Playboy: A prominent movie critic called your role as Mystique, the shapeshifting blue mutant in the X Men movies, "the best piece of supermodel casting of all time." Can you top that in the upcoming X Men: The Last Stand? Rebecca Romijn: All I can say is I get even more physical this time. In one scene Mystique is handcuffed in a prison cell, and the only way for her to get out is to strangle a security guard, steal the keys and unlock the handcuffs all with her toes. If nothing else, my feet will get great reviews.
Playboy: Mystique's blue skin is the sexiest thing to happen to comic book fans since Wonder Woman's golden bra. What can you do when you're blue that you can't do when you're you?
Rebecca: Absolutely nothing. I leave tracks everywhere I go. And I'm talking toilet seats, doors, phones. It's very challenging, actually, both physically and psychologically. It takes hours to put on the prosthetics and paint, and it's very claustrophobic. And the costume is really fragile. It's constantly falling apart, so there are always four or five people working on me. It's truly like wearing a piece of art, but I'll tell I like to think of her as a cross between you, after a couple of hours like that, Mary Tyler Moore and jack Tripper. I'm screaming, "Get me outta here!"
Playboy: Did you ever go to, say, a 7 Eleven dressed as Mystique?
Rebecca: No way. Even if they let me outside which they don't because the studio is so secretive about these movies I couldn't move very much. I did freak out my poodle this one time. He usually loves everyone. He's a bit of a slut, actually. But he wanted nothing to do with me when I was dressed as Mystique. I didn't look right to him. I didn't smell right. In fact, the only way I could convince him it was me under there was to breathe right into his muzzle.
Playboy: Will you be nuzzling animals on your comedy series, Pepper Dennis?
Rebecca: I play an ambitious reporter who wants to be an anchor, so she's willing to do anything. Her first mistake is having a one night stand with this hot guy. She realizes too late that he's the new anchorman. Pepper's constantly getting into humiliating situations she has to talk her way out of. I like to think of her as a cross between Mary Tyler Moore and Jack Tripper.
Playboy: A cameraman on the show has an unrequited crush on your character. What was your stickiest on the job romance?
Rebecca: Back when I was modeling, I worked with a male model who was plucked out of obscurity by a famous photographer to do a shoot for a jeans campaign. We were shooting in a parking lot somewhere in New York City, and the photographer had us literally making out on the ground, in the gravel, which was already very uncomfortable, and this guy wasn't even a real model. Anyway, we're really going at it, and suddenly the photographer says, "Hold it right there." The model guy's face is up against my ear, and I hear this raspy little voice say, "I love you. I know this is just another job for you, but I love you. I really love you." Okaaay.
Playboy: You played David Schwimmer's girlfriend on Friends and David Spade's wife on Just Shoot Me. What's with you and the goofballs?
Rebecca: That's your word, not mine. I just like regular, smart, funny guys. What am I supposed to do? If I strutted around thinking I was the most fabulous person in the world, that would make me a crazy person. Maybe it was growing up in Berkeley in the 1970s, but I never got to skate by on my looks. I had to pony up like everyone else. That's been really good. It forced me to be a normal person who gets along with normal people and has normal interests.
Playboy: So that explains your "normal" obsession with fountain choreography. Your new documentary, Wet Dreams, is about fulfilling your desire to program the fountains outside the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Why fountains?
Rebecca: It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life, actually. The fountains are so beautiful to watch. I could sit out there with a glass of wine and watch them for hours. My filmmaker friend and I decided to see how far we could take this. We didn't get a response at first, but then I went on The Tonight Show and begged the guy at the Bellagio to call me back. That did the trick. We set up a tent by the lake and spent 10 days dancing around pretending we were fountains. At one point they let us swim in the fountain, in the center ring, with the water pouring down.
Playboy: What song did you pick?
Rebecca: We used Ennio Morricone's "The Ecstasy of Gold" from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. And now the hotel has our fountain sequence in permanent rotation, so you can watch it three or four times a day
Playboy: Speaking of getting all wet, there's talk about a nude shower scene you did in Rollerball that ended up on the cutting room floor. We were disappointed. Were you?
Rebecca: It was a steam room, actually, but I don't want to get into it because I don't want to ruffle any feathers. They did something in postproduction that was kind of naughty, and I got very upset. Someone added, um...
Playboy: You can tell us. We're very discreet.
Rebecca: Well, there's a shot of me walking across the steam room. I was wearing pasties, and it was foggy, so you weren't supposed to see anything. But then in an early cut of the movie, I saw that someone had CGI'd nipples onto me. I was like, "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no." So unless there's something floating around that I don't know about, I think I won that nipple battle.
Playboy: You're engaged to actor Jerry O'Connell. When did you realize he played the nerdy fat kid in Stand by Me?
