Heather Graham was in Dublin this week to promote her new film 'The Hangover' and she spoke to RTÉ.ie about her role, her Irish relatives and her next film.
Taragh Loughrey-Grant: Congratulations, 'The Hangover' has gone No.1 in the US box-office.
Heather Graham: Isn't that amazing. I think it's the second or third largest R rated [Restricted or 18's] comedy opening ever.
TLG: That's right; it was second in the box-office to 'Up' so it has up'd 'Up'! Obviously being No.1 means that more people go to see the film and it makes more money, what does it mean though for you as an actress?
HG: The sad truth is that you get more jobs if you're in more movies that make more money. It doesn't even really matter sometimes if you're right for the part because if you're in a movie that makes more money, suddenly you get put on lists and then you get more jobs!
TLG: How did you become involved in the film - was it a simple case of reading the script and meeting up with director Todd Phillips?
HG: I read the script and I met up with Todd to talk about it. I really wanted the job so I fought to get it and he gave it to me, which was great.
TLG: What was it about your role as kind-hearted stripper Jade that you loved?
HG: I liked that she was quirky and odd but there was this emotional moment in this comedy movie where I felt, it's like in the end she wants to let this guy off the hook even though she's in love with him [Ed Helms character Stu Price]. You know how you can meet someone and just fall in love with them and then maybe the other person doesn't feel the same but you just believe that you know that it's real.
TLG: She's a very generous and warm character, naïve even.
HG: She's very happy, even though [lol] she probably shouldn't be. I just like that she's so happy.
TLG: What is it that influences your role choices? On screen, you often play the type of character that guys want to be with and girls want to hang out with.
HG: Thanks, that’s nice. I guess you just go with roles that you feel passionate about and that when you read something good, you'll respond to it. You just feel like you have something to give, just a story that excites you and you can relate to.
TLG: A lot of the characters you have played, including some of your famous cameos such as 'Sex and the City', are happy, likeable girls – maybe some have a dark story but you shine a positive light on them. Is that conscious?
HG: It probably is conscious because in my own life there are moments where I feel really dark and I try to switch my perspective to say 'Actually look how great this all is'. I think you can view a situation in so many different ways and it's so important to realise how lucky you are and just to be grateful, I think.
TLG: You've been to Ireland a few times and have Irish relations, tell us more about them.
HG: I love Ireland, it’s the greatest. I've been here like five times. My family is three quarters Irish. I did a driving trip when I got out of high school down the West Coast and then I worked in Belfast [while filming 'Buy, Borrow or Steal'] for two months and I've been to Dublin twice.
In Belfast I made this really good friend, Jamie Jackson, who worked in the camera department and he came to Dublin for the premiere [of 'The Hangover']. In fact, he's here now with my boyfriend [they went sightseeing to the Guinness Storehouse]. There are some amazing people here, when I left I was crying because the people are so warm.
TLG: Did you get to meet up with family members on your travels?
HG: Most of my [Irish] family members moved to the States but I did have some priests and nuns that I met, who were in their 60's.
TLG: I can't leave without saying how amazing you look. In fact, I'm in shock that you're going to turn - should I say it or whisper - the big 4-0 next year.
HG: Yeah, [laughing] can you not say it!
TLG: You look stunning; can you share some of your beauty secrets?
HG: I don't know...yoga's really good. I do Vinyasa.
TLG: Do you do it a lot because I'm thinking I need to start immediately if this is the result!
HG: [Lol] That's sweet, God I don't know, yeah. Water too, a lot of water. Happiness, try to feel good about yourself. Don't care what other people think.
TLG: What's next?
HG: I just got offered this amazing job this weekend that I'm still negotiating and I'm also attached to this cool movie about this Russian actress [Zoya Fyodorova]. She lived during World War II and fell in love with this American pilot. Stalin basically threw her in jail, as he did with anyone he suspected of being a spy. So she was thrown into jail for eight years and didn't see her daughter and she eventually got out. It's this crazy, true, historical, interesting story.
TLG: That sounds great – when do you begin shooting?
HG: They're just casting the lead guy right now so knock on wood we'll start filming in January.