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Mr. Showbiz Interviews Cameron Diaz

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Ay Diaz Mio: An Interview With Cameron Diaz
By Bonnie Siegler


You can't help but look at Cameron Diaz when she walks into a room. The actress who captivated the men of
America--and who literally made Jim Carrey's eyes pop out of his head--in her 1996 feature film debut, The Mask (a role she had to read for 12 times), even made Oliver Stone stammer when he cast her in Any Given
Sunday. "I really like watching her work, and I think every director falls in love with her in some way,” admits Stone. "I know I did." With pale blue eyes, blonde hair, luminous smile and shapely figure, the 27-year-old Long Beach, California native has Hollywood moguls willing to write $10 million paychecks in her name. Not bad for a
gal who nurtured a heavy-metal chick persona, pounded bully boys when they called her "Skelator," and became an Elite model at the age of 16. Diaz makes an impression on almost everyone. Consider her box office hits: There's Something About Mary, My Best Friend's Wedding and Being John Malkovich. We even loved her in the films that didn't leave much of an impression: Feeling Minnesota, She's The One and Very Bad Things. Now cast as one of the three female private eyes in the upcoming Charlie's Angels (Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu
complete the triumvirate), Cameron says, "Whether people see my movies is not very important to me. I don't
want people to pay to see a movie just because I'm in it. I make movies for the experience that I'm going to take
from it and hopefully what the audience will enjoy and take home in the end.” spoke with the lovely Ms. Diaz about being the object of millions of (wet) dreams… You starred opposite Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday and now you’re doing Charlie’s Angels--do you feel pressure to get bigger roles in bigger movies?
Cameron Diaz: No, I love doing supporting roles. I like shocking people. I loved Lotte [her Malkovich character], and I loved Mary, especially with the gel scene, as it's now called. The reason I took the Charlie's Angels part is because I love Drew [Barrymore]. I've known her for a long time, and she said “C'mon, we'll have so much fun.” I clapped my hands and said, “OK, let's do it." Will we see Charlie's Angels action figures?
CD: Well, not of me, that's for sure!! Can you actually say no to a $15 million paycheck if you don't like the people involved in a project?
CD: Yes, very easily. When they're paying me $15 million, they're not paying me just to act. They're buying me for their own purposes. They want and expect a lot from me, but I'm in a position now where I won't let people take advantage of me. You own a restaurant in Miami--what food takes away the winter chills for you?
CD: I like Cuban food when I'm chilly. The truth is, I like Cuban food anytime, really. I also crave shepherd's pie and, of course, chicken noodle soup. After a very high-profile relationship--and break-up--with your Mary co-star Matt Dillon, are you more cautious now about your private life?
CD: You bet I am. [Silence] Well, we know your film career is really outstanding. How’s your personal life with Jared
CD: Outstanding! [Laughs] I'm doing alright. I like having my personal life personal right now. Billed as the girl who made Jim Carrey's eyes pop, what do you think about when you
reflect on The Mask?

CD: Reading for the part 12 times and getting an ulcer over it. I think I was in the right place at the right time, but now it’s part of the grand scheme. When the Farrellys called you for Something About Mary, was Matt already cast?
CD: Actually, the Farrellys called me because they wanted me and they also wanted Matt. That was before
they actually knew we were going out. They said `call us stupid, but are you and Matt going out?' Do men ever go completely crazy for you like the guys in Mary did?
CD: Well, it's really cute when you meet young boys and they go bright red when they look at you. I've had phone calls in the middle of the night when I stay at hotels and I know it's young guys on the other end. I saw the Rosie O’Donnell episode when she gave you an autographed photo of Harrison Ford and you turned a blushing pink.
CD: Oh gosh [laughs]. I'd love to work with him someday. He's really my ideal man for masculinity. Not that Al Pacino didn't hold his own, too.

Distributed By Mr. Showbiz

Mr. Showbiz Interviews Cameron Diaz


Were you and Matt Dillon offered this picture as a team?
No, we weren't offered it together. The Farrellys wanted me, and then they had also wanted Matt, but that was before they actually knew we were going out. They'd said, "Call us stupid, but you and Matt are together?
We didn't know that, but we're thinking of him as Healy." It was not like, "Who's who as a couple?" They had always thought of Matt as a great person for this character. They had totally recognized his comedic ability.

Did the two of you ever hesitate then about working together?
We had talked about working together, but we didn't think it was going to be on a film like this. [Laughs.] We thought it would be something romantic, not this broad comedy. They say there's definitely a jinx for real-life couples to be romantic in a movie. Maybe this is the better way. It works. Our characters, it's not just the two of us who are involved. I guess that probably took a lot of pressure off of us.

What do you think of those enormous fake teeth he sports because he thinks Mary would love him more with a big toothy smile?
He's still sexy as Healy. What is up with that? It's a sickness. There's a scene that didn't make it into the movie where we go to dinner, and he's across from me and he's just got these "choppers," as he calls them, and can't chew very well. The food is spraying out, and I'm eating. It's in my drink and hair, and after a while I just put the napkin up. I was being assaulted by risotto. I think it was cut because it seemed a little demeaning to have Mary spit on.

