04-2004: Vegas Magazine


Romijn and the X-Men faithfuls (including Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry) certainly didn't disappoint the hordes of fans who made the first two movies into box-office hits, which together grossed nearly $400 million. "When we were doing the first one, we had no idea what we were making," she admits. "Most of us weren't familiar with the X-Men. But we all followed what the fan boards were saying on the Internet. It was so crazy. We totally felt the pressure. The fans are on those sites all day long debating casting choices, the wardrobe, the director, the tone and the look of the movie. Everybody has an opinion."

The consensus is that Romijn' all-blue portrayel of Mystique is kick-ass. And that underlying factor got her through the arduous makeup process, which took nine hours a day for the first movie. "On the second one, we were desperate to figure out how to make it better," Romijn says. "We got it down to six hours, which was a big difference. Six hours was still six hours of hell, frankly, but it was a lot better than nine. I remember going in for the makeup test for the second movie and as soon as they started opening all the bottles of paint and sillicone the smell hit me like a ton of bricks. Tears came to my eyes as I remembered the pain and agony of going through all that. But the final result was so beautiful. The costume is like a work of art."

Furthermore, Mystique's costume is also extremely delicate, which makes her fight scenes all the more difficult. "It's hard," she says of the action sequences. "It's very technical. When you watch the movie it looks easy and seamless. But the costume is fragile and it takes so long to set up each shot that it's not as fun as it looks. There's a lot of stopping and touching up. It's kind of a drag. But it's fun being a part of the whole thing."

However, it can't be all that grueling, since Romijn has already signed on for X-Men 3, which has a release date of 2006. "I keep secretly hoping that by then they'll be able to do it with CGI," she explains about her transformation into Mystique. "In the first one, I had to wear these giant yellow contact lenses. I had never put anything in my eyes before. They had this optometrist on set just to put these contacts in my eyes every day, which made me almost completely blind. It was a drag. They were really painful and gave me dry eye. On the second one, happily, they were able to do it in post-production."

But whether she is looking Smurflike or picture-perfect, fans still salivate over Romijn in all her movies. Her sexiest role to date was as a con artist in Brian De Palma's Femme Fatale, in which she shares a Sapphic interlude with her good friend Rasmussen. So do fans stop her all the time to thank her for that titillating moment? "You'd be surprised," she answers. "People want to talk about X-Men more than that sex scene."

Nevertheless, Romijn isn't worried about being typecast as a comic-book bombshell; she recognizes that this trend in filmmaking is here to stay. "The fact of the matter is that they're making so many of these movies now," she says, "it's hard to avoid them. Once you're in one successful franchise, you automatically end up getting scripts for the others. But I'm just grateful for the work. Work is work."

Romijn, is picky about the roles she chooses. "It's a case-by-case basis," she declares. "It depends on the material. When I see it, I know it. A lot of stuff that I read and love doesn't end up happening. And a lot of stuff that I read is crap. I've been very careful about saying no to anything that's boring, or to any of the pretty-girl roles. If I ever receive a script for the role of the supermodel, it goes right in the trash. To play a pretty girl is boring. I've been finding that the roles I respond most to are the pretty girls who are broken or flawed." Even her first full acting job, on NBC's Just Shoot Me, was playing a supermodel riddled with insecurities despite being drop-dead gorgeous. After all, Romijn' character, Adrienne, marries the show's nerd, portrayed winningly by David Spade. While her television debut came earlier with a cameo on Friends, Just Shoot Me opened the door to her acting ambition. "That was the happiest I'd been in my career so far," she recalls, "and I realized I wanted to move into the acting world. For the first time I was working where I lived and driving to work in the morning like a normal person. I wasn't on a plane every other day like I had been for eight years."

