Even when she’s not the star of her own fairy tale, Amy Adams can’t help but be enchanting. The Oscar nominee first won over film critics as a pregnant motormouth in “Junebug” and then the box office as a cartoon princess in “Enchanted” . Adams is at it again in “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day,” where her latest loveable character is a flighty actress named Delysia Lafosse who gets unexpected help from her new “social secretary,” actually an unemployed governess named Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand). Like Adams, Delysia is in demand — she has not one but three suitors, each of whom expect her to make her choice immediately. When so many people want her, what does Adams want for herself? We caught up with the actress to talk screwball movies, pregnancies and other excellent adventures …
MTV: Life’s a mess for both of the main characters in this movie, but in the course of one day, everything works out for both of them. So, if you had a perfect day like that, what would you want to happen?
Amy Adams: A massage, that’s what I want! (Laughs.) I think I’d want somebody to help me live in the moment a little bit more, instead of being such a worrier. I’m optimistic, but I’m still a realist, so I tend to always go with the worst-case scenario, just in preparation. That’s what I have in common with Delysia — she’s always in survival mode. It’d be nice if someone made that go away.
MTV: What do you worry about?
Adams: Everything. It’s not like I have to worry, but things are on my mind that can distract me from things in the present. I worry about things I shouldn’t worry about, that I don’t need to be thinking about, like, what will the world be like for my children? And I don’t have children! I think about my future children often.
MTV: This story this movie is based on dates back before World War II — the golden age of “screwball comedies,” classic films of directors like Preston Sturges and stars like Carole Lombard. Do you think there’s more of a need for movies like that in times of turmoil?
Adams: Absolutely. I think it’s human nature to seek out positivity to balance out negative things. I don’t know if films are doing it as much as they used to, though, since people turn to magazines and other forms of entertainment for that kind of distraction.
I grew up loving old films, so I had this romanticized feeling of Hollywood. I thought it would be so glamorous to be an actress in that time. I wanted Delysia to be somebody who was acting like an actress, you know? She’s acting like somebody in a movie, because every day for her is a chance to shine, a chance to be noticed. There’s a real desperation behind her, driven by the bad times: the Depression in America, and the reality of the world going to war.
MTV: Do you think she has something in common with Giselle, your character in “Enchanted”? They both live in a fantasy world, in a way.
Adams: Giselle is the exact opposite. She’s much more authentic. She’s not putting a thing on. Delysia is putting it all on. You see glimpses of who she truly is, and that’s what Guinevere sees in her — that glimpse of the girl she was before she made all those decisions that have led her to where she is.
MTV: So you might say that Delysia is disenchanted?
Adams: You could say that! She’s just struggling to get by. She’s struggling to keep all the balls in the air, because if one falls, they all fall. She’s definitely an opportunist, and she definitely is manipulative. But her intentions are based purely on her survival instinct.
MTV: There are things in the real world that Delysia knows that Giselle, in “Enchanted,” is only beginning to understand. What do you think she’d have to learn in the proposed sequel for “Enchanted”? She probably doesn’t even know you have to have sex to have babies — she probably thinks they just magically appear.
Adams: (Laughs.) I hope we don’t explore that! That’s not quite right for that audience. I don’t know where they’re planning to go with the sequel. The first film was discovering who she is, so we’ve seen that. I’d be curious to see what’s next.
MTV: Patrick Dempsey told us he’d like to see her get pregnant or have an orgasm for the first time.
Adams: I’m sure Patrick would love to see that! (Laughs.) That would be a lot of fun to explore.
MTV: A lot of Disney films have become Broadway productions — “The Little Mermaid” just opened up. Do you think we’ll ever see “Enchanted” on Broadway?
Adams: It would be very cool, but I’m not sure if I would be returning as Giselle. I would like to see “Miss Pettigrew” on Broadway! There’s that one musical number in it now, and I think there’s room for more.
MTV: Is there any room for musical numbers in “Night at the Museum 2,” your next picture? What historical figure are you going to be? We’re betting it’s either Amelia Earhart …
Adams: I’m not going to tell … (Editor’s note: Adams was announced as Earhart shortly after this interview.)
MTV: … or Joan of Arc, the way Joan Wiedlin was in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”
Adams: I liked “Bill & Ted’s”! That’s the second time that’s come up today, how weird! We were talking about boy flicks — what’s an example of a boy flick versus a chick flick — and I was saying I don’t think “Miss Pettigrew” is a chick flick; that it’s unfair, just because two females are driving the plot and it’s from a female perspective, that it’s considered a chick flick.
MTV: Maybe it’s actually a boy flick — there are more boys in it than girls. Delysia alone has three of them.
Adams: The boys are himbos, is what we’ve decided.
MTV: The boys are the ones driving the plot in a way, because they’re the one insisting she make a decision.
Adams: And Lee Pace [who plays Delysia’s brooding lover Michael] is just so amazing. He’s so charming …
MTV: Kind of like a young Clive Owen.
Adams: Yes! There’s such a masculinity to him, and a real throwback feel. (Dreamily) He’s so tall and substantial …
MTV: I take it you like him?
Adams: Yes, I do. (Blushing.) Can you tell?
Check out everything we’ve got on “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.”
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