jason Leigh

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Jennifer Jason Leigh

Article excerpt

After her breakthrough role as a naive freshman in 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Jennifer Jason Leigh made a career playing the deliciously damaged or deranged. Putting that vicious circle of psychopaths, addicts, and hookers on hold to star in husband Noah Baumbach's Margot at the Wedding, the 45-year-old married white female opens up about Broadway, bikinis, and blow jobs--and shows us why she might not make such a bad roommate after all. By Brandon Voss

Just how aware are you of your gay following? Somewhat aware--but you can always tell me more!

Which of your films do gay fans respond to the most? Well, Dolores Claiborne [1995] is always popular, because it's just a big melodrama with great women characters who are all tortured. It almost comes back to Stella Dallas.

So is it true that sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold on to? Well, I had to say it enough. [Laughs] No, but I think it's a pretty good line.

Have you ever played a lesbian? Not outright. You know, Hedy [in 1992's Single White Female] is kind of.... I don't even know if she's gay so much as she wants to merge with Bridget Fonda's character.

Did you discuss Hedy's sexuality with the director or gay screenwriter Don Roos? There were feelings about that in the script, but we never had a full-out conversation about it. It was kind of more mysterious. But I like adding little things.

If Dolores won over gay men, SWF totally snagged your lesbians. [Purrs] Fabulous.

If you were to play gay, whom would you pick for your on-screen lover? Mmm! Oh, that's such a good question. Probably Samantha Morton, just because I think she's a genius and I'd go see her in anything. I would love to work with her in any way.

Though you've worked with practically everyone else, were you ever starstruck by costar Nicole Kidman in Margot at the Wedding? Well, she's so good, it's crazy. When we were doing scenes together, it was so easy to believe that we were sisters and had that kind of intimacy and history--if anything, you just forgot it was her. Then you'd see her later at a party or something and she's like a phenomenon. But when she acts, she disappears into the character so completely. She's very generous, she gives you a lot to work with, she's always alive, and every take is different. She's everything you want in a partner.

Have you and your buddy Alan Cumming considered another writing-directing project to follow 2001's The Anniversary Party?. No, but I'm sure if we got in a room together for 10 minutes, we'd come up with something. I'm sure we will at some point in our lives.

What's your favorite Cumming story?

There are so many good ones! He's just hilarious. The other night after he and [his husband] Grant came to Margot at the New York Film Festival, he told me a really funny story about how he was the ambassador to Grand Marnier. [Laughs] Grand Marnier was the official host of the New York Film Festival a few years ago, and he basically got paid to go to some parties that he would've probably gone to anyway--you know, it's not hard to get Alan to go to a party. And he had this whole spiel. So at Dogville, when Nicole was like, "Alan, what are you doing here?" He had to say, "Oh, I'm the official ambassador to Grand Marnier. …

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