LIV TYLER ON SENSITIVITY
By Crash redaction
RADIANT LIV. SHE GIVES HERSELF WITH SUCH SENSITIVITY AND INTUITION, ALMOST APOLOGIZING FOR GETTING SO MUCH ATTENTION. AN ACTRESS IN FULL BLOOM, SHE’S ALSO AN ACCOMPLISHED MOTHER WHO SAVORS HER OFF TIME, SIMPLY TAKING THE TIME TO LIVE. AFTER MODELING FOR GIVENCHY, THE STRIKINGLY BEAUTIFUL YOUNG WOMAN NOW LENDS HER IMAGE TO G-STAR, ATTRACTED BY THE RAW, AUTHENTIC CHARACTER OF THE BRAND. HER SWEET VOICE COMMUNICATES A SENSE OF CALM AND A SOOTHING SERENITY; MODESTLY AND DEVOID OF ANY DISSONANCE, SHE SPEAKS OF HERSELF AS THE MOST NORMAL PERSON IN THE WORLD. A MEETING WITH AN ARTIST MOTIVATED ABOVE ALL ELSE BY PASSION
HOW DID YOU BEGIN YOUR CAREER?
I was very young… Still in school, I couldn’t have been more than fifteen or sixteen when I got my first contract. I was a model; I went to a few auditions and got a part pretty quickly. Everything happened so fast… My mother always said I’d be an actress: at home, I always dressed up and acted, sung, and danced. I was really dreaming of becoming a punk rock singer; I constantly listened to my mother’s albums. She was in a sort of punk band, in the 1980s…
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY FROM YOUR FILM CAREER?
I place most importance in the filming of a movie; what’s extraordinary isn’t the finished product, but the experience of making it. That’s where my favorite memories blend one into the next: sometimes they’re really simple moments shared with the group of people we’re working with. Each production has its bit of magic at these times; some are certainly more memorable than others, like Stealing Beauty with Bernardo Bertolucci. I remember having celebrated my eighteenth birthday on set; I had just graduated from high school, and it was the end of one period and the beginning of another. I also have fond memories from Cookie’s Fortune, done by Robert Altman in the South; we filmed in this tiny town in the middle of nowhere: Holly Springs, Mississipi. We lived in a sort of isolated little world, far removed from the rest of the universe. We didn’t have a trailer, and we filmed in town before returning to our houses two streets away for lunch or to take a shower and freshen up… I really enjoyed the experience there. Of course I can’t forget the intense moments when shooting blockbusters, like helicopter and plane rides, explosions; it’s all really impressive. But I guess I’m more attached to the simple, more intimate moments, those are what warm my heart.
WHAT’S MOSTLY ON YOUR MIND CONCERNING YOUR CAREER AS AN ACTRESS?
There are so many things! A lot of anxiety goes with the job; there’s this constant feeling of instability, never knowing what tomorrow will look like… The wait for a role that we’re passionate about. It’s always been that way, even in Shakespeare’s time, it’s an anxiety that’s inherent to the work.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH CELEBRITY?
I never really thought about it: I just go with the flow… I don’t know anything else, I grew up surrounded by a lot of stars whom I saw in their moments of glory and their low points. My own view is biased. I come from a second generation whose perspective is naturally different. I try to work it out so that my two worlds, public and private, are not incompatible, despite their huge differences. Each one is so extreme… I’ve always taken my childhood as a point of reference: I used to see my father and stepfather, Steven Tyler and Todd Rundgren, leave on tour or record an album, then come back home to pick up a perfectly normal life in the country. That’s why I’ve always alternated between periods of intense work, during which I’d film several movies, and periods of rest so that I’d have time to grow up, evolve, and think… Now the industry wants actors to move from role to role without a break, you’ve got to keep up a frantic pace dictated by the media. IS IT
HARDER TODAY TO KEEP YOUR PROFESSIONAL AND PRIVATE LIFE DISTINCT?
