With her svelte frame, bright eyes and English accent, Lucy Punch seems perfectly suited to play the sugary-sweet girl next door. So you might be surprised that this flaxen-haired beauty keeps getting cast as anything but.
From a tarted-up gold digger in Woody Allen's "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" to the heavy-drinking party girl in "Take Me Home Tonight," Punch has proven that she's got the comedic chops to throw down with the best of them -- including Cameron Diaz.
In "Bad Teacher," Punch brings the uppity Amy Squirrel to life and proves a worthy opponent to battle Diaz for Justin Timberlake's bank account heart. Unlike her character, however, Punch was nothing but calm and collected when we sat down in New York to chat about being serenaded by Justin, barfed on by Cameron, and, well, everything in between.
So, you play Cameron's nemesis in the film.
[laughs] Yes. At first, it seemed very ridiculous as well to think about the fact that I was supposed to be warring with Cameron Diaz -- for Justin Timberlake!
When you finally got to the set, was there anything surprising about Cameron or Justin?
I honestly was just so surprised at how normal they are, and how they can just really and truly talk to everyone at a normal level. They both have such extraordinary lives, and their lives are so crazy, and they're always on the go. I mean, we'd step outside and there would be literally a sea of paparazzi waiting for us. How can you stay normal with all that around you all the time? I think it's a testament to who they are that they have both remained so grounded, despite their success.
Did you and Cameron have a chance to bond?
Totally! She made me breakfast a few times, which was very nice. She likes to make this weird breakfast. It sort of sounds disgusting -- it's oatmeal with egg whites -- but I was like, "If Cameron's eating it, I'm going to give it a try!"
We also talked a lot. One time she was telling me about her allergies, and we were bonding, and then all of a sudden she was like, "You have to try this! It's really fantastic!" Then she gave me one of those neti pots, the ones that are great for allergies. She brought me the neti pot and the salt, and even explained how to do it. Of course, I was like, "If Cameron does this, I'm going to try it! Maybe it's another one of her secrets!" So I did it, but it didn't go that well. I used water that was way too hot, so I ended up scalding my nose and I almost drowned in the saltwater. But of course I was like, "It was amazing! Thanks, Cameron!"
Then you ran off to try to steal her man Justin.
Pretty much, yeah.
What was it like being serenaded by the former *NSYNC frontman?
I loved when he sang to me! Everyone was saying it was so funny because he was singing so badly, but I thought it was funny because I'm so tone deaf that I didn't actually think it sounded that bad. I mean, yes, the words to the song were stupid, but it's still Justin Timberlake!
How were your other scenes with Justin? You make your play for him pretty quickly.
To be honest, I found it very difficult in all my scenes with Justin because it took everything in me not to laugh. I just kept wanting to roar with laughter. He is a really funny guy.
Were there any scenes you shot that you didn't find funny? This movie really pushes a lot of boundaries.
We did shoot one scene that was hard for me. It was my worst scene to shoot, and I was so annoyed, because after all of that, it's not in the film.
It's a scene where I'm trying to convince Cameron that she doesn't need to get her boobs done, and I'm talking about my dream guy and what I'm saying is so nauseating, and she's so hungover, that she ends up throwing up all over me. I personally do not find puke funny. I find it disgusting. I'm like, "I don't need to see that."
Cameron was holding this creamy soup in her mouth, and the smell was so unpleasant, and we had to shoot it so many times, and it was just going all over my chest. Now, Cameron is a total pro. She was fine. She totally didn't mind having this stuff in her mouth, but I was about to vomit. It was literally making me feel sick.
Your next movie, "Yellow," is a drama -- throw-up-scene-free. Are you more comfortable playing serious roles than comedic ones?
I never feel comfortable! [laughs] I'm always anxious. I'm always all over the board. That said, I like doing comedy because it's easy to tell when you're getting it right because people laugh, and you can hear it, and they're smiling, and you can see it. So, if you're a little insecure, but then you hear people laughing, it helps you to feel like, "Oh, okay, I'm getting it right." So it's always nice to work on a comedy.
Even if it means you have to pretend to like Cameron's neti pot gift?
[laughs] Yes. Especially if Justin's involved.