By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—With a bestselling book about the female body and a new movie coming out, Cameron Diaz is on top of the world. The 41-year-old actress stars in the comedy “The Other Woman,” but don’t expect any catfights. This is strictly a female bonding movie, in which she and two other female characters plot revenge against the man that did them wrong.
Diaz, a native of Long Beach, Calif., says when she read the script by screenwriter Melissa K. Stack, she was sold. The actress co-stars in the Nick Cassavetes-directed comedy alongside Leslie Mann (“Knocked Up,” “This is 40”) and supermodel Kate Upton, making her acting debut. Diaz plays high-powered attorney Carly Whitten, who discovers Mark (“Game of Thrones” Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), her handsome boyfriend is married and living in the Connecticut suburbs with his wife, Kate (Mann), when she shows up one night at his house to surprise him. That’s when Carly decides to dump Mark, but instead of getting rid of the two-timer, she ends up gaining a new friend in his goofy but kind-hearted Kate. Together, the wronged women discover their guy has been seeing yet another woman, the beautiful and innocent Amber, whom they soon discover also has been lied to. That’s when the trio decides to exact revenge against Mark.
Diaz, with her shoulder-length blond hair framing her tanned face, spoke about her new movie, cheaters and her new book.
Q: What did you enjoy the most about working on this movie?
Diaz: I loved the story itself, and working with the girls was one of the best experiences because we had so much fun together. We laughed a lot on the film.
Q: This movie is ultimately about a friendship, and you have some strong female friendships. Is that one of the things that drew you to the script and this project?
Diaz: Absolutely. This was such a unique film. When Julie Yorn, my producer and friend, came to me with the idea for Melissa Stack, the screenwriter, to write the script, I said that it sounds like a great idea. There’s nothing like that out there. Usually, when it’s a story about three women all being involved with the same man, it usually ends with some eyeballs being scratched out and some wigs being snatched off. We decided that that wasn’t the story that we wanted to tell. We didn’t want it to be a story about revenge but about utilizing the commonality of the three of them having a relationship with the same man to be a catalyst to bring them together. Otherwise, these three women would not know each other. So it’s not only a story about friendship and how we support one another and are there for one another but it also shows how different these women are. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses that help them in their own way. They actually empower one another because of those strengths and weaknesses.
Q: This is your co-star Kate Upton’s first film. How was it working with her?
Diaz: She’s amazing. I’m so impressed with her. We didn’t know what to expect. But what we did see in making the choice for her to come and play with us is that her nature is very fearless, open and fun. So we thought, “Let’s give her a go.” We could not have been more pleasantly surprised. We got way more than we had bargained for. On the first day she spent half an hour doing full on improvisation, where she would hit back anything that was thrown at her. We were belly laughing. I think it’s because she has such a unique perspective. She is such a good girl. She knows herself so well. I don’t worry about her. She is not a pushover. Nothing gets by her.
Q: This movie reminds me of the 1980 comedy “9 to 5,” where Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin plotted revenge against their mean boss. Are you familiar with that movie?
Diaz: “9 to 5” is actually one of my favorite movies! I watched it a thousand times when I was a child, literally, a thousand times. My girlfriend had a VCR and she had four movies and that was one of them. We watched it constantly. That was something that I really loved about this movie. It was about the same thing. Three women that would never have come together except that they had this common cause. That’s really the feeling I wanted this movie to have. So, yeah, “9 to 5” was a huge influence for it.
Q: In the movie, you talk about soul mates. Do you think that there’s only one soul mate for life or at various times in your life do you have different soul mates?
Diaz: Friends can also be soul mates.
Q: There’s a scene in this where Leslie Mann tackles you. She’s much smaller than you so how many times did you have to shoot it?
Diaz: She’s strong. Her center of gravity is really low and I’m up here (she moves her hands towards her neck) teetering. Her torso is like all torque. I’m holding her, and then her legs wrap around on me, and one hand’s here and I pull it off and there’s another one here and I pull that off. It just became, basically, like sticky balls. You throw it and it sticks.
Q: Who would win though?
Diaz: It always got stopped before it went too far. It’s funny because there was no physical comedy scripted. We just started finding it in little places. She would basically hold onto me and I would writhe to get her off. I was like, “Why are you so strong?”
Q: Was there a point when you felt empathy towards Nikolaj’s character?
Q: What was it like working with the Nikolaj on this movie?
Diaz: Nikolaj plays one of the ugliest villains. (She laughs.) We had to create such a horrible guy for the movie so we took him as far as possible, as pathologic as possible. I really feel like Nikolaj did such an amazing job of bringing the fun to that character so that we could make the revenge look good and he look bad. We also appreciated that.
Q: This is a film about friendship but it’s also about cheating. Have any of you been cheated on and did you draw from personal experience?
Diaz: We’ve all gone through some kind of betrayal, whether it’s with a boyfriend or a friend or a family member. That’s why this is sort of relatable to everybody because we all know what it feels like to feel betrayal and heartbreak.
Q: You have a new book called “The Body Book.” What do think readers will get out of it?
Diaz: The book is a very comprehensive overview of the body. It’s about the body and to exclude a part of the body that is major for women especially and it’s important for men too, I feel. It’s not bad for you to know the anatomy of a woman. I don’t know why we shouldn’t talk about it. It’s our body and there’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s taboo maybe because there are people who are uncomfortable with it and they don’t know how to address it because they only think of it in one way, which is sexualizing it. But I wanted to show that our whole body … it’s a science. If you don’t understand it, you’re at risk with a lot of serious things. I don’t think there is any shame in that at all. The reason why I wrote the book is I don’t believe you can make those choices unless you’re informed.
Q: So this is a decision you made about your body?
Diaz: Yeah, I don’t deprive myself of anything. I just pay attention. The book also is about being conscious, being aware and being present in your choices and anticipating that you will making choices and you have choices; and what are those choices going to be? When are they coming? How can you give yourself the best options and being conscious of that? We do so many things in our lives just without even thinking about it.
Q: With this first-hand knowledge, is that why you don’t worry about getting older?
Diaz: It’s not that I don’t worry. I’m active and present in it and I’m accepting of it. I do the best that I can because I’m not able to stop the aging process or turn it back, so how am I going to be the strongest and most capable, and most vital person that I can be at this moment that I’m alive.
Q: “The Other Woman” explores female friendships. Drew Barrymore (with whom Diaz co-starred in the “Charlie’s Angels” movies) says you’re her best friend. What is it like for two celebrities when the cameras aren’t around?
Diaz: We’re just two human beings. (She laughs.)
Q: Drew is very pregnant…
Diaz: She’s very ready to have a baby. She said, “I’m sooo ready to have this baby!”
Q: Would you like that happiness for yourself?
Diaz: I already have it. I have my life. I have my family. I have the things that are real in my life.