In some ways, yes… When I was a kid, I wasn’t followed around by paparazzi, and I didn’t receive any special treatment. That’s not how it is with my son: he has to get used to people taking photos of his slightest step, and it’s not an easy thing to do. When that kind of thing started for me, I remember getting really frightened… But now it seems like something ordinary; I just decided to act like they aren’t there. I don’t want to change my lifestyle because of them, and spend two hours doing my hair and makeup every morning before taking my son to school or going to the grocery. I really want to do these things like a normal person, as much as I can.
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR YOU?
That’s easy: my son. Being a mother and seeing him grow up and learn is quite simply the most beautiful and incredible miracle that I’ve ever known. We just spent a very fun summer together: after school let out, we left on a little world tour, starting in England. He’s four and a half years old now, and he loves castles, dragons, knights… It’s amazing to be in Europe and introduce him to these things, to see what they look like through his eyes. It’s such a great pleasure to answer his questions… I tried to show him The Lord of the Rings the other day: “So mommy was a real princess…”; he watched the beginning, but prefers movies suited to his age.
WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW?
My house is in New York: that’s where I feel most at home… But I rented a house in California a few months ago, and have gone back and forth quite often. I had never lived on the West Coast before and was really curious to experience life there. I feel like I have an adventurer’s soul, I really like to travel. I really like the idea of leaving one place for another as part of a change in your life.
IN YOUR OPINION, WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO VACATION?
Anywhere, as long as there aren’t many people, and a beach with a little hut. I spent an excellent vacation on Marlon Brando’s island in Tahiti. It’s a really strange place, tiny really… When I went there, we took a little boat to get to one of the little shacks on the water’s edge. It didn’t have hot water or electricity. After dinner, we got a little lantern and walked around the island; it made me think of Robinson Crusoe; it was really beautiful and relaxing.
WHAT’S YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FASHION?
I love fashion! I’m especially influenced by all that’s classic, certain people and powerful images from movies or photography books. It’s funny because I used to be a bit of a tomboy, but my body grew to be very feminine; it was a strange thing to understand at first. In everyday life, I like to feel comfortable in my clothes: I wear Converses, flat shoes, jeans… But when I have to dress up more formally, I always take on a new character and I really enjoy showing off my femininity. Though it’s really the essentially creative aspect of fashion that attracts me. There’s a lot of freedom; I’m fascinated by the artistic side of the process.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE BRAND G-STAR, WITH WHICH YOU’RE NOW WORKING?
Unique, strong, rock ‘n’ roll, comfortable, and cool. When they asked me to be a part of their campaign, I did some research right away and was surprised by the unity and richness of the universe they create around their products. I really like the raw aspect, which brings out something true, authentic.
WHAT’S ON YOUR IPOD RIGHT NOW?
Thousands of songs! I like listening to whole albums. The other day, I was listening to my favorite: Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones. I also love Band of Horses, MGMT… Music is very important for me. Unfortunately I don’t play; when I have time, I take guitar and piano lessons, but it’s not enough. I always wanted to play in a musical. My friend Evan Dando sometimes asks me to sing for him, and I’ve recorded a few little things with him.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO PRACTICE ANOTHER ART IN ADDITION TO FILM?
I love taking photos; I try to print them out and make albums and frames… I don’t really own any paintings, just a few pictures of deer and horses – I’m in love with them. I mostly collect pictures in black and white; I’m lucky because my parents have a lot of magnificent photos, of Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Iggy Pop… I’ve got a really beautiful photograph of Marilyn Monroe taken by Eve Arnold, and a few others that I like but aren’t necessarily of any value.
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE YOUR CAREER TAKE SHAPE?
I don’t have a set plan; I think about it a lot, I’m passionate about my job, but also about my private life. I go through periods where acting seems like a Herculean feat, because I have to enter another world, become a different person, which can be really difficult for my son. I don’t have a preference for either blockbusters or indie films, I just look for roles that I can get excited about. I always wanted to feel things fully. I never acted only to make money, which explains some of the rest periods. Getting involved on the production side of a film, why not… I’ve always felt concerned with the making of a film itself; as actors, we’re not on set only to recite our lines. You have to constantly invent your character and advance their world, their mindscape.
ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT A DIRECTING PROJECT?
Yes! But it’s a secret for now…