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by Nigel M Smith
September 21, 2012 10:01 AM
2 Comments
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'Liberal Arts' Star Allison Janney on Competing for Parts With James Gandolfini and Why She Wishes She Could Write


On the good side of things, carving out this career of playing so many great supporting roles has afforded you the opportunity to do more projects than if you were always playing the lead.

"I'm hoping I haven't done my best work yet."

Well, that's true, too. I like to mix it a little more. I'm hoping I haven't done my best work yet. I hope some gem is gonna find its way to me, and I'll take it and run. I'm ready -- Lord knows I've had years of preparation.

What can you tell me about your reunion with your daughter Juno, Ellen Page, in Lynn Shelton's next film, "Touchy Feely?"

She's lovely, but unfortunately Ellen and I did not get to do one scene together. We exchanged emails and said how excited we were that we were gonna get to see each other again. Lynn is so lovely to work with. She's very improvisational -- just sort of knowing what the scene's about and just, let it go. It was challenging for me because I don't think of myself as a great improvisational actor. I like to go with whatever happens in the moment, and I can play around, but there were some moments that I couldn't [laughs]. I was playing a massage therapist, and I was giving Rosemarie [DeWitt]  these oils, and I said, "Take this. This is my own mixture." And she says, "What's in it?" And I say, "Never mind what's in it. It's my special secret recipe, so just take it!" [Laughs] Don't freaking ask me what's in it. I can't make that up on the spot, I'm not a writer. In the film, I play a Reiki therapist. I actually had to learn how to do that, and I always hated Reiki therapy, which Lynn thought was hysterical, because I had to play a Reiki therapist and I just don't buy into it. It's the most frustrating experience, to have someone not really lay their hands on you, or just sort of hover above you. I'm like, are you kidding me? This is a joke. Put your hands on me, you gotta get your hands in there, dig in there. So that was kind of fun for me to get to play. I had a couple of sessions to learn how to do it and what it was.

"Margaret" Fox Searchlight

I have to ask you about "Margaret."

Oh my God!

Which you probably shot, like, 10 years ago or something.

I think it was! I think it was like 2002 or 3 or 4.


Have you seen both cuts?

No, I have not. I saw one cut. I saw it on an airplane, believe it or not. I was sitting there, and I was like, "Oh, my God." I watched it, and I was just blown away by it. I did get the long cut in the mail. It was actually a funny moment I had with Kenny Lonergan when he called me to do it -- he's just one of the most talented writers, I adore him. I was debating whether or not I really wanted to fly to New York and get in a pool of blood on Broadway for an hour, and I just said, "All right, at least I know I won't get cut out of this movie." So I went, and I literally laid on Broadway and 75th Street in a pool of blood, and I couldn't get up. I mean, what was I gonna do? Go to craft services covered in blood? Anna [Paquin] stayed with me. It was kind of really intense to do. It was kind of crazy with all the people lining the streets and photographers. But I think the movie is a masterpiece. I'm sorry it was so mired with legal problems. I don't even know everything that happened. It kind of got pushed under the rug for all the reasons that have nothing to do with all our creativity, but business as usual.

You've played types from all walks of life. What are you still dying to give a go?

I want to play a superhero. I want to play an action hero. I want to play a fucking kick-ass woman who saves the world. I want to learn some martial arts thing and kick some ass, that's what I want to do.

2 Comments

  • Taylor | September 24, 2012 12:18 AMReply

    THANK YOU for asking her about "Margaret" -- I have been dying to hear her say something about it. She's absolutely incredible in that movie and she has only one scene!

  • No | September 21, 2012 3:09 PMReply

    One of my favorite actors...