Canoe Interview

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Stunning model-turned-actress Rebecca Romijn and bearded hunk Antonio Banderas were ready to play sex games yesterday at the Toronto International Film Festival. The co-stars of Brian De Palma's gala closing night thriller Femme Fatale turned the aftermath of their press conference into an X-rated romp for a minute -- just to play to a frenzy of excited shutterbugs, including pushy paparazzi scum as well as legitimate news photogs such as Alex Urosevic from The Sun.

After Urosevic urged the five-foot-11 Romijn and the playful Banderas to pose, the duo's sudden brief encounter made the banter between Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon at the filmfest earlier this week look downright modest. In his first move, Banderas swept Romijn off her feet into his arms like an exaggerated tango dance move. Then the two had their hands all over one another. At one point, the statuesque Romijn even grabbed Banderas by the cojones as his eyes popped open wide and he smiled. Not surprisingly, neither actor John Stamos, Romijn' husband of four years, nor actress Melanie Griffith, Banderas wife of six years, was in the room. The actual press conference, however, was tame, mostly serious and almost all about De Palma's movie. In the movie, though, there is also a lot of sex. Romijn has a hot lesbian encounter off the top and later tortures Banderas with a striptease that ends with the two making out on a pool table. "That is a hate scene and not a love scene," Banderas said of the pool-table sequence. "And, in fact, we were dressed up. I think the sexiest side of this movie is her, totally," Banderas added, gesturing to his co-star as she smiles demurely. Romijn said there was no trouble at home over her sex scenes: "My husband was fine with all this." "No, he wasn't!" Banderas interjected. Also discussed was the opening sequence, part of which took place on the steps of the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. The key plot point to get the thriller going is a jewel heist involving a fantastic gold body decoration encrusted with Chopard diamonds, which is being worn to a Cannes movie premiere. Part of the twist is that Romijn poses as a paparazzi photographer shooting the girl with the diamonds. It meant that Romijn had to be part of a staged paparazzi gathering. "I actually did have to spend a night on the red carpet with all those guys, during the festival: 500 paparazzi -- insane! At first I came down (saying): 'I'm your buddy, I'm one of you guys, take care of me.' They were instructed not to put film in their cameras but it's 500 paparazzi! They're not going to listen to instructions like that. While the makeup artists are touching up zits on my face, these guys are shooting everything. "Finally, I had to go and find a little hiding spot. Being on the red carpet for just five minutes is exhausting. Doing that for 12 hours was the most tiring, excruciating thing I've ever been through. So that was my paparazzi story." Looking at the overall movie, Romijn and Banderas said they did not understand the sexy, comic tone De Palma would create because so much of it was not in the script.

"I just listened to The Man," Romijn said. "That's all I could do, because the whole movie was in his head. Everything about this movie was purely his vision." "She is absolutely right," said Banderas. "Probably, since my time with Pedro Almodovar, I did not have that type of strong personality on my back telling me what to do. When you have a strong personality like that (as a director), you just stop thinking. You put yourself in the hands of the director. "I did that with Brian De Palma and I had a great time making this movie. I'm very happy with the results, actually. I think the movie's very daring. It's almost punk, which I love.

Seeing she bares her body in the comic thriller Femme Fatale, Rebecca Romijn agreed to bare a bit of her soul. "I find it almost impossible to be sexy on demand so I don't think I could ever be a lap dancer," said Romijn, causing a room full of reporters to raise their collective eyebrows. Given the authentic feel of her steamy sex scenes in Femme Fatale, Romijn is morphing into one incredible actress. In Femme Fatale, which opens Wednesday, Romijn plays Laure Ash, a double-crossing, back-stabbing, role-playing jewel thief. In the film's red-hot opening sequence, Laure seduces a sexy model in a washroom of one of the lavish cinemas at Cannes during the 2001 film festival. The model (Rie Rasmussen) is clothed in nothing but jeweled bra and panties that Laure removes during their lovemaking. Much later in the movie, Laure lap dances for a patron in a biker bar in Paris and then seduces a paparazzi photographer (Antonio Banderas) on a pool table.

"I absolutely love that Laure is unapologetically bad. She is totally in control of her sexuality and she uses it as a weapon,'' said Romijn, during a recent interview. "In many ways, Laure has the attributes that are usually given to male characters in these kind of movies." She insists her seduction scene with Banderas was the most difficult of the trio to film. "That was because Laure is the aggressor. Antonio's character just has to sort of lie there and let it all happen to him. It's such a role-reversal moment." The lap dance was tricky because, "I was basically alone on set with about 12 crew members watching with (director) Brian De Palma telling me to be as sexy as possible." She had worked with a choreographer but it was her husband, actor John Stamos, who proved most helpful. "I rehearsed for John. He was only too happy to help me. Afterwards he actually gave me notes and they were very insightful." As far as the girl-on-girl scene, as Romijn calls the opening of the film, it was not nearly as difficult to film or for her to watch as the other two sex scenes. "It helped that Rie, who plays the model, is one of my best friends. I brought her to the auditions." Romijn recalls that De Palma "kept bringing in these very young, sweet, pretty models. I felt they were so wrong because the character needed to have an edge to her and some maturity. "Fortunately Brian was immediately impressed with Rie. It's much easier to do a scene like that with a friend. Because every move is choreographed and planned, it felt no different to film than all the fight sequences in the movie." She says the end result is so sexy and convincing because "of all the editing that was done later. It definitely looks sexier on film than it was to shoot it." Her husband did not object to, complain or criticize the scene. "He knew better than to say anything. For the six months John was starring in Cabaret (on Broadway) he was pinching a host of female and male butts every night. "Ours is a very equal opportunity household." She is also quick to point out that she is never completely nude in Femme Fatale, "except for the brief shot when Laure sinks into the river and the cameras catch her descending. I thought the moment was essential to the film or I wouldn't have done it."

Original article: Canoe

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