Friday, October 1, 2010

Blake Lively: 'Gossip Girl' is now the talk of 'The Town'

Blake Lively strides into the room, all tan blond California girl — with exquisite fashion sense.

Note her sequined periwinkle blue boots with black toes, and the native of Burbank, Calif., will respond eagerly.

"Aren't they amazing?" she says. "These are beautiful Chanel couture boots that I wish were mine."

But she is more than that fashionista, and more than the glossy character she plays on CW's teen drama Gossip Girl.

What really lights her up and shifts her into overdrive is the discussion of the druggy mess she plays in The Town, a blue-collar drama about bank robbers, addicts and double-crossers, directed by and starring Ben Affleck.

Lively is interested in lives that are worlds apart from hers. "I love this character because of the challenge," she says. "She was written to be a 37-year-old, OxyContin-addicted, drug-muling mother from Boston. It was a character that they didn't want to read me for because I was 21 and had been acting for a few years but hadn't proven myself much."

She had made The Private Lives of Pippa Lee last year, playing the younger, wilder version of a character played by Robin Wright. But that was not enough.

Affleck hadn't heard of her. "He didn't know who I was," she says. "Finally they said 'OK, fine, he'll take a meeting. But you have to go to Boston.' "

Lively, now 23, still seems in awe. "I read, and when I finished, he said, 'What part of Boston are you from?' " she says.

Not bad for a girl whose first movie was 2005's The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. She had to further prove herself.

And then, "when I read the second time, it was such a long, grueling process. The scenes were so emotional it was terrifying. He was seeing if we could work together, seeing if he could direct me."

A similar role went to more experienced actress Amy Ryan in Affleck's last directorial effort, Gone Baby Gone.

"I'm sure there are people who were much more qualified and talented, who could have or should have done this role," Lively acknowledges. "But I thought I had to play this role because it ignited such passion within me."

She was aware of the risk. "This is so different from Gossip Girl," she says. "What's so fun in life are the challenges. You do have to fall on your face sometimes, too. That's how you learn."

The risk paid off. "It was a joy," she says, then stops, catching herself, "Not a joy to do; it was a joy to be a part of. To shoot it was grueling, traumatic, mentally, physically, emotionally draining."

She would hop on a plane after shooting wrapped on the New York set of Gossip Girl and spend weekends in Boston's Charlestown neighborhood bars, hanging out with women whose lives bore no resemblance to hers.

"It would help me absorb more of the attitude and the accent," she explains. "I'd get on a plane, go to my hotel, put on all my makeup as Krista and oil my hair so I felt really grimy."

The women there, she says, "will put on their mask and they'll party all night, they'll come home, they'll pass out and get up the next day, feed the kids, and don't have time, they just need to get through the day, so they'll put on more powder, more eyeliner, and it's their mask."

This unfamiliar world made a big impression on Lively. "It would have been nice not to go straight from Gossip Girl to being Bostonian, (but) Krista was a heavy character, so to not have to carry her around more than I needed to was nice. Also, at the end of the day, it was good to take a shower and wash her off."



Post a Comment