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Volume 4, Number 3
March, 1999

A Distracting Evening with Jennifer Pruitt

by Dean Shutt



So there I am, wandering the streets San Francisco, reflecting on just how wonderful it is to be me. I am on my way to The Thirsty Bear Brewing Company to interview the female star of The Distraction, Jennifer Pruitt. For those of you unlucky enough to not have seen the movie yet, Jennifer plays "The Distraction" a woman that makes a married man rethink his vows. The movie is far more complex than that and you can read all about it in last month's issue, but that is the general idea. Watching her on the screen, I almost wish I had some vows of my own to rethink.

At any rate, I arrive a few moments early, figuring I'd get all set up while I waited for her to arrive. Lo and behold, she's already waiting for me, very unactress-like, but she's so damned cute in those overalls that I figure I'll let it slide. Besides, I'm going to hit her with the tough questions tonight. My personal feelings aside, I am after all, a professional, and I am here to do a job, those gorgeous, golden curls of hair framing her face be damned.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO ACTING?

I think growing up I was always interested in acting. I was always wanting to put shows on for my family, my parents, for neighbors. I'd get my friends together and we would put on plays outside of someone's garage. I was also very athletic growing up, I played on an all boys baseball team for a long time.

I got into high school and played volleyball and basketball, I was really wrapped up in sports so I really didn't do much with acting. Then I went to college and I didn't do much with dramatics, but I was still very interested in acting.

When I got out of college I thought I could get into advertising as sort of a backdoor into acting, you know, I could get a feel for it, get an idea of what it was all about. I found that it was far too business-oriented for me. But I did have the opportunity to do some voiceover demos for clients. When I did that and I was there in the studio with the headphones on and I was doing the voiceovers I realized that it was so much fun and I thought that if I could actually make money doing this, if I could actually do this for a living that would be a dream come true. So I think that was really the catalyst for me, that got me energized.

Soon after that I got my head shot and an agent, which was really fortunate because I really hadn't done very much yet. One thing led to another and I started going on commercial auditions and then I got a few film auditions and then I got The Distraction.

HOW DID YOU GET THE DISTRACTION?

I read about it in "Casting Connection," which is a local magazine that a lot of actors subscribe to. It lets you know what's going in the Bay Area in the way of theater or film projects. I saw the ad for The Distraction and I submitted my head shot and resume and I got a call for an audition and then it all just went from there.

SO WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST PROFESSIONAL JOB?

The Distraction was my first big role. I'd done some work here and there, but this was really my first starring role.

ARE THERE ANY ACTORS OR ACTRESSES THAT INFLUENCED YOU?

Meryl Streep, she's in a caliber of her own. When she is on screen, she reveals her soul. Some of the best actors aren't able to do that.

SO WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN YOU AND LESLIE?

I really like her character because there are some parallels between she and I. She's very outgoing, she's very friendly, She kind of seeks out someone's insecurities, she notices that Paul is awkward and uncomfortable in his environment and she goes extra mile to make him feel comfortable. I think there is an overlap there , because growing up I always noticed the kid eating by themselves and would often join them, I was never cliquey.

WHAT WERE SOME OF THE DIFFERENCES?

She's far too promiscuous for my taste. She is a little less confident, a little more insecure than I am. She wasn't really close to her family and family is the most important thing for me.

IF WE COULD, I'D LIKE TO TALK A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER AND SOME OF WHAT SHE WAS THINKING. IN THE MOVIE HE HAS TO CHOOSE BETWEEN YOU AND HIS WIFE AND HE CHOSE HIS WIFE - WHAT WAS HE THINKING?

She was his high school sweetheart

SO HISTORY GOT YOU?

Yeah, I think that's what it was. (laughs) He had loyalties to her and I think she was devoted to him though she screwed up at one point and had an affair. But I think that was behind them and they had made a commitment to each other and he's a good person. So I don't think he takes that lightly. But he can't help being distracted, of course

AS A FOLLOW UP, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, THE GUY IS KIND OF GOOFY LOOKING?

Wellhe has beautiful eyes. Plus he was more stable to me than my boyfriend at the time. I think he represented stability to me and he was different. I was at a point in my life, where I was frustrated and disillusioned, and so he was a refreshing ray of light for me.

SO WAS THIS A PLANNED SEDUCTION OR DID IT JUST SORT OF HAPPEN?

No, I didn't have a plan

BUT DID YOU IN THE BACK OF YOUR MIND, SAY TO YOURSELF WHEN YOU SAW HIIM, "I DON'T CARE IF HE'S MARRIED."?

I wasn't really thinking about it, my focus wasn't on her. I was thinking in the moment and I was down some of the time and he was a friend at work and then one thing led to another and...

