News Australia Interview


Rebecca Romijn shines in her latest role as a mother who takes desperate measures to bring her son back to life. The name Robert De Niro, despite his inconsistent role selections, is enough to get any film the green light. So what of the actor who is on board before De Niro signs up? That's some validation. So it was for Rebecca Romijn, who was the first star chosen for the thriller, Godsend. Only then did De Niro and Greg Kinnear jump on board as co-stars.

After only a few years in the acting caper, former model Romijn can say De Niro wanted to work with her. She laughs, embarrassed. "Well, you'd have to ask him that." Chances are the'70s icon would have wanted to work with Romijn, who in a whirlwind introduction to Hollywood has landed in the third biggest action franchise going around - the X-Men series.

She's done this after surviving a few duds - Rollerball, The Punisher and Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale - and shedding the stigma of sitcom training on Just Shoot Me. And did we mention Romijn has become one of the few model-actors to actually make it as an actor? A recent rash of magazine covers suggests she's even a movie star.

"Well, you know, I don't like labels," she giggles. "I like to stay away from labels, they corner you." And she won't be hemmed in by the modelling label anymore. That profession's long gone. "That's been going on for a few years and if I stop getting jobs in this world I'll have to move on to another world."

Another label she might shed soon is the Stamos part of her surname. News of the 31-year-old's separation from her husband of five years, John Stamos, broke on the day of Godsend's US premiere. A tough break considering she plays a parent, opposite Kinnear, in the thriller. "I'm more playing the grieving mother desperate not to lose her kid again, so for me the work came in trying to figure out what it would be like to be a mom, because I'm not one," she says. "I really bonded with Cameron Bright, who played my son. He still sends me Mother's Day e-mails and we had a really nice time."

Now, the American is beginning to act. Godsend is very much a three-hander in which the leads all get to chew up the screen. Obviously that was the big attraction for Romijn, who had been confined to more frivolous films thus far.

"It was playing a character I hadn't played before, completely different, completely anti-glam, because everything I had done before was over-stylised and way too much makeup," she admits. "So it was an opportunity to go in and play a normal woman who didn't have to sit in the make-up chair for more than five minutes and I love the genre. I love horror movies, scary movies and then these guys (De Niro and Kinnear) came on board and it was like 'Whoa!'. Like all of a sudden my fantasies were being revealed."

Nevertheless, Romijn concedes the X-Men films and Rollerball were perfect vehicles in which to begin a career because she was so new to the business. "In those movies there's so much CGI and lighting and technical stuff that responsibility didn't rest on my shoulders," she says. "So it gave me the opportunity to sit back and learn the ropes without being stressed out about my performance too much. "And now I'm looking for different things, things I haven't done before. It's really exciting to leave the X2 set and walk onto the Godsend set where all of a sudden I'm playing a mom and spending five minutes in the make-up chair, which is great."

A film about the cloning of a dead son isn't a surefire bet though. Romijn agrees. "It's only a movie. I don't think it really addresses the ethical question of cloning," she says. "It's certainly not a perfect science and certainly something I would only consider if my dog was dying or something, but I still wouldn't do it. "It's a horror movie, it's not so based in reality.

"We were calling it science fiction, sci-fi, then all of a sudden in the middle of (filming) this weird Canadian group, the Raelians, said they'd actually cloned someone. So we were like, 'Is this still sci-fi or just 'fi?'."

Not that she'll be leaving the sci-fi genre soon, although moving from the monstrous set of X-Men 2 to the more contained Godsend was a "cleansing" experience. "I literally still had blue paint under my fingernails and soles of my feet," she says. Yes, the blue paint. Romijn-Stamos sounds almost traumatised by the blue body paint which she had to don, among other things, to inhabit the character of Mystique in the X-Men films. Not that she likes to complain but, "Do you know how much time I've spent in make-up chairs?" "It is traumatising. Going to work at midnight to be ready to work at 9am, it's traumatising," Romijn says.

Yet she realises frolicking with Hugh Jackman, Anna Paquin, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart is just too good an opportunity to deny, make-up or not. She confirms she'll return as Mystique in X-Men 3. "I know because I signed on for a third, beginning in May, is what I heard," she says.

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