The three-plus years Liv Tyler spent shooting the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy may have scared her off epic films for the rest of her career.
"I would sit on the set of 'Lord of the Rings,' and I absolutely loved what I was doing, but I would sort of dream of laughing and doing comedy and not crying all the time," the artist formerly known as Arwen said.
She got her wish when director Kevin Smith ("Clerks," "Chasing Amy") cast her as fanboy dream girl Maya in his newest offering, "Jersey Girl." As a video store clerk who becomes the love interest of Ben Affleck's character, Liv was more than happy to be part of a relatively low-impact and elf-free shoot.
"Suddenly I found myself on [the 'Jersey Girl'] set on my first day, and I didn't have all that hair and makeup and wigs and I wasn't speaking in an English accent like I had been for so long with Arwen, and I didn't know what to do with myself," Tyler said. "I felt so scared and vulnerable and almost kind of naked because I was so used to those other elements of the character. On 'The Lord of the Rings,' a lot of things were done in post-production, whereas this was really just about me and Ben sitting there, just shooting off dialogue. It was all what I wanted to do."
Now that she's finished her second movie with Ben (the two co-starred in 1998's "Armageddon"), she's giving the other Affleck brother a chance. She's co-starring with Casey Affleck in "Lonesome Jim," which began filming in Indiana earlier this month right after the "Jersey Girl" press whirlwind.
"They're both adorable sweethearts, and they're both really good actors," Tyler said of the Affleck brothers. "Casey's one of my really good friends, so I'm really excited to work with him."
For Tyler, "Lonesome Jim" presents another step on her "Lord of the Rings" cool-down; the film will likely take less time to shoot than she spent promoting "Jersey Girl."
"It's a little tiny, tiny independent film which we're shooting on video, which I've never done before, and we're shooting in something like 19 days or 20 days," Tyler said. "I'm so excited because I've never really worked on video, and I think it's kind of different and really fast. You just basically act all the time and the camera follows you. You don't take the breaks for lighting and for different setups and stuff."
Directed by Steve Buscemi, "Lonesome Jim" centers around a failed writer (Affleck) who's forced to move out of New York and back home with his parents.
"It's just sort of him dealing with all his family, his brothers, mom and his dad, and all the people in his life," Tyler explained. "I play a single mom. I'm a nurse, and I meet him in a bar, and we sort of have a funny relationship.
"He wanders into his parents' house and has a complete nervous breakdown in the first few minutes, and it's really about him coming to terms with himself with depression. ... It's a comedy, a really dark comedy. It doesn't sound very funny," Tyler laughed.
In the meantime, the more conventional "Jersey Girl" hits theaters March 26.