YOU WERE IN THE ALLEY.

Yeah, I was in the alley

FIRST TIME IN THE ALLEY?

It was the first time in the alley.

SO WHAT DID YOU ACTUALLLY DO AT THAT OFFICE ANYWAY?

What was I doing? I was working on some data...some Leslie data (laughs)

ANYONE EVER TELL YOU LOOK LIKE SARAH JESSICA PARKER?

All the time.

DOES THAT BOTHER YOU?

No, no, no it's flattering.

ARE YOU OLDER OR YOUNGER THAN YOU LOOK?

Probably a tad younger. I'd say right about my age

WHAT'S UP NEXT FOR YOU?

I have few things pending, but I can't really talk about them yet.

OK, SO NOW IT'S TIME TO HIT YOU WITH SOME POP CULTURE STUFF, THE PIN-HEADED EDITORS DEMAND A POP CULTURE SENSIBILITY.

Fine by me

SO IT'S THE PERFECT DAY, YOU HAVE BASEBALL, FOOTBALL HOCKEY AND BASKETBALL, ALL ON AT THE SAME TIME, WHAT DO YOU WATCH?

Basketball probably is the most entertaining to watch.

DO YOU STILL PLAY BASKETBALL?

Yes, for fun, but not seriously.

NO PLANS TO GO PRO THEN?

No, no not until I grow few more inches

ANY OTHER TALENTS?

Tons, too numerous to mention (laughs), no not really, except for the athletics... and I have a way with hard eights

EXCUSE ME?

You know what I'm talking about - craps

YOU MEAN LIKE DICE?

No, playing the field.

UMMM... I'M CONFUSED, WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT NOW?

That's all right, we'll do our next interview in Vegas.

ROSS, CHANDLER OR JOEY?

Two years ago I would have said Ross, but he's too whiny right now. So I would say Chandler for me, but then Joey is such a crack-up that I might go for him.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE EIGHTIES MOVIE?

Valley Girl, definitely one of my tops, especially when Nicholas Cage comes back with, "No, Fuck You Julie, for sure, like totally." I love Nick Cage, I think he's an amazing talent.

WHAT WAS YOUR WORST YOUTHFUL FASHION INDISCRETION?

Acid washed jeans

WITH HOLES?

No holes, just the pegged acid washed jeans.

DID YOU HAVE BIG HAIR?

Not too big

WHAT WAS YOUR WORST YOUTHFUL MOVIE OR MUSICAL INDISCRETION?

I have no regrets. Though I did have a crush on Ralph Maccio for awhile. I thought he was the best after Karate Kid, I even sent him a fan letter. A girl from my class found it outside of the mailbox and returned it to me at school. I was so humiliated.

FAVORITE SIMPSONS CHARACTER?

I don't know...Bart.... I really don't know it that well to have a favorite character.

YOU'LL NEED TO WORK ON THAT?

OK

WHAT'S IN YOUR CD PLAYER RIGHT NOW?

Blues Traveler, Madonna, The Clash, Josie Cotton, you know, a variety of things. FAVORITE AUTHOR?

I love JD Salinger, and I really love Maya Angelou. I recently saw her speak - ageless beauty and inspiration.

FAVORITE BOOK?

Catcher in the Rye

WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP IN SHAPE?

I run, I go to the gym a little but I'm not a huge gym person. Instead of doing the weights, I like doing the Rocky-type workout, with the pushups and sit-ups and lifting bricks

WHILE EYE OF TIGER PLAYS IN THE BACKGROUND?

Oh yeah, (laughs) that's meoh and I love kickboxing too.

SO WHAT'S THE WORST PICKUP LINE YOU'VE EVER HEARD?

"You're Daddy must be a thief, because he stole the stars and put them in your eyes."

DID IT WORK?

Oh yeah, that night (laughs) No it didn't work!

BEST PICKUP LINE?

"Hi how are doing tonight, my name is so-and-so."

DID THAT WORK?

It could.

GUYS, A PLAGUE ON HUMANKIND OR JUST A BUNCH OF BIG DUMB HAIRLESS APES?

Don't I get another choice?

NOPE, GOTTA PICK ONE?

Hairless apes

HAVE YOU EVER DATED AN ACTOR?

No

ATHLETE?

No

DOCTOR?

Med student, does that count?

LAWYER?

Yes

CONSTRUCTION WORKER?

Not as their main job but they did construction

PENNILESS INTERNET COLUMNIST?

No, and I would definitely stay far away from one.

OK, THAT WOULD TAKE CARE OF THE FOLLOWUP THEN. THANKS FOR BEING HERE.

My pleasure.

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