Moviegoers will remember the lovely Noureen DeWulf in last year's outrageous (and sadly underrated) comedy The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, where she played the love interest for Ving Rhames's character Jibby. The actress is back on the silver screen this weekend with a role in the new film The Back-Up Plan, which arrives in theaters tomorrow, April 23, and stars Jennifer Lopez and Alex O'Loughlin. I had the chance to speak with this talented young actress over the phone recently and here's what she had to say.
I was curious how you first heard about this project or came across the script? How did that whole process start?
Noureen DeWulf: Well, I was shooting a mini-series in Arizona called Maneater. I was living out there and my representation sent me the script and all the information and said that this looked like something that could be you. I came back and met the director and I had to push it back a bunch of times because my schedule wouldn't allow me, so I drove from Arizona to L.A. to meet with Alan Poul, the director, and I ended up getting the part shortly thereafter.
When you first got the script, were Jennifer or Alex attached at that point?
Noureen DeWulf: They were. Jennifer was definitely attached and I don't know if Alex was or not. I'm not sure.
You play Jennifer's friend and you also have a lot of scenes with Eric Christian Olsen. I think he's hilarious. What was it like working with him and having that kind of dynamic with him and Jennifer as well?
Noureen DeWulf: It's interesting because Eric is a very serious person. He's very smart and he understands this business very well. It was interesting to work with him in that respect. He was a very well-seasoned professional. I like him as a person and he's a very cool and nice guy. Jennifer, I had a lot of scenes with Jennifer... and I hope some of them end up in the movie (Laughs). I've heard some of the storylines have shifted and everything. She's an enormously huge superstar, but she comes at it like any other actress, and I thought that was kind of cool. She's a great actress.
I was just curious, since you said she was such a huge star, if there were any tips or advice that you picked up from her on the set?
Noureen DeWulf: Well, it wasn't any blunt advice, but I definitely noticed the trends with these pretty significant co-stars of mine, that they're not afraid to assert themselves, you know. That's definitely a big thing, having that kind of presence and you can always give your opinion. I expect nothing less and I appreciate her opinion. She definitely shared it.
There's a scene with Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer, in the film. What was it like having him on the set?
Noureen DeWulf: Oh, it was hilarious. I was trying to get advice from him, regarding my pit bull that I rescued (Laughs). It's always funny to see, as an actor, it's funny to see people in their trained professional industries that get notoriety, to see them in movies. It was a fun experience. He's a really knowledgeable guy. I definitely watched him do that scene many times, so I learned a lot that day.
What was it like working with your director, Alan Poul? You've worked on some great films over the past few years so how would you compare Alan's directing style with others you've worked with in the past?
Noureen DeWulf: Alan is really kind and he definitely knows what he wants to get in a scene, but if you beg him enough... (Laughs). I love him. At the end of every scene I would literally ease over to him and go, 'Do you think in the next take I could do... such and such?' And he would go, 'OK, we can do it that way...' (Laughs). He's so nice and he really lets you open up. I think you need that, the relaxed, strong presence that he has and he definitely had great ideas on what he thought was funny and I definitely appreciate all those things in a director. I would love to work with him again. He really made me feel good every day.
I was wondering if maybe you had a favorite scene that you filmed or a favorite memory from the set? Or maybe just some insights on a regular day on the set as a whole?
Noureen DeWulf: Well, there was one scene where - I work at a pet shop, that Jennifer owns - and there was one scene where I was supposed to be grooming this dog. I don't know if the scene ended up making it in the movie, but there was a scene where I was essentially harassing the animal. I mean, not in a bad way, I love animals so much, and dogs in particular, but I was just squeezing his face. You're not supposed to do that with actor dogs. You're supposed to respect them as your colleague and, literally, in that take, the dog bit me on the nose. Everybody on set was so happy that the dog bit me because I had been squeezing the dog so much and it was just crazy. We must have laughed for about 20 minutes.
What kind of dog was it?
Noureen DeWulf: It was pretty tiny. I don't know what kind of dog it was. It wasn't bad, but it totally bit me and I had to get my make-up retouched and everything (Laughs).
That sounds like it should make the DVD, at least.
Noureen DeWulf: I hope so, because people loved it. I did not, but everybody else did (Laughs). Everybody was just waiting for an animal to react, so yeah, that dog totally bit me.
Is there anything that you're in development with right now? I know you have a few other films that are in the works. Is there anything you can tell us about those?
Noureen DeWulf: Yeah. I've got this movie coming out for theatrical release, it got picked up after it debuted at Sundance, called The Taqwacores. It's about a group of Muslim punk rockers and it's coming out in the fall. I'm very excited. I play Rabeya, who is one of the main characters, and she is a punk rock riot girl. The way she expresses her punk rock is inside, fully veiled, she wears a burkha through the whole movie, so I never really show my face in the whole movie. I've got that coming out and then I have a recurring role in a new MTV comedy coming out called Hard Times of RJ Berger. I play his love interest for a couple of episodes.
Is that supposed to come out in the fall?
With that Sundance film you're getting into some more diverse roles. Is there anything else that you're looking to latch onto or does it all just depend on what comes your way?
Noureen DeWulf: It's kind of a combination of what comes my way, but also I've always dreamed of doing really awesome action roles, like a Quentin Tarantino movie. I would love to do something like that, but the closest I've come is one episode on Chuck where I played a secret agent (Laughs). I was like a pita girl who was also an agent, but that's the closest I've come to that dream. But beyond that, I would just like to continue to expand my roles, doing more of what I've been doing but in a bigger capacity.
To wrap up, what would you like to say to anyone who is curious about The Back-Up Plan, about why they should go see it on the 23rd?
Noureen DeWulf: Well, it's an amazingly funny romantic comedy and it seems like a perfect date movie. It's a perfect date movie and it has Jennifer Lopez in it. I don't know, I like to stare at her, I stared at her a lot, she's so pretty. I would just go to the movie to stare at her for awhile (Laughs).
Awesome. That's about all I have for you, Noureen. Thanks so much for your time and best of luck with whatever comes your way next.
Noureen DeWulf: Thanks, Brian. Bye.