Famke Janssen talks about her co-starring role in the Robert De Niro thriller, Hide and Seek!
In Hide and Seek, Famke Janssen plays Katherine, former student and now colleague to Dr. David Calloway, played by the legendary actor Robert De Niro. Katherine is trying to help Dr. Calloway through the grieving process along with his daughter, Emily, played by Dakota Fanning after her mother has died suddenly. I interviewed Famke at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles on a very gray and rainy Saturday afternoon. When she entered the room, her little dog that followed close behind the Amazonian actress immediately trampled me.
Do you take on a movie like this with all seriousness or like the movie that it is, popcorn, scary movie?
Famke: I think you have to take everything on with a bit of seriousness but you have to remember what genre your in, very important, but I think, everything I approach I do in the same way, I put my best foot forward.
Did you research for this film differently since it's of a horror nature?
Famke: No I researched for this film the way I do for any other, I interviewed a bunch of psychologist for it, but once you start shooting you have to remember what genre you're in. I take it all seriously or not seriously.
So when you fire guns in a film do you do it seriously?
Famke: Well for example, considering I'm firing of the gun in this movie, I told the director before hand, my character is going to be left handed, I'm right handed and she is going to be left handed, and he said why? I said because my character fires a gun in the movie and I have in real life and if she looks like she is comfortable with a gun in her hands its not going to be realistic. I had a little discussion with the director about it, but it ended up not mattering.
What was your motivation for taking a role like this?
Famke: Working with De Niro and plus cause its fun doing a character like this. She is very nice and clean and very, different.
Are there differences to you in the genre of horror? Because you have done ‘House on Haunted Hill' and that is very horror specific.
Famke: Yes that one seems like a horror movie to me, this one, Hide and Seek, seems like a thriller to me. I mean those are two different movies to me. House is like supernatural, nothing that happens in that film could ever really happen, where in this movie, its very possible.
There were 3 different endings shot for this film, one where you're tucking in Dakota's character, and she asks to keep the door open is that going to be in the DVD?
Famke: Who told you that? I can't confirm or deny that, but we did shoot different endings, but this is the safer ending.
Which did you want?
Famke: I always seem to go with the most unconventional and the least safe, and the darker. I think they went with thee safer.
What was it like working with a 10 year old child like Dakota?
Famke: She is not a child. There is nothing child like about her. She is a miniature woman, very smart very together, very talented, very mature.
Was it important to cast a kid very smart and very together in this film?
Famke: It helps. If the kid is always bouncing off the walls all the time, and not focused it could be a problem. She was focused all the time and ready to work so it helped a lot.
Was there a difference between on screen and off working with De Niro?
Famke: No, he's not one of those people that stay in character all the time.
He did in his younger years, right?
Famke: No, I was never like talking to Charley one minute then De Niro the next, he was never like that.
Can you tell us about the future of the X-men franchise? Are you involved with that?
Famke: Don't know quite yet, but yes probably.
Have you spoken to anyone about it?
Famke: I have heard some things, they are developing the script right now and the Phoenix is going to be a big part of it.
No mention of directors?
Famke: They are looking for a director, yes.
Would you work again with Mr. Singer?
Famke: Oh I would, certainly, yes, I think he made those movies, both of them.
The decision of who will direct that the third film have any bearing on whether or not the cast will in fact return? Or are you pretty much committed irrespectively who the director is?
Famke: Some people are irrespectively because of the fact that they signed contract and some people can renegotiate so I am sure it has to do with a bunch of different things, paychecks, directors, choice of directors stuff like that.
But you wouldn't want to do a sequel just for the sake of doing a sequel, are you contractually obligated?
Famke: I am not contractually obligated. I wouldn't want to do sequel for the sake of sequel. I would definitely hopefully if there's a good director involved or the character is fun to play or maybe I need to do some renovations to do to my apartment in NY or whatever, (laughter), it depends, I can't lie, I need to make money.
The Phoenix character is a very complicated character; I think it would be a very fun character. Have you heard that the next movie will revolve strongly around Phoenix like Wolverine revolved round X-2?
Famke: I've heard things like that but at the same time I'm realistic about knowing that there going to have to give people a big chunk of that movie if they want them to come back so with that movie and there also new characters to be introduced and that is always a little tricky. If it's anybody movie ever it's Wolverine's movie because that just the number one X-Men character. We'll see, from what I heard yes she a big part of it.
Dr. Jean Grey, your character was such a strong character in the second film. For the audience they might see a different Storm, another actor doing Storm. But to see someone else do the Phoenix. Are you inclined to do it?
Famke: I would have a hard time giving it up to somebody else just for that matter. For that reason. I am too much of a control freak. So I don't know if can handle seeing someone else play her.
Have you been preparing yourself by reading old comic books, Phoenix or anything?
Famke: No, once we get the full green light I will, but any of that kind of stuff feels just like you kinda jinx it and you get your hopes up.
After playing her a few times do you ever get curious and if you see a comic book on the stand do you ever look at where they are taking your character in the comic books? Or is that not of interest to you?
Famke: No I never do any of that, I never been a comic book reader. It's seems very complicated to me with the pictures and the little bubbles (Laughter). I have always read novels, I understand that but comic books are never understood very well (laughter).
Has Joss Whedon name still been thrown out there as one of the possible directors?
Famke: It's been thrown out there but I'm not sure how real that is.
Are you at all interested in being in the Superman Movie?
Famke: You know I don't think that would be a possibility that would be a total conflict (laughter).
There has been other actors that have stayed in the genre like Patrick Stewart who's in X-Men and Star Trek, would you ever consider doing another comic book movie or another...?
Famke: It would seem weird, I mean like I said there always different times in your life that you consider doing things for whatever reasons so I don't want to exclude it but at the moment I can't for see that happening. I am looking for a more varied career, going the path of jumping between genres, studios, and independent movies.
After Superman, Singer is working on Logan's Run, would that be something that would interest you at all?
Famke: Logan's Run he's gonna do with a lot of young people. From what he told me, like 18, 19 or 20 year olds or something I think I night be a tad older.
We keep bringing it up, are you keeping your slate open for X-Men, I think they are saying June/July will be a start date.
Famke: Yeah that's from what I understand but obviously if something else comes along but I think that is when the studio will probably jump in and try to firm up the deal.
Your one of the more memorable Bond babes, have you been following what they have been doing to Pierce (Bronsnan)?
Famke: Yeah, I think it's terrible what they did to him. I would have liked to have seen him stay as Bond. I think he's great.
Do you think Hugh Jackman would make a good bond?
Famke: I think so, but from what I know he wouldn't do it.
What sort of roles do you least appreciate being offered?
Famke: The action stuff, it comes very easy to me and doesn't require me challenging myself to much, so I like to be more careful.
Have you ever talked about re-teaming with John Favreau and Vince Vaughn?
Famke: No, he is directing now so I don't know, but when we see each other we always say we should do it again some day.
Are there any directors you want to work with that you haven't yet?
Famke: Alexander Payne, and yes I saw Sideways, great movie, and all the big ones, Spielberg, etc...