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November 2004
Alfie: An Interview with Jane Krakowski

Alfie: An Interview with Jane Krakowski

By Wilson Morales

Jane Krakowski is mostly known these days for the role she played on TV's Ally McBeal, Elaine Vassal. It was a perky and fun role to play. Besides the TV show, she also won a Tony Award recently for her role in the Broadway production of "Nine". As talented as this woman is, we haven't seen her on the big screen with roles that are as powerful or attractive as the ones she has off-screen. With a starring role as "Betty O'Shale" in "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas", there haven't been much juicier roles that have come her way. That may change now. In a small but noticeable part, Krakowski plays "Dorie", one of Jude Law's many conquests in the remake of "Alfie" and in speaking with blackfilm.com, Krakowski talked about her character in the film as well as working with Jude Law.

Can you talk about kissing Jude Law?

JK: It was my first day of filming and why does it happen like Murphy's Law. I meet the Jude Law at 7 in the morning or 7:05 and I'm trying to figure out what are we going to do in the back of this limousine in a very intimate situation. It was one of the greatest days of my life and the fact that it took 12 hours to shoot just that one little section was fantastic. I never complained so little about a twelve hour day. It's less intimate than it looks. There was so much going on and because we were in the back of a limousine, it was technically difficult to get the camera in the car and who gets in the car and what are we going to see and what don't we see. So there's a lot more to it, but it was a complete delight, honestly, because it is an awkward situation, especially on your first day, and you want to make an impression and my character is only in for about five minutes of the movie, and every moment matters. Jude and I work in similar ways. We come up with ideas and collaborate them and make something that we came up with together and that's what the morning was all about. Charles (Shyer) was quite wonderful in the fact that he gave us a good hour without any of the crew because every minute cost so much money. He gave us an hour without any of the crew so that we can put all of our ideas together. There have been lots of scenes like the limousine scene and we wanted to do something different. The biggest thing we decided was that we weren't going to do on the seats; we were going to do it on the floor part, to make it more like a bed. We can then cut this side of the limo and you could the full body. That was a big breakthrough to have that happen. Jude had brilliant ideas. I like the way he was thinking. So there was this all collaboration of ideas and those things make it fun for the actors cause we know our ideas are a part of it as well as hopefully individually something different.

Were you surprised about Jude Law? Had you seen any of his films?

JK: I was a huge fan of his. I was surprised by his performance in movies because I always thought he took interesting parts and played them interesting. I always thought he was a character actor in a leading man's body. Even though he plays leading men, he goes about them in a character actor sort of way. His interpretation of the character is always interesting and I was so please to see that when I finally got to work with him, he really does think all the way through and really makes clear choices and really cares and gives so much in each take and is constantly thinking about ideas and different things to do and how could we make this better. I loved that and we both really clicked on that ground, on that level. My part took a long time to film because there was weather issue and we filmed over a long period of time. I left this experience more taken with him and more wowed by him than when I came in as a fan. It's a great deal to say especially when you work with someone over a long period of time.

What about his character? Do you think his character has any admirable qualities to him?

JK: I think the way Jude portrays it, it does. I think the base character of Alfie is a man who is out there. There are many Alfies out there. It's a type of male that if men can do it, they will try to get away with it. If it's enjoyable to them and if it's what they want. I definitely think they are out there. I think what was interesting about Jude's performance and what sort of instantly modernized the movie for me and his performance was that he brings a sort of modern day male senility to the part and I felt it was interesting as the movie develops. The movie starts one way and you think it's one kind of movie and then suddenly as it gets deeper and deeper, you realize that you're watching a different type of movie or that the movie is becoming something else, and I love that, but I also love, that as the movie goes on, the way Jude has chosen to portray Alfie, we see feelings. I don't recall many movies when the man shows me his feelings. Not necessary his cynical secrets or the views of women he has or his true opinions, say like with my character when he cuddles her and talks to the camera and shares with the audience. The fact that he showed feelings when he lost his friendship; when he lost what he knows is his child, that was more modern to me because we hardly see that and that's a different type of male. That's a more evolved today male to me. The women to me also got quite stronger. In the original, they were used by Alfie whereas these women are with Alfie because they want to be and they enjoy their time with Alfie, and they leave him when it's no longer good for them. That instantly made all of women to me women of 2004 where you could believe all of these characters in today's times.

Did you watch the original film before you started shooting this film?

JK: I did. I had seen it many years ago and I loved it and I re-watched again. Millicent Martin played my part in the original. I thought there was a grittiest to all the original characters and the women in the original and possibly just by looking, they have it just because we are looking back and it was different time. It was London and the 1960s, so it's just a whole different world, really; but there was a grittiness to it that I thought would be very good to see; to see if any of those elements can sort of come in or see what Lewis Gilbert was going for versus what Charles (Shyer) was going for in this one.

This is the second time you have done a remake when you think about "Nine" as well.

JK: Yeah, and they went back to back which was interesting. I was sort of in 60s mode at the time. In "Nine" it was a similar topic. It was a man who fell in love with many, many women and I was a mistress. I was his mistress. They were both were similar but in "Nine", the man is married and has to decide if he wants to stay in his marriage. It's all the same theme.

What do you think happens to your character after the film ends?

JK: That's a very interesting question. What I loved about this movie, and this was in the original structure, is that you don't know. You don't know if Alfie is going to change. You leave the movie with that discussion. I like when you leave the movie with something to discuss instead of it all being wrapped up for you in a nice neat bow. I think she's one of those characters where you are not sure what's going to happen. I do think, and it's kind of sad about her, is that she probably does stay with her husband and that light, that excitement that she experienced, whether she had before the marriage or lost it in the marriage, he reignites it for her. My feelings is that with some of the dialogue that was shot and is not in the movie alludes that she was going a make with her husband or that she's trying to be different. We shot different versions of the last scene, and there was a lot more dialogue and character where you knew more about the characters than you do now or where they end up or what has been going on since with him since she last saw Alfie. Some of it has been cleaned out.

How did you get the role? Had Charles or Jude seen you in something?

JK: I don't think so. I wanted to meet Charles and I wanted to be part of it cause I knew that there were great women's parts in it and I just with him and after he had a few women that he sort of liked and was interested in, he chose what parts he thought we more suited for. I was also told that he any never seen "Ally McBeal" which I think helped me in this situation. He knew that I was on that show and that he knew that I was known to people of the audience from that but he had never seen it. I don't know if I would have gotten this part if he had known me from only Ally McBeal and I think that sort of helps and since Ally McBeal has been over, I been able to get a lot of different roles from the character I played on the show and I love that and I love that I'm getting the opportunity. There's always a fear that when you play one character for 5 years and you leave that role, you will only be thought of that character, so it's been quite great. The fact that he didn't see that was great. He didn't have any preconceive notions.

What was the first movie you saw and what kind of impression did it leave on you?

JK: Wow. Gosh. That's such a complicated question. I'd have to get back to you on that one.

What beauty tip under $25 would you recommend?

JK: My favorite tool is a Q-tip. They are great applicators of make-up, eye shadows, and you could so much of it. You can take nail polish with him. It's the ultimate beauty tool.

What three things would you have in a tree house?

JK: My ipod, a fleece, and a boyfriend, but those could be options. If I don't have a boyfriend, a boyfriend

What's next for you?

JK: I'm going to be doing a Broadway play called "Hitchcock Blonde" It' s a four hander and also stars Christina Ricci. It was in London and now's it here.

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