For more than a dozen years, audiences have been eating up that Cameron Diaz grin. You know it: That megawatt sweet smile that dares you to go ahead and try not to fall for her. She played it to the hilt in romantic comedies from “There’s Something About Mary” to “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” and it’s no surprise to see it in Diaz’s return to the genre, “The Holiday.”
This time Diaz plays Amanda, a woman who needs a break — from men and her Los Angeles life — so she swaps homes with the similarly burned-out Iris (Kate Winslet), a move that takes her all the way to the English countryside. It’s just her luck that Graham (Jude Law) comes knocking. So much for a quiet holiday. (Stop making that face, it’s a movie.)
We caught up with Diaz and chatted about the film, her favorite holiday, working with Jude Law, and best of all, the person she’d most like to trade places with.
MTV: Hi Cameron. What are you up to?
Cameron Diaz: Actually a girlfriend of mine just had a baby so I’m on my way to see them.
MTV: Talking about a movie suddenly seems mundane.
Diaz: It’s OK. I’m excited to talk about ["The Holiday"].
MTV: When you go into a romantic comedy, do you feel like, “I know how to do this”?
Diaz: I don’t, because I feel like each one of them has been so different from the next. I kind of pick the films I do by how I’m feeling at the moment. It’s more about my life and my choices rather than necessarily about my career.
MTV: So where were you at when you decided to do “The Holiday”?
Diaz: One thing is, I want to work with somebody who knows what they’re doing. And I love [director] Nancy Meyers. Her writing is so much fun and full of life and relatable. I read [the script] and I was like, oh I know exactly who these women are. I’ve been both of those women.
MTV: Which leads nicely to the question: Is there someone you could imagine trading lives with?
Diaz: The image that comes to mind is Jack Black in a blue leotard with a big mustache. I just want to know what it’s like to be Jack Black and be in Tenacious D. That would be really fun.
MTV: Do you like to try on other people’s lives?
Diaz: Oh yeah, I love it. It’s one of the perks of the job — getting to explore somebody else’s experience and tell their story and indulge yourself in their lifestyle and learn about how they live and put yourself in a predicament that you would not normally ever get to be in. It’s a really cool job.
MTV: What’s it like working with Jude Law?
Diaz: He’s such a great actor. The great thing about this role for Jude is that it’s so much like him. He’s so much like Graham. He’s grounded and open and charismatic and understanding and sensitive. It’s very close to who he is.
MTV: OK, time for some silly questions: What’s your favorite holiday film?
Diaz: I love “A Christmas Story.” How can you not love that?
MTV: I’m partial to “Elf.”
Diaz: Oh, you are hilarious. That’s my girlfriend’s favorite. I said to her, what was your favorite movie of the year? “Elf.” [She laughs.]
MTV: What’s your favorite holiday?
Diaz: I kinda like the Fourth of July. It’s summertime and you get to light the fireworks and everyone’s outside and it’s beautiful. And it’s also one of those holidays where if you can’t make it home for that holiday you’re not going to get in trouble.
MTV: So Justin [Timberlake] is in “Shrek the Third” with you. Did you guys record your lines together?
Diaz: You know, even with that first “Shrek,” I never met Mike Myers or Eddie Murphy until the day of our press junket. None of the actors work together [in animated films]. You’ll have to wait to see the film to see what our roles are.
MTV: You’re a Martin Scorsese vet after “Gangs of New York.” Do you think he’s going to get his Oscar this year for “The Departed”?
Diaz: I saw “The Departed” twice in 24 hours, so I was really into the movie. I went and saw it and then I loved it so much that another friend was going to see it, and I was like, “I will go with you.” I love that movie! He’s amazing. Marty’s the best ever.
MTV: It’s hard to believe you’ve been doing this for over a dozen years, going back to “The Mask” in 1994. Do you ever look back and think, “If only I could give that Cameron some advice?”
Diaz: Oh sure. But the thing is, you can’t worry about what happened in the past, what you did or didn’t do. All you can do is apply it to the next experience. I mean, there’s so many things even from the last movie like, “Why didn’t I do that?”
MTV: Any TV shows you’re obsessed with?
Diaz: I love “Grey’s Anatomy.” It’s the only one that I actually TiVo. And I love “The Soup” — do you watch it? It’s hilarious.
MTV: Oh sure. “Talk Soup” lives on.
Diaz: Yeah. I started watching it when I was in high school. It’s almost like a guilty pleasure.
MTV: I haven’t heard about anything you’re doing after “Shrek 3.” What’s next?
Diaz: I don’t have anything set up. I’m at the moment unemployed.
MTV: Oh no!
Diaz: Yeah, I’m hopefully going to rectify that at some point, but nothing at the moment.
See everything we’ve got on Cameron Diaz.
Visit Movies on MTV.com for more from Hollywood, including news, reviews, interviews and more.
Want trailers? Visit the Trailer Park for the newest, scariest and funniest coming attractions anywhere.