LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Heather Graham may be best known for playing sexy bombshells in films like “Boogie Nights,” “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” and last year’s blockbuster comedy, “The Hangover.”
Now, the 40 year-old star has switched gears and is taking on children’s films.
Graham recently completed the family adventure movie, “The Flying Machine” to be released in 3D, and she is shooting “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer,” based on the “Judy Moody” children’s book series by author Megan McDonald.
In the film, Graham plays zany Aunt Opal, a well-traveled woman who babysits her niece and nephew, Judy and Stink, for the summer.
Taking a break on the set of “Judy Moody” in Hollywood, Graham sat down with Reuters to talk about working with kids, the children’s charity that started it all and her pet project for the future.
Q: You’re working on your second consecutive family film. Why that genre now?
A: “Recently I started sponsoring kids with an organization my friend founded called The Cambodian Children’s Fund. The kids always say, ‘You’re an actress; can we watch your films?’ I don’t think I should send them to ‘Hangover’ if you know what I mean. So now I feel I’ve done two things I could show them.”
Q: Is it a big change working with kids?
A: “Every day is a fun day. It reminds me of that feeling when I was a kid and wanted to be an actress.”
Q: Are you protective of your young co-stars?
A: “I definitely want this to be a good experience for them. I want them to have a healthy attitude about being in the film business. As a kid, it can be scary, and I want to be a positive influence and be supportive. It’s fun after a take to say, ‘Oh you did a great job!’ If it’s an adult (co-star), you wouldn’t necessarily go, ‘Great job!’”
Q: After the success of “The Hangover,” did you experience a surge in your career?
A: “Yeah. When I heard that (‘Judy Moody’ producer) Sarah Siegel-Magness, who produced (Oscar-nominated film) ‘Precious’ wanted to work with me, I was so flattered. But ‘Judy Moody’ is as different as you can get from ‘Precious.’”
Q: Will you be in the sequel to “The Hangover?”
A: “I am not. I know, it’s a bummer!”
Q: What’s next for you?
A: “I’m going to do a voice in an animated film, which I’ve always wanted to do. So it’s continuing along (the same lines of movies) that kids would like.”
Q: Is there a pet project you have?
A: “For 10 years, I’ve been working on getting a movie (off the ground) about the Triangle Factory Fire of 1911. I watched ‘New York: A Documentary Film’ by Ric Burns and how the incident sparked a massive revolution. I liked it as a story about how tragedy can bring about good things. Women’s voices weren’t getting heard, but after that, they were.”
Q: Did you relate to anything in particular in that?
A: “I felt like some part of me related to it. You feel at some point in your life that you’re an underdog and not being heard. You don’t know how to stand up for yourself. I feel like I learned how to stand up for myself.”
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte