News Australia Interview


Model turned actor Rebecca Romijn can't complain about rumours her schoolyard nickname was "Jolly Blonde Giant". She coined it herself just recently to relieve the monotony of a tedious round of media interviews. The drop-dead gorgeous 33-year-old with a Dutch-born father, who swapped Gilbert and Sullivan operettas for the catwalk, says the nickname is a fabrication. "When I was doing the promotional work for the X-Men I was getting so fed up with answering the same questions over and over again that I decided to make that fact up for a laugh," she says.

"Now everywhere where I go I hear this story about now I was called Jolly Blonde Giant at Berkeley High School and it makes me laugh a lot. "It just shows how silly all this type of thing can get, but, of course, sometimes the publicity can be hurtful. "When I was breaking up with my husband, John (Stamos of TV's Full House), my mum and dad were getting divorced at the same time and it was quite painful to see it all reported in the media." Romijn married the 43-year-old star of TV and stage and occasional drummer with The Beach Boys in 1998, and divorced in 2005.

While Romijn has had dramas in her life, the rising star is looking good on the big screen as she moves from action hero in the X-Men, starring man-of-the-moment Hugh Jackman, to playing opposite Ben Affleck in the comedy-drama Man About Town. "I actually started at university singing Gilbert and Sullivan and learning all those wonderful lyrics, but I didn't have any false expectations when I became a model," Romijn said. "I was restless to see the world and I used to sit in my dorm room, thinking, I just know I'm missing out on something. But I had no money. "A friend hooked me up with an agency and it happened very quickly. I moved to Paris, got a cover of French Elle, and stayed for 2½ years.

"All the girls used to talk about becoming an actress or a film star, but I didn't have any illusions. I was having a good time."
The Sports Illustrated favourite says she avoided all the traps of modelling – parties, drugs and excess – and got her first opportunity to strut her acting talents doing a walk-on part in a episode of TV's Friends. "Then I got a real chance to show what I could do when a real friend, Norm MacDonald, asked me to play a drunken lady on Saturday Night Live. "Whatever I was going to do I didn't want to be boring arm candy."

Romijn's striking features and firm body tones – she has a healthy dietary regime and does rigorous stretching and strengthening routines each day – made the new star a natural for the role of Mystique in X-Men. The role, which came from Jack Kirby's long-running comic book series featuring a swag of mutant superheroes, would demand that Romijn start each working day nude, while two female make-up artists applied blue body paint and other accessories. "It wasn't very pleasant, but there were compensations," she said. "One day the director suggested I have a glass of wine to help me relax and I got to meet Hugh Jackman and his lovely wife Deborra-lee Furness who have become firm friends. "Hugh is even nicer in real life than he is portrayed in the media. They are a wonderful couple."

In director Mick Binder's Man About Town, Romijn gets to play the bored wife of top Los Angeles agent Jack Giamoro (Affleck) who appears to have it all until his world comes crashing down. Romijn says working with Affleck was a laugh a minute and although the bored, cheating wife is one of the film's straighter characters she had her fair share of fun and a few comic turns.

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