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Tara Reid Interviews

Actress Tara Reid defies all first impressions. The 25-year-old seems like a typical haughty blond starlet: Wearing jeans and a tight black tee, she saunters into a Manhattan restaurant looking totally disinterested in giving up her afternoon to do an interview. But after 15 minutes, she reels you in and makes you feel like her best friend. Perhaps it's her deep, throaty voice that comes out almost in a whisper--as if she's telling you her deepest, darkest secrets. It may be the way the American Pie stunner makes sure she orders something the two of you can share ("How about we split a Cobb salad?") and then she eats with un-Hollywoodlike abandon. Or perhaps it's simply that this sweet and friendly New Jersey native, however smoking hot she may be, comes across as the girl next door.

A year post-Pie, Reid is having a damn good time. She's awaiting this month's release of Robert Altman's comedy Dr. T and the Women and getting ready to go to band camp-literally-for her part as a drummer in next year's Josie and the Pussycats. In her downtime, she's psyched up to hang with her boyfriend of seven months