02-14-2006: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition 2006

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"It was great to see Rebecca Romijn and Rachel Hunter," says Elle Macpherson, one of eight models who grace the all-star cover of the 2006 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. It arrives on newsstands Tuesday (02-14-2006, RRF). "It was like a big family, since so many of us brought our kids. We all went surfing. It was so relaxed and easy," says Macpherson, who was calling while en route from Colorado to Austria for a family ski trip. (Related poll: Vote for your favorite SI cover model)

With the cover shot last summer by fashion photographer Raphael Mazzucco in the Bahamas, the issue kicks off the countdown to skin-baring summer. For Macpherson, 42, who holds the record for the most SI covers (five), it was a throwback to her modeling gigs. "It has been a long time since I modeled swimsuits," she says with a laugh. These days, it's more about running her lingerie and makeup businesses and raising two sons, ages 8 and 3. Any catfights? "We shot it quickly and with joy and grace," she says. "It was over in 15 or 20 minutes."

Original article: USAToday.com

SI.com: You play the title role in the new TV show Pepper Dennis, which is scheduled to premiere in the spring. What's the premise?
Rebecca Romijn: They call it a light-hearted drama, but I'd say it's funnier than that. Of course, that's just my opinion! I play a very ambitious Chicago television reporter who wants to be anchor, who's struggling to juggle her career with her love life and her family. She has this very annoying sister -- played by Brooke Burns -- who divorces her husband and moves in with her. In the pilot episode, Pepper has a one-night stand with this hot guy. It turns out that he's just nabbed the anchor position that she wanted. She goes in the next day, and he's her new boss, which infuriates her. There's all sorts of Moonlighting-style sexual tension between those two characters. It's a funny cast of characters. Chick the cameraman has a crush on Pepper. He's played by [Boy Meets World's] Rider Strong.

SI.com: How'd you get in character?
Rebecca Romijn: I really love watching local news reports. Sure, I can watch CNN and those glamour pusses, but that's national, seamless, gorgeous television. Local news is always a little bit bumpier, and they make the reporters do really stupid things. I was watching Good Day L.A. a few weeks ago, and they had one do her news report from a moving rollercoaster -- three times! Every hour on the hour. She's screaming and trying to talk, freaking out. I called the writers for the show literally right afterwards, and I'm like, "You're not going to believe what I just saw this poor girl do." They're like, "Oh, Pepper will be doing a report from a moving rollercoaster any episode now." They'll be humiliating me week after week.

SI.com: Have you gotten used to 15-hour days on set?
Rebecca Romijn: Last Tuesday was my first day. It is kicking my butt. I've never worked so hard in my life, but I'm still smiling. Unlike shooting films, where, for example, on the X-Men movies it can sometimes take two weeks to shoot one scene, I know when I get up in the morning that I'm going to be accomplishing a lot by lunchtime. We shoot ten to twelve pages a day. It's exciting, and I'd rather it be this pace than the opposite. I like the momentum.

SI.com: Your film career has progressed pretty rapidly from your first role, playing the "Bearded Lady" in the 1998 Norm MacDonald film Dirty Work. You star in the upcoming Man About Town with Ben Affleck. What can we expect?
Rebecca Romijn: I've really been lucky to work alongside people like Ian McKellen or Robert DeNiro or even Ben -- as sweet and nutty as he is. He's a total prankster, loves to have fun. He likes to expose himself sometimes (laughs). It's his favorite thing to do. He did it a few times, but from what I understand I'm sure it's not the first time he's done it on set!

Man About Town was written and directed by Mike Binder, who did The Upside of Anger, which I thought was a really good movie. Joan Allen and Kevin Costner were so fantastic. He's a really good writer, and, as it turns out, a really good director, too. He wrote this part for Ben, who plays a [Hollywood] super agent who is going through a mid-life crisis and takes a journal-writing course, led by John Cleese, to find himself. I play his cheating wife, who he's kicked out. His journal is stolen by a reporter who is going to do a big expose on him. I have to go track down his journal to get back in his good graces, because I'm trying to get him to forgive me.

SI.com: What can you divulge about your role as Mystique in X-Men 3?
Rebecca Romijn: It's coming out May 26, but I'm not allowed to reveal anything! I'd say it's the most exciting script out of all three. Mystique is a really cool character, and it's such an honor to play this beloved supervillain. All these X-Men fans have been waiting their whole lives for these characters to be brought to life, and you want to make them happy. You don't want to get it wrong -- the pressure's on, and we feel it. But I feel the love. Fans stop me all the time. One of the gaffers on Pepper Dennis said to me, "I don't understand -- my friends and I, we've all read the X-men comic books our whole lives, and Mystique wore a perfectly nice dress in the comic books. Why didn't they stick with that?" I said, "First of all, as a metamorph, clothing sort of gets in the way. And second of all -- and more importantly, sir! -- why are you complaining? You have a naked blue girl in the movie! Why are you and your friends so upset about that? Let me talk to them!"

SI.com: Speaking of that naked blue girl, we've heard a lot about how long it takes make-up artists each day to put the costume on you. My question is, how long does it take to get it off?
Rebecca Romijn: Well, seventy percent of my body is covered in these strategically placed silicone prosthetics. I know that the effect is that I'm nude, but I'm not -- and I know I'm not because I spend seven hours a day getting these things put on my body. Taking it off is like removing these giant band-aids. It's painful. The women who help me with the costume always try to be really gentle -- "I'm going to pull this off really slowly" -- and every single hair on my body is stuck inside this thing. It takes about an hour and a half, but my attitude is that I'm getting paid to have blue stuff put all over me and taken off, and the acting is free.

SI.com: Can I presume that only women may apply for that gig?
Rebecca Romijn: Um, yes. Absolutely. The same four that have done it since the first one, actually!

SI.com: Moving to your previous career as an SI swimsuit model, what was your most memorable swimsuit shoot?
Rebecca Romijn: They're always the most amazing trips to the most beautiful places I've ever been, and they're always really fun. The Kalahari Desert was spectacular, and it was really hot when we shot there. I think it was like 120 degrees during the day, so we would have to shoot as early as possible and be finished by 8 a.m. because it was literally 100 degrees already. I would never have gone on my own in a million years. It looks like you're on a different planet.

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