Rebecca: I always loved that movie. I think I was 11 when it came out, and my friends and I would quote it and sing that "Lollipop" song. But when Jerry and I started dating, I hadn't seen it in a while. After about three months I snuck a peek. It was just so funny to me. He's really good in it, but never in a million years did I think this guy would become my husband. I mean, honestly, River Phoenix was the one my girlfriends and I all talked about. But no, I ended up with good old Vern.
Playboy: Now that you're engaged, how do you deal with guys hitting on you?
Rebecca: It almost never happens. I've never been that girl. Maybe it's because I don't go to the right places. I mean, I'm not much of a nightclub or meat market person. I like to believe that men find me attractive, but for some reason I don't provoke that sort of reaction.
Playboy: How did O'Connell make his move?
Rebecca: We were at a party in Vegas. This was right before we started shooting the documentary. Jerry overheard me talking about it and asked if he could be the boom operator. He asked, "Can I boom?" And I was like, "Sure." He said, "I've boomed before. I've boomed my friend's student films. I'd love to boom." I said, "Okay. Welcome aboard."
Playboy: Getting back to your California upbringing, were you a typical Berkeley kid? You know, Birkenstocks, smoking pot with Mom and Dad, that sort of thing?
Rebecca: Berkeley in the 1970s was kind of a crazy place to grow up. Fun, really fun. But my parents weren't hippies. I mean, yes, my mom does have a giant amethyst in her living room, but my friends' parents were the anti-establishment types. I remember seeing them smoking pot and stuff, and their interests were unusual. My friend's mom was an artist, and she made incredible paintings out of found objects. For years I'd go over and see bags, jars and boxes full of different colored lint she had collected from the dryer and used in her paintings. The cool thing about Berkeley moms is you can laugh at them and they take it pretty well. I'd like to think I'm the same way.
Playboy: What was the stupidest gig you had during your modeling years?
Romijn: I once went to Greenland in the middle of summer, when the sun never sets there. Every night around 11 P.m., the Eskimos would take us out on boats, and our photographer would make us climb up icebergs to shoot us on top. The problem was, because it was July, the warmest time of the year, pieces of iceberg were crashing into the water. Every half hour or so-kerplunk. It was so dangerous the Eskimos weren't getting out of their boats. The pictures were absolutely beautiful, but my mother almost killed me when I told her about it.
Playboy: You don't see too many supermodels up there. What did the locals make of you?
Rebecca: Honestly, I don't think they could make heads or tails of anything. None of them was 100 percent, because they were drinking heavily around the clock, and with all the roads to town frozen over I sensed some inbreeding, which probably explains the TV situation. The hotel had only two channels. One of them had a really bad Arnold Schwarzenegger movie playing, on a continuous loop. The other was 24 hour porn. Let me tell you, when you're in a place like that for nine days, entertainment of that caliber can get very tedious.
Playboy: Fans on the Internet were buzzing about the possibility of your X-Men character spinning off a sequel. Will we ever see a Mystique movie?
Rebecca: I think the limitations of the costume might prevent that from happening, but it would be fun because the character is so fun and there are so many different ways you could do it. I mean, the possibilities are endless when you're a metamorph.
Playboy: X Men fans are notoriously geeky. Do you ever get cornered and asked insider comic book questions about, say, Mystique's supposed involvement in the third incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants?
Rebecca: There's a tremendous amount of pressure when you do a movie like X-Men, because you've got characters that people have been waiting their entire lives to see come to life. And yes, there are those guys. But they're the people we're thinking about when we're making choices and taking liberties with these characters. You have to be extremely careful because you don't want to disappoint the fans. Luckily I think they have been pretty happy with the outcome. From my perspective it's nothing but love.
Playboy: Your Malibu house was once a bordello. Does that mean your ghosts have gonorrhea?
Rebecca: Well, the place definitely has a Wild West past. When I found it, the first floor had five tiny bedrooms with attached bedrooms, so who knows what went on there. I gutted them because they were so gross. Now it's just the cutest sexiest little house. But every once in a while some random person will come up to me and say he's partied there. I was in France once and this guy - a total stranger - said, "Oh my God. I spent an entire night in your fireplace."
Playboy: When you plug your name into Google's image search, around 20,000 pictures of you come up. Does it creep you out knowing that kids in Ulaan Baatar may be gawking at you?
Rebecca: I try not to think about it too much. People can get weird sometimes. Back when I used to read fan letters, I got a series from someone - and I can't believe I'm saying this - who would write pages about my "luscious melons": "Dearest Rebecca, I love you. I think you are beautiful. When you wear that red bikini, your luscious melons look fantastic. I would like to see your luscious melons in a pink lace bra. Or maybe I would like to see your luscious melons in a black bathing suit. I would also like to see your luscious melons.... "I'm not kidding. Four pages. Four! Can you believe it?
Original article: Playboy 05/2006