Unscripted: Selma Blair


Everybody has a story, including Selma Blair, who follows up her turn as a buttoned-down Harvard preppie in Legally Blonde with a very different take on college life. In Todd Solondz’s Storytelling, the 29-year-old Michigan native plays a pink-haired coed who gets a harsh life lesson after bedding a sadistic professor (Robert Wisdom). Over the telephone from Manhattan, where she enjoyed a 24-hour break from her next film–A Guy Thing with Julia Stiles and Jason Lee–Blair pondered some facts and fictions.

Why were you so eager to go to work for Todd Solondz?

Todd has a vision. Not everyone does. I have been doing so much teenage stuff, and smiling all the time. I wanted the chance to wipe that silly grin off my face. It was so refreshing to play a flawed character, a human being. Not that my character in Legally Blonde wasn’t a human being, but it’s a happy, Hollywood version of a human being. It’s very refreshing not to have to go for the funny. And I thought it was very courageous for Todd to make this movie.

Speaking of courageous, your sex scene with Robert Wisdom is pretty exposing.

And I have pink hair! It is a testament to Todd’s vision that I would lop off my hair, bleach it white and then dye it cotton-candy pink. I looked like a stuffed animal. And then I had to take my clothes off. That’s as vulnerable as you can get. I think I lost any hope of ever being America’s sweetheart with this movie. I don’t know how I’ll take my mom to it.

Maybe Mom ought to skip this one.

You know, my mom is from Jenkintown and Germantown. My grandfather founded Penn Fruit, which is the oldest supermarket chain in Pennsylvania. I love Philly. I spent big chunks of my childhood there. We’d always stay at the Barclay Hotel. We’d go to the park and feed the birds. I used to love Bookbinder’s. I thought it hung the moon. And I loved getting Philly hoagies and steak sandwiches. It was the best.

Fact or fiction: You never wanted to be an actress.

Fact. I was in New York, trying to be a photographer. But it was such an elite world, a very hard world to break into. I was also taking acting classes just so I’d have a place to go every day. An agent saw me and thought I was cute. The whole teen thing was taking off. She snatched me up, got me a commercial for the Theater of Virginia and I was hooked.

Fact or fiction: You made your film debut in In & Out.

Fiction. I was cut out of the final film but I was on the set for months, getting to watch my favorite actress, Joan Cusack, at work. If Dianne Wiest had been in the film, I would have felt like I died and gone to heaven. I really fell in love with acting on the set of that movie.

Are you happy with the way your career is going at the moment?

I was happy with a commercial for Theater of Virginia! I’m happy to be here talking about what little career I might or might not have. I’m happy to be in A Guy Thing. I’m happy to be in Todd’s movie. I could die right now–career-wise. I never thought I’d get a job. Forget acting. Any job. I was afraid to leave college. But I guess God provides.

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