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FUTURES: Analeigh Tipton, One of Whit Stillman's 'Damsels in Distress'

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire April 5, 2012 at 1:03PM

With her lead turn opposite Greta Gerwig in Whit Stillman's anticipated fourth feature "Damsels in Distress" (out this Friday), Tipton proves her breakout turn in "Crazy, Stupid, Love" was no fluke.
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Damsels in Distress 1
How old are you?

23.

So you were nine years old when the last Whit Stillman film came out. Were you familiar with his work prior to reading "Damsels"?

Not initially. I got the script, read it and fell in love with the fact that I could read a joke on the page, get it at face value, and suddenly laugh at the joke again because something several pages later made the whole thing switch in meaning.

That was very appealing, as well as having such a unique female cast.

And then going back, before meeting Whit -- seeing all of his films, understanding his style. From there on it became the excitement of being part of the Whit world and the Whit cult.

He's been out of the game for 14 years. Were you nervous about working with a director who had to re-discover his groove?

It was nerve-racking. We as actors all loved the script. We loved the idea of what was happening. But of course there was that point where it could go either way. You hear these stories about directors coming back and trying to be too much like they were. But Whit did a wonderful job of making something fresh and new while still incorporating his signature style, which is very difficult to do, I imagine. It worked, thankfully. He seemed on his game while he was directing, but then again I had nothing to compare it too. He's excited to get back in and do more of it.

But certainly there was and is pressure to be in the cast of a film -- his new debut, so to say. I sometimes didn't know what he was doing or how my performance was going to turn out, but we learned quickly to trust him because he's Whit Stillman. We are his chess pieces.

Take me back to your life as a model and why you switched gears into acting.

To me it's a little odd to ever think "model into actor." I modeled once. I was about as far from a decent model as you can possibly be. I did not enjoy the world at all. I fell in my stilettos quite a bit. I got a really bad slouching problem in modeling (it's a cool thing to do that).

But I moved on to LA six years ago, way before the show, for writing and directing. I'd done theater by whole life. Acting was very natural. I never really considered that I was making a transition. If anything it was a transition for me from behind the scenes as a writer to in front of the camera. That was the most nerve-racking.

Did modeling help you get comfortable with the camera?

You know, having a bunch of cameras in front of your face, I kind of got used to that. But no, it's so different I think.

"I don't try to play the pretty girl that's on the page. I can't and don't bring that."
What's it like to look back?

It's cool to look back. I like my path. I wouldn't have changed anything. Has it gotten me to be here? Yeah.

Do you have a gameplan going forward?

I think that I'm getting cast in these roles because I approach them honestly. I don't try to play the pretty girl that's on the page. I can't and don't bring that. There's a smart way to go about that. I like characters that are a little bit quirky because I feel that that's the most real. Also edgy and smart -- or at least smart in their antics, not necessarily in their actual intelligence. Thats what I've been going for. It's almost a cliche to say, but one day when I have kids (young girls), I can point at the characters and say, these are cool roles representing smart or interesting women.

This article is related to: Futures, Interviews, Damsels in Distress, Analeigh Tipton







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