celebrity interview: Samantha Mathis

In continuing efforts to bring more and more exciting features to this space, I recently conducted my first celebrity interview with actress Samantha Mathis:


I sat in the little bistro in Hollywood’s Fairfax district, sipping a Torani Lime soda and chewing gum. The gum was tasty and chewy, much like the subject of my first interview, Samantha Mathis. Mathis, aged 28 (?), has made a career of chewy and gum-like roles, in such diverse and critically misunderstood films as Pump Up the Volume, Super Mario Bros., and Broken Arrow. In all three she played a woman with a past, a present, and a future and from watching her you could really tell that – that she had a past, a present, and a future, all at the same time.

Ms. Mathis strolls in 3 minutes late and sits down without apologizing.

Samantha Mathis: Hi. I’m Samantha. You found it OK?
ME: You’re late.
SM: Oh. Sorry.
ME: That’s OK.

Samantha orders a Chicken Caesar Salad and a Diet Coke. I order another free roll and a Torani – this time Hazelnut.

ME: I’ve enjoyed your work over the years and find you to always imbue your characterizations with a past, present, and future.
SM: Oh, that’s so true, you really have to create everything in order to come away with a full human being on screen.
ME: Like your character in Super Mario-
SM: Exactly!
ME: I wasn’t finished.
SM: Sorry.
ME: Super Mario Brothers.
ME: I’m done now.
SM: Oh. Yes. It was so great to work on that film. I researched that film by going back and playing all the video games with Mario in it.
ME: Like Donkey Kong.
SM: Yes! And Mario Brothers. And all those… It was very helpful.
ME: And how was it working with Mario?
SM: Um, oh, Bob Hoskins is such a professional. So sweet and-
ME: Who’s Bob Hopkings? I meant Mario.
SM: Bob Hoskins played Mario.
ME: Hm.
SM: The guy from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
ME: Oh. That guy. Yeah, he sucks. That Mexican guy was funny though.
SM: John Leguizamo.
ME: Bless you. (We both laugh for one minute.) I thought your role in The Music of Chance, as the hooker really showed off your range.
SM: Thank you. James Spader was wonderful to work with.
ME: What was it like working with James Spader.
SM: Um, wonderful.
ME: He had a mustache in that, and a stupid accent.
SM: Yes he did. And Chris Penn was wonderful to work with also.
ME: Too bad it wasn’t Sean Penn.
SM: Yeah. That’s how I felt too.

Samantha Mathis’ cell phone rings, and she spends the next 2 minutes saying "No" and "Never" and "Please stop calling" over and over before hanging up.

ME: Who was that?
SM: D.B.
ME: Who?
SM: D.B. Sweeney. We’re working on a television show together called "Harsh Realm" and-
ME: How is it?
SM: Off the record?
ME: Totally.
SM: Sucks. Anyway, D.B. really wants me to be in The Cutting Edge 2 with him. With the ice skating.
ME: Sure.
SM: Moira Kelly refuses to do it and he thinks I’d be right for it. So I’m like, D.B., no. You know?
ME: Speaking of D.B. Sweeney, is it true you sleep with all your male co-stars?
SM: Where did you hear that?
ME: Some dude. Is it true?
SM: No. Of course not. See, that’s exactly the type of vicious rumors the press is constantly spreading about me.
ME: John Leguizamo. You do him?
SM: Um, yes, but-
ME: Christian Slater?
SM: Well, yeah.
ME: River Phoenix.
SM: Yes.
ME: Christian Bale? Eric Stoltz?
SM: Yes. Yes.
ME: So you actually do sleep with all your male co-stars.
SM: I never slept with Keanu Reeves.
ME: (I stare at her.)
SM: OK. Good point.
ME: How do you feel about nudity in film?
SM: Well, I feel that if it’s done tastefully it’s OK. But it has to be an integral part of the story, not just gratuitously done for titillation’s sake.
ME: So when you took your shirt off in front of Christian Slater and showed him your titties out by the barbecue in Pump Up The Volume, it was an integral part of the story?
SM: Uh.
ME: Because it showed how you knew that he was actually the pirate radio personality Hard Harry and if you could show yourself naked and free to this shy young man, he might be able to reveal his soul to you?
SM: Exactly.
ME: I loved you in Carlito’s Way.
SM: That was Penelope Ann Miller. Why are you eating my salad?
ME: Let’s move on. What’s next for Samantha Mathis?
SM: I just finished doing a play at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles with Linda Lavin.
ME: Alice?
SM: Hmmmm?
ME: Linda Lavin. She was on Alice, right?
SM: Uh, yes. That’s right. She’s a very accomplished New York stage actress as well.
ME: Kiss my grits.
SM: What?
ME: That’s what Flo used to say. "Mel, kiss my grits."
SM: Yes.
ME: Remember? Mel would say something insulting and Flo would be all, "Kiss my grits". All chewing gum and shit.
SM: Right.
ME: So what were you saying?
SM: The play. With Linda Lavin.
ME: Alice, right. Cool. So what’s next, a juggling act with Kirk Cameron?
SM: I’d love to work with Kirk. He’s a great friend and a fine actor.
ME: Yeah right. Like you’re friends with Kirk Cameron.
SM: Well, we met at a party once.
ME: Just what I thought. So, what else?
SM: Um. I’m doing American Psycho with Christian Bale.
ME: Again with the Christian Bale. Will you be sleeping with him again?
SM: What magazine is this for again?
ME: It’s for my online journal.

At this point we run out of time.

Samantha Mathis. Actress. Lover. Friend to Kirk Cameron. And apparently not the same person as Penelope Ann Miller.

This is where I let Larry King take over my body for a few minutes.

Larry is too afraid of the Blair Witch to write.

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