There are a couple of shots where Matt is spying on you through your bedroom window while you're undressing. It's quite sexy but somehow tasteful. What happened? These are the Farrellys after all.
Actually, I trusted Bobby and Peter. The script originally called for me to reveal a breast. I told them, "I don't think it's necessary. I'm a girl—I can make this sexy and not do the whole thing." They were fine with that. But it is my responsibility to look at the clothing and say what I'm comfortable in. We see plenty. Mary's not supposed to hide what she's got, and her wardrobe is tasteful and simple with classic lines.

The Farrellys put all their friends in small parts throughout the film. Did you have friends visit the set who then found themselves onscreen?
My dad's in the movie. Most people thought he was lent by the county. He's one of the inmates in the prison, the guy with the long black hair at the end, with silver streaks. He comes through the bars and yells, "Yaaa!" But everyone in the movie is related "FOBs"—Friends of Bobby—and "FOPs"—Friends of Pete. Everybody flew down for one day or two to have a one-liner or a walk-on. My mom was offered one too, but she was like, "I can't."

Mary's retarded brother is the butt of a lot of jokes, as are gays, high schoolers who wear braces, middle-aged ladies with too much tan and sagging breasts. It just goes on. Are you worried that people will be offended by this movie?
It doesn't make fun of mentally challenged people at all. To be in that position, having a child who is mentally disabled, is a stressful situation. There's both a reward in it and a burden. Everyone needs a bit of relief. It's showing the cruel world that we live in, and that there are people like Matt's character [detective Pat Healy] and the kids in the high school who don't have a heart. And there's Mary, who's a girl who has had this in her life, and it's enriched her life. She's become a better and more accepting person. It allows her not to judge people. That's what allows her to give Matt's character a chance. Even though he's a complete jerk, she sees the good in him because she's accepting of that. But she won't let anybody push her around or her brother. She gave up a relationship with someone who wasn't willing to have a relationship with her brother. The film's not poking fun at mentally challenged people—it's never saying they're stupid, only that not everyone is as sympathetic as Mary.

What did My Best Friend's Wedding do for you, careerwise?
It's always good to be in a film that does well; that's the nature of the business. They want to know what your last film did. Unfortunately, it's always about the numbers. So it made it better for me, it opened a few more doors. As did The Mask, my first film. Had I never been in that, I never would have been in the position to be in Wedding. I was just recognized through that success. My Best Friend's Wedding was, of course, better for me [than The Mask]. It opened up doors in the business. Certainly, publicly, with people on the street, it went from, "Do I know you?" to "Oh! You're Cameron Diaz!" In a matter of three days.

What do you think when you reflect on The Mask as your first film?
As being in the right place at the right time—which I always saw it as, but now it's part of a grander scheme. That was my big cue: "Cameron, act. Come on in." I can see that now.

Have you done anything else since Wedding?
I did Very Bad Things last November with Peter Berg who wrote and directed it. It's an ensemble with a whole slew of other actors, and it's excellent. Totally twisted and really dark, but really funny. I did that before Mary, and I have not worked since March. But I start a film, Being John Malkovich, this month. John Malkovich is in it, playing himself. I give him a lot of credit—this guy's got a great sense of humor. John Cusack and I are husband and wife. Spike Jonze is directing. This one is very twisted. [Giggles.] It's the most "out there" script I've ever read.

When I saw a sneak preview of There's Something About Mary, it was amazing to see how everyone sat down and watched the end credits, which are a collection of outtakes with everyone singing an old hit called "Build Me Up Buttercup," by the Foundations. How did you do all that stuff you do in those final credits?
We all feared when we saw "Buttercup" on the daily call sheet. We'd groan, "No more 'Buttercup,' please!" Matt and I tried to get Ben's scenes always scheduled last, because that meant Ben could do "Buttercup." [Laughs.] What they used to do was play the song and we'd sing, and then they'd record our voices. When you went back to do more "Buttercup" it was our voices—and it was mortifying.

How would they direct that crazy stuff we see?
Mostly, with a lot of people on the set, Bobby and Peter wanted a lot of interaction. They never choreographed
anything; we had to make it up and figure out what the hell they were going to do with it. Then we learned it was the end sequence and thought it could be a lot of fun. We tried a bunch of things, but it wasn't filmed as much as it was on the call sheet. They'd appease us and say, "No, no. Maybe we're not going to get to 'Buttercup' today."

And what about that hair-gel scene, which is undoubtedly going to be the most-talked-about scene in the picture?
Oh no! Not the hair-gel scene! [Smiles.] I'm glad it found a name. I was so worried about what they were going to call this. I will give Peter and Bobby credit. I initially was questioning it from an actor's point of view: "You hired me to do a job and make this character believable, so people would believe she's intelligent and warm." I've done all this work and here comes the hair-gel scene. We come to the day to shoot the hair-gel scene, and I'd already stressed my concerns: From Mary's point of view, she's not a stupid girl. This is a big date, and to look that good you have to look in the mirror, right?

Do fans ever go ga-ga over you like the guys do in this movie?
It's cute when you meet young boys and they're bright red and breathing like they've run up the stairs—but they're just sitting outside the door. I've had phone calls in the middle of the night when I stay at hotels.

What does it mean to you to be Entertainment Weekly's "It Girl" of the Summer of '98?
It's nice of them to include me in the list—I have a movie I need to sell, and they had a cover that was open. Last year it was the Hot list, and next year it will be someone else on the cover.

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