Truly, Romijn hit every corner of the globe as a supermodel in the '90s. The former music major at UC Santa Cruz dropped out of college and began modeling in Paris, Milan, New York and even Miami. "I started coming to Miami in 1991, when it was just starting to get built up," she says. "It was beautiful. I romanticize South Beach so much. The buildings are spectacular. And then it got so super high-gloss that for a little while I almost had to stay away. It was too much. I would get an anxiety attack if I had to walk down Ocean Drive. But I was just there a few days ago with a friend and it was fun. I love it. It really holds a special place for me."

Modeling became a launching pad for Romijn, as it did for her contemporary Charlize Theron, who recently received an Oscar for her work in Monster. "Many actresses used to be models," she acknowledges. "Charlize, Cameron Diaz, Anjelica Huston, Jessica Lange, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen and even Lauren Bacall. The difference for me is that I actually made a name for myself in modeling. I also know there is a huge failure rate with all of these models who have tried to act. I don't know what I did differently from them. I just feel very lucky and am having a great time."

She’s also enjoying being Mrs. John Stamos, a part she has played since September 1998. Actually, the couple is nearing the ten-year anniversary of their first date, which took place at Disneyland. "It was magical, spectacular and gorgeous," Romijn recalls. Happily married for five years, the couple lives on a ranch in the Santa Monica mountains with their two German shepherds, Landor and Bim. "Our marriage is separate from any public image that anybody may have," she explains. "It's very precious." The duo also spends as much time together as possible, which means that when Stamos, 40, appears on Broadway (where he recently starred in Nine), Romijn relocates to New York, too. "I was just there for fall and winter," she says. "I love New York and go all the time." Nevertheless, their different acting commitments do cause lengthy separations, which they try to limit to no more than three weeks. "It's hard when it's more than that," Romijn admits. "It's a balancing act." Luckily, she can catch her suave hubby on TV via Full House reruns or his ubiquitous phone ads.

While Romijn is relaxing before X-Men 3, Stamos is preparing for his upcoming (and as yet untitled) sitcom for ABC next fall. This summer (2004, RRF), they will take their annual white-water-rafting trip on the Kern River near Sequoia National Park, along with 30 fellow camping enthusiasts. They also have friends over on the weekends for barbecues and dance parties. But as for the pitter-patter of little feet, Romijn emphasizes that children aren't in their immediate future. "There are no plans for now," she says. Instead, she is focusing on renovating their house and staying in shape. "I try to do Pilates every morning, but I don't usually succeed," she says. "If I'm being really good I do it four days a week. And then I go hiking with my dogs after that. It's a workout but it's spiritual, too. I work on my lines if I have an audition, or I talk to myself or sing. It's good to be with my dogs." Afterwards, it's back home, where she refuels with a three-egg omelet with Swiss cheese and tomatoes. The sweet-toothed former model also admits to a chocolate and ice-cream addiction: Ben & Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Chunk is her current obsession. Romijn is also an avid music lover, who burns CDs for her friends and doesn't travel without her iPod in tow. "I'm so into iTunes and my iPod," she says. "All through the '80s with MTV, music was packaged and everyone was so concerned with the image of the band. Now with the whole iPod/iTunes thing, you're buying music without even knowing the image. And that's great. It has opened me up to so much different music that I would not have listened to before. I'm all over the place. One of my friends just got me into Sarah Brightman, of all people. This girl knows what she's doing and she does it well."

And although Romijn professes that she would like to try out musical theater one day, her true love is making movies. So how would she like to see her career evolve? "I've always really admired the actresses who combined sexy and funny, like Goldie Hawn, Lucille Ball or even Marilyn Monroe," she answers. Of course, none of those women had to endure nine hours of makeup for their craft. However, for this actress, the sacrifice is worth it-until filming on X-Men 3 starts and silicone is being slathered on her body at 3 a.m. But that's at least a year away, and for now Romijn is enjoying her life free of blue paint. "I'm taking a little break right now," she says. "I'm reading scripts and seeing what piques my interest."

Original article: Vegas Magazine 4/2004

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