Alicia Silverstone may look just as she did at the start of her career, but the Golden Globe-nominated star has certainly grown when it comes to her acting. With past work that ranges from independent cinema to big-budget studio films, from television series to the Broadway stage, from playing a bubble-headed teen to playing a struggling single mother, Silverstone's career has taken her to surprising depths.
Her latest film "Angels in Stardust" has her playing the role of Tammy, a single mother in rural Oklahoma raising two children (newcomers AJ Michalka and Adam Taylor) while trying to dig herself out of the dumps. The film comes out in select theaters and on VOD on February 21.
We called up Silverstone to discuss working with A-list talent, her life of activism and the most defining role of her career.
How do you generally go about choosing your projects?
There's a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's just for fun. Sometimes it's just a fun opportunity that comes along. But mostly, it's something that makes it interesting. A really good director, really good writing, other great actors to play with.
What specifically attracted you to the role of Tammy in "Angels in Stardust?"
Well, with Tammy, it was definitely the first time for me to do something like that, something very different. That was the main draw. Tammy's so complicated and so interesting. And it was up to me not to make her a bad mom, but to make her more compelling and more complicated with a struggle between her love for her own children and her own needs.With a wide range of roles throughout your career, what do you consider gave you the necessary chops to pull off your character in "Angels in Stardust?"
I don't know if it's a specific role, because each role you play allows you to bring to it as much as you can, based on the circumstances of the character. I've done a lot of theater, I've worked in a play with Kenneth Branagh where he was directing me and I've worked with Laura Linney in "Time Stands Still," and doing things like that really allowed me to feel like I'm exactly where I need to be and that I know what I'm doing. So then you just wait for a great role to come and you get to play it, and this was one of them that I could just really play.
How much input do you typically give in regards to how your character should be portrayed?
Well, when I'm working with a director that I absolutely trust and that I really respect, you know right away if you can let go and just follow their lead. Usually, the best directors I've worked with have very little to say, I mean the reason they hired you is because they know you're right for the part. And it's really good because they just let you go and they give you a little input here and there, a little tweak here and there. It's the most incredible experience, I mean that's a primo experience for me. It happened with Amy Heckerling on "Clueless," it happened with David Mamet when I did plays with him, it happened with Daniel Sullivan on Broadway. And the more they allow you to let go, because of how much trust they have in you, the harder and stronger you push yourself. It's amazing. Sometimes directors are not that way, sometimes they're more nervous or whatever, and you have to try not to mess up your work. And that can happen too. And then you just have to play the part and you just do the best you can, and you have to try to protect yourself and to protect the film.