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
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
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
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
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
YOU'LL NEED TO WORK ON THAT?
WHAT'S IN YOUR CD PLAYER RIGHT NOW?
Blues Traveler, Madonna, The Clash, Josie Cotton, you know, a variety of
I love JD Salinger, and I really love Maya Angelou. I recently saw her
speak - ageless beauty and inspiration.
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
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?
GUYS, A PLAGUE ON HUMANKIND OR JUST A BUNCH OF BIG DUMB HAIRLESS
Don't I get another choice?
NOPE, GOTTA PICK ONE?
HAVE YOU EVER DATED AN ACTOR?
Med student, does that count?
Not as their main job but they did construction
PENNILESS INTERNET COLUMNIST?
No, and I would definitely stay far away from one.
OKTHAT WOULD TAKE CARE OF THE FOLLOWUP THEN. THANKS FOR BEING