About Features Reviews Community Screenings Archives Home
November 2004
Alfie: An Interview with Marisa Tomei

Alfie: An Interview with Marisa Tomei

By Wilson Morales

For reasons unknown, Marisa Tomei seems to be the girl that producers and directors love to put in romantic films. From "Only You" to "What Women Want" and a few roles in between, the characters that she's plays has always had some romantic element in them. She's the either cute one that audience roots for or ends up being jilted in favor of someone else. Even being in another romantic film, this Oscar winner for "My Cousin Vinny" manages to give in a different spin to the characters and not make them clichés. In her film, "Alfie", Tomie plays the girlfriend to Jude Law's character, Alfie, and in speaking with blackfilm.com; Tomei goes over her roles and working with Jude Law.

When they called you about "Alfie", did you think about what part you would play and were you surprised to see what your role was?

MT: No. I didn't think much about why they were doing it. It (the original) was a perfect movie and when I read the script, I saw that it had a lighter and more comedic tone. It was broader with more laughs and I thought it was intelligent also and I think Jude is probably one of the few people who could pull that part of.

Why is that?

MT: There is just something about him. He's just so charming. I guess it's the charm. It has to be so charming to the point where you can understand that this person can get away with this kind of crap.

Why do women always fall for those sorts of guys? Have you fallen for those sorts of guys, the bad boys?

MT: Is he that bad a boy? He's just empty. He's not really the exciting kind of bad boy in my feeling. He's really taking you on adventures you haven't been on. He's like the unattainable rogue I guess; the elusive thing and very seductive. So, yeah, I've encountered many guys like this my many travels.

Your character doesn't let Jude's character get away with anything. I love that line where you say, "Let's have some eye contact." Was that line something you came up with as improve?

MT: Nah, it was in the script. It's good that she's not blind to who he is. How could you really be if you are an intelligent person, which is what we are trying to play from her end? Charles (Shyer), Jude and I talked a lot about the character. If this is the person that he really loves, and if that's the story, then what's on her end, and what's the thing that would really join them? So we're like, "Why in the hell is she with this guy, once you get past the charm?" The charm goes a long way, obviously, and especially with her. Having a child as well helps ground her and helps keep her life moving. She doesn't stay long at parties, but if she didn't have the kid, then maybe she would. And he's really good with the kid and it's one of the things that attracted her to him.

Jude said that there are Alfie women as well out there in the world.

MT: Sure, that's what Susan (Sarandon)'s character is all about in the film and Kim Catrall's character from "Sex in the City".

Do you know any women that are like that?

MT: I don't think women are that unconscious about what they are doing. I think Alfie is extremely unaware and not self reflective at all. I know a couple of friends who are more on that end but it's more that they know; they know what they are doing and the guys that they are involved with know what's going on. And this guy is a scam artist who wants to be bathe and fed and handheld. He's kind of a baby, but also a gigolo and charming.

You're working here with Charles (Shyer) on this movie and you previously worked with his ex-wife, Nancy Meyers, on "What Women Want". Did he talk to you on how good you were on that film and wanted you for his film? How did the role come about?

MT: I think they are still friendly and I'm sure that they spoke, but I don't know where the idea of having me on this film came from, but I also knew Jude as well; so I think it was a combination of Jude, Nancy, and Charles, and Elaine (Pope) and who knows.

What are the similarities between Charles and Nancy's work?

MT: They are not extremely different, but there was a different energy. They both like a lot of takes and that's one similarity and they're very specific and they have a great sense of style, like a throwback sense of style to classic comedies, like it's their foundation for both of them, which I love and really exciting to me.

Did Charles have you watch the original before you started your shoot? Did he give you a crash course as to what style of acting he was looking for?

MT: No, but I knew he would have this retro feel to it and we talked about that cause when the subject of clothes came up we talked about how it would be approached. He's gets really excited and shares everything with you. He's really enthusiastic. He shows you all the colors and is like, "Come and see the set today."

Were your scenes shot in London?

MT: London and New York.

Were the apartment and exteriors in London?

MT: Yes, and some of the exteriors were there too. It was part of that whole thing that they bought in Manchester. They built Soho in Manchester. I walked on to the set and felt like I was at home. It was just an unconscious feeling. Jude needed to be in London, so they built the set out there for him. We only had one little exterior for me in New York.

How did you find working with Jude? Did you guys hang out the shoot?

MT: I knew him a little bit before but we just pretty much worked. I got there a couple days early and I kept flying back and forth because I was doing something else here (in NY). I don't remember what it was but I was probably working on a play. I went back and forth three times.

What are you working on now?

MT: I have a couple things coming out such as "Charm School" with Robert Carlyle and John Goodman and Danny Devito. I play a person who works at like a travel company, but it all takes place at a Ballroom Dancing School, but it's not the "good" version. It's like the loser version. Let's just put it this way, I have a wooden leg. (She laughs) I have a prosthetic leg in the film. I will also be in "Factotum", which is a Bukowski book that they made into a film and it's directed by a Norwegian, Bent Hammer. We shot that this summer in Minneapolis. Lily Taylor is also in the film as well as Matt Dillon.

Can you compare Bukowski towards Alfie?

MT: Bukowski is way more romantic, although with his reputation, we think of the drinking and the swagger, but he writes about love all the time, and he was very involved and committed to the women in his life. He was just "experimenting" with the other women. He was awoken to the fact that he could actually sleep with them.

Do you have any beauty tips or can you think of anything under $25 that has always worked great for you?

MT: "Sedafil" soap, cause it's a good deal and a good soap.

Did you have anyone's poster on the wall when you were growing up?

MT: Nope. The only autograph that I ever wrote away for and got was Gene Kelly's and I still have it on my desk. I was probably 13 or 14 at the time.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy