In this month's part live action, part animated feature Enchanted, Amy Adams earns her tiara as Disney’s most complex princess yet. But as much as we respect the living doll’s 2005 Oscar nomination for Junebug and breakthrough performance in Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, we’re still enchanted by her earlier efforts, such as Drop Dead Gorgeous, Psycho Beach Party and Cruel Intentions 2.
By Brandon Voss
The Advocate: Before this interview, did you know that you had a big gay following?
Amy Adams: I didn’t. But I know that I was in a gay bar in New York recently, and I was recognized more than ever in my life — that was my first indication. My roles were a little more campy at the beginning, and they appreciate camp.
Do you have any close gay friends?
I used to work in musical theater in Minnesota, so I had tons of gay friends. But I actually don’t now, which is sad. My boyfriend often tells me that I need one, because I’m always asking him about how I look and what to wear. He says, “You just desperately need a gay boyfriend.”
So he’s not metrosexual?
He has a healthy dose of it, but when it comes to female fashion, he’s a pretty typical male: If it’s tight and shows all the right things, then it’s good.
In Enchanted, your Giselle is the first Disney princess since Belle to have her singing and talking voiced by the same actress. Was that intimidating?
I was a bit nervous because I haven’t been training as a singer since I’ve been in Los Angeles, so I went back into classes and worked really hard for a couple of months to make sure that [Enchanted composers] Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz would let me sing.
Did the film fulfill any childhood princess fantasies of yours?
Yeah, I think they’re all out of my system. It more fulfilled a fantasy of running around singing in Central Park. It totally sated the musical theater geek inside of me.
Would you like to return to your musical theater roots?
Absolutely. My initial goal in life was to do Broadway. But I’m grossly inappropriate for all of my dream roles. I want to play, like, Aldonza in Man of La Mancha and Elphaba in Wicked, and I’m so ill-suited for both. I’d sound like Little Orphan Annie singing “Defying Gravity.”
Speaking of Elphabas, did you and costar Idina Menzel have any sing-offs on set?
I can’t tell you how many times I would go up to her and say, [the Wicked lyric] “I hope you’re happy.” And she’d be like, “Amy, it’s just not gonna happen.” But I did get her to sing with me one late night as we were shooting. I started egging her on, and she laughed at me and said, “You’re just so earnest, Amy.” I said, “Well, I’m never going to be able to perform with you on stage in Wicked, so this is my only chance to sing ‘Defying Gravity’ with you, Idina. You gotta throw me a bone.” And she did.
What are your official responsibilities as a Disney princess? Is it like Miss America?
Well, I’ve not been given a pamphlet yet, but I’m sure it’s coming. When I took the role, I didn’t really understand that they were going to make her a “princess” princess in the Disney fashion, so that’s been a bit of a surprise to me.
Have you played with your Giselle doll?
No, it’s still in the box, and I gave it to my mom to take home. She was visiting when we saw it at Ralphs, when I bought it with my dinner -- super glamorous, right? And my mom, of course, is trying to indicate to the cashier that I’m on the box, trying to be subtle. I’m like, “Mom, just let her ring the doll up.”
Can you imagine what trouble Giselle could’ve gotten into had Disney not been attached to the film?
Well, Disney is, so I’m not allowed to say — I’m pretty sure that’s part of the deal. [Laughs] There were previous scripts where she got hooked up with some raunchy strippers and was dressing really inappropriately, but that incarnation was vetoed.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how McDreamy was your onscreen love interest Patrick Dempsey?
Oh, he’s off the charts.
Were you a fan of his early work like Can’t Buy Me Love and Loverboy?
Are you kidding me? I was forever scarred. To this day, my preference is curly-haired boys with blue eyes. I just can’t help it.
What’s your favorite memory from the Drop Dead Gorgeous set?
I punched Kristen Dunst in the arm because she was being snarky. She had a wicked sense of humor, and she had offended the Minnesota folk one too many times for my liking, so I punched her. I think she was a bit surprised. It was good-natured, though. It wasn’t a true punch, because I could’ve disabled her.
At the end of the film, your promiscuous cheerleader contestant Leslie Miller is said to have gone missing, last seen exotic dancing in the Philippines. What happened to her?
I think she hooked up with a wealthy Filipino man and she’s fat somewhere. She never let anything get her down for too long, so wherever she is, she’s happy as can be. That movie opened up all the doors here for me, and I was so happy with it, but I got pretty self-conscious after I saw it because she’s so far away from my personality — I was afraid of the association. I’d never worked in film before, so I hadn’t thought that a lot of people were going to see it. It was such an abstract concept to me.
If you entered a pageant, what would be your special talent?
This sounds so dumb, but I’ve actually done this. My nose has a little point on it — I’m sure you’re familiar with that — and it’s actually the same size as my ring finger, so I can balance a size 5 ring on my nose.
Originally planned as a spin-off TV series, Cruel Intentions 2 went straight to video in 2000 amid much controversy. What was going through your head while filming that infamous scene in which your character Kathryn encourages a girl to masturbate on a horse?
I wasn’t thinking. I was just doing my job. I never thought of anyone watching it or the impact it would have on people. I know that sounds so naïve, but I was. I got that part a few weeks after moving to Los Angeles. I came from dinner theater in Minnesota to working on a major network television show, and I didn’t truly understand what that meant. I thought we were just being silly! Then it got all these parent advocacy groups against the show, and that’s ultimately why the show didn’t air. I was really bummed, but then I got used to the idea and thought, “Well, that was probably for the best.”
You never get to play bitches like that anymore.
I know. When I first came to Los Angeles, I was the go-to bitch. I mean, if you needed a slutty bitch, I was her. Now it’s quite the opposite. Oh, that’s nice language, huh? Sorry!
Speaking of risky career moves, can you imagine how much America would’ve hated you had your purse-peddling character Katy stolen Jim from Pam on The Office?
It was never going to happen. Bless her heart, they just weren’t a good match. Now, if Roy and Katy got together, that I’d believe. That was the best work experience. I loved that show and that cast so much. I don’t know if they believe me, but every time I see them I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I’ll do anything to come back. Maybe she’s selling something else now!” They’re like, “Yeah, Amy, sure.”
You were also memorable as Debra Messing’s sister in The Wedding Date. Which qualities would you choose for your perfect male escort?
Ooh, handsome. I’m not vain, but if I’m choosing... And funny and charming. Money doesn’t impress me.
Well, aren’t you the one paying for an escort?
Exactly. But money never impresses me. I’m much more impressed with kindness. It sounds hokey, but it’s true. Like, if somebody’s rude to a waiter, I’m so uncomfortable that I don’t care how much money you have. There’s no recovering after inappropriate rudeness.
Do you think Ann-Margret ever saw your homage to her in 2000’s Psycho Beach Party?
One can dream. But she’d probably be like, “That girl’s doing a poor imitation!”
We all know what they say about blondes, but do redheads really have more fun?
I love being a redhead. It’s all about public perception. I have a really upbeat personality, and as a blonde, people are like, “Oh, there’s Amy, that dingy blonde.” But as a redhead, words like “dingy” get changed to “quirky,” and words like “hyper” become “spitfire.” The way people interpret me as a redhead is much truer to my personality than how I was interpreted as a blonde.
Who’s been your most distractingly handsome leading man?
That’s so unfair! Well, can I tell you what the best day was? In Enchanted, when I had to lie in repose on the chaise lounge, and Jimmy [Marsden] and then Patrick would try to revive me. And then Jimmy and then Patrick. And of course it was torturous, because I just had to lie there — I couldn’t respond. That was a nice day. So I’d have to say the combination of Jimmy and Patrick. Anyone would understand why I couldn’t choose.
Some may’ve guessed Leo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can, but I thought you might throw me a curveball with Will Farrell in Talledega Nights.
He’s actually a really good kisser.
Wow. Who knew?
Anyone who’s kissed him. Sasha Baron Cohen knows.
Aren’t you often mistaken for Cohen’s fiancé, Isla Fisher?
We joke about it, because we look at each other and go, “Well, we get it, but…” That’s the other thing with red hair: When you have red hair, you suddenly look like everyone with red hair.
That’s funny, because I’m always confusing you with Bernadette Peters.
[Laughs] I actually would love that! I would be so flattered. If only I had a mop of curly hair.
Are you annoyed by the fact that, thanks to imdb.com trivia, your brief stint as a Hooters waitress will follow you forever?
Somebody on the set of Drop Dead Gorgeous asked me, “What was your worst job ever?” Then that person told Conan O’Brien, and that’s how it was exposed. But you know what? If that’s the most dirt I have, I can live with it.
Did you at least get free wings?
Oh gosh, I was a wing fanatic! Sometimes I’m still like, “Let’s go to Hooters! I need my fix.”
The Advocate, December 2007; extended online version.