October 30, 2009
I first met Cameron Diaz on the set of “Charlie’s Angels” in the spring of 2000. I was being escorted into Drew Barrymore’s trailer by her producing partner Nancy Juvonen – at the time, I was there to convince Drew to play the English teacher in my crazy little script called “Donnie Darko.”
Cut to October of 2001, at the premiere for “Donnie Darko” at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles – guess who showed up? Cameron Diaz.
I was shocked to see a huge star hanging out at the meager after party for a little independent film that had flopped at Sundance – there wasn’t even an open bar. But Cameron didn’t care, she was there to support the film and Drew . . . she stayed most of the night and even though we never spoke to one another (I was too shy to re-introduce myself) – her presence meant a lot to me.
Flash forward to the summer of 2005 – we are pulling an insane 18-hour day on the set of “Southland Tales” on the Santa Monica pier. Justin Timberlake was there and we were shooting what has become the most famous scene in the film – his big musical number with the dancing Marilyn Monroe nurses to the tune of The Killers song “All These Things That I’ve Done.”
Cameron arrived sometime just before midnight to visit Justin – and stayed until we finally wrapped at sunrise. She stuck it out with us, and seemed to really enjoy just hanging around on the set with all of the crew and watching the process unfold.
Which brings us to “The Box” (opening November 6!). Getting to work with her on this felt like it was meant to be. The experience could not have been more perfect, and I feel blessed to be so fortunate to have an actress of her caliber in our film.
Cameron is very observant and thoughtful – she thinks long and hard before she makes any important decisions. It was clear that she knew exactly what she was doing every step of the way. She never once complained about a single thing during a long, emotional shoot in sub-arctic blizzard conditions.
I feel fortunate to have worked with both Cameron and Drew, who are consummate professionals — these are two of the most successful and well-adjusted women I know . . . incredibly supportive, kind and appreciative of everyone on the set and around them.
I know I’m biased as the filmmaker behind the movie, but Cameron’s performance in “The Box” is extraordinary. I can’t wait for people to witness her transformation into Norma Lewis.