Actresses America Ferrera and Alexis Bledel talk about wearing the pants in their new movie, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Q: Is it true they used special effects to have Blake hand the pants off to you?
AF: What are you talking about? Those were magic jeans. What are you trying to say? I couldn't fit into Blake's jeans? No. It was really funny because there was one take where we forgot to do our thing and I put on the jeans and they like closed! Blake looked at me and she's had this look on her face like ‘Oh my God.' I said ‘What?' ‘They fit you!'. I'm like ‘Oh my God' and they did. We were so excited.
Q: So why go to all the trouble of the effects shot?
AF: I don't know. They wanted to add that little magic. It was really great to see them go from Bridget to the two that are the most polar opposite. I thought that was really awesome and lent to the whole mystery. I don't think Blake and Amber are too much of a stretch. I met Amber and Alexis and then they go to Blake and from Blake to me it was kind of the biggest leap. Was I aware of it? Absolutely.
Q: Were you expecting special effects on a movie like this?
AF: Oh yeah. That and the tennis scene was CGI too. It was a real tennis ball when we were playing but just the smack when I really hit him in the head.
Q: Had you read the book before auditioning for the film?
AF: No. I got the script, read the script and read with Ken and Deborah. Ken Kwapis and Deborah Martin Chase who is the producer and then went out and read the first book because that's what the script is based on and then had to read the second book because I was a big fan. Before the last book came out, Amber knew how much I loved the book and brought me an advance copy of it. She's like, ‘You are the third person in the world to read it'. I was so honored. I actually read it on set so yeah, I'm a big fan of the books.
Q: Alexis, did you know the book?
AB: I got to know the book once I was involved with the project. Then it helped me fill in the blanks, the stuff that wasn't included about the characters and their history in the script, it just helped fill me in with that stuff.
Q: Why do you think that the book caught on?
AB: I think it caught on because the stories that these four girls have individually in the book are extremely relatable. They're very real teenage experiences and I think the friendship between the four girls is something that is more realistic than a lot of the relationships we see between girls in movies lately. A lot of the time it's like backstabbing or petty or superficial. I think most girls' relationships are real friendships like these. I don't think they're that much more dramatic.
Q: You were in three very different films already this year - Sin City, Bride and Prejudice and now this one. How do you choose your scripts?
AB: I have a wonderful manager who is sort of, miraculously, on the same page with me most of the time. We just really like the same kinds of stories. We like good material, good stories. I think that helps.
Q: Did you learn Greek for this movie?
AB: No [laughs] not a bit.
Q: How long were you over there? It was during the Olympics?
AB: Three weeks. It was right as the Olympics were being set up, just is they were kind of beginning to go. You know what I speak Spanish. Usually, it's easy for me to pick up bits of languages when I travel but Greek was so foreign to me. It was like a different part of my brain that I couldn't access or something. But, it was fun to hear it. People speaking Greek have a lot of passion. It sounds like they are excited or angry or something all the time. It's like ‘Oh, what's going on over there'? It's cool to listen to.
Q: Do you have any good stories from the shoot over there?
AB: They had me running around like crazy. They had me riding Vespa scooters and motorcycles which I hadn't ridden before in my life but I was like ‘come on, let's go!' It was so fun. I was swimming and the donkeys and drawing. I had like summer camp over there. There had me running around like crazy.
Q: People are going to classify this as a chick flick. What do you think teenage boys don't understand about teenage girls that they need to designate it like that?
AB: I think that if any teenage boys do end up getting either dragged to this movie or end up taking a girl to see this movie, they're going to realize that stories like Carmen's story in the film are just human experiences that have to do with family that aren't so far beyond their realm of understanding. I think a lot of the guys who have seen it have actually said they relate most to Carmen's story because it's a story about miscommunication with a parent or the lack of a relationship or trying to find how you relate to a parent who has started a new family. That's a very real topic in our society to any gender.
Q: Might they also like looking at the pretty girls?
AB: Yeah, they should. Blake's running around playing soccer in those little shorts and she looks cute.
Q: America, were you a watcher of The West Wing before you did this movie with Bradley Whitford?
AF: I wasn't but my sister was thoroughly obsessed with Brad Whitford. I met Brad just working on the project. He is a fabulous actor and a really wonderful human being and a great father in real life, a very loving father in real life. He has three children. Three beautiful children he's so dedicated to. Working with Brad was really a gift. He was wonderful.
Q: Both of you represent different body types of girls who are all friends and not much is made about the differences. How do you feel about your roles as role models to young women these days?
AF: It's funny to me that it's weird at all to people that girls who look different would be friends.
AB: I know because my friends look so different. They're different people and work in different industries.
AF: I don't look anything like my best friends. I don't think I look for people who look like me to be my friends. I just love how this story takes girls who are so physically different and an object that is so unique to each person and then saying that that one thing that is supposedly so unique and so different can be so uniting and even though it appears it couldn't be the same, these girls can share it. I think it's about time that grown ups start using vocabulary that doesn't send the message and it's so weird that people who come from different backgrounds have similar experiences because they're humans.
AB: I think it's a mature idea, an adult idea that you can have friends different from yourself. That you can learn from them and have fun with them because of they're different from you. It enriches your life and it's an immature idea for form cliques and only hang out with people who do what you do and categorize yourself in that way. I think this [film] presents an idea to a younger generation who could benefit from it.
Q: Do you two have a favorite pair of old jeans?
AB: I don't know much about the brands. I know the styles I like. I like a really loose-fitting pair because it's comfortable or, if you're going out you want something tight that looks good. I have all different brands. Whatever fits.
Q: Have either of you been on a road trip or cruising with a bunch of girls?
AF: Yes, with my sisters. I'm one of five girls in my family.
AB: It's fun. It's the girliest, loudest most fun.
AF: It's like silly and fun and gross and all those things.
Q: Did you guys get into any trouble on the set of this movie?
AF: Every day!
AB: We were always in trouble, always loud.
AF: Always doing something wrong. They couldn't get us to shut up. They're like ‘We can't hear anybody's lines. Please stop laughing'.
Q: Where did you hang out in Vancouver?
AF: They had a great music scene. We went to concerts and movies and dinner and shopping.
Dont't forget to also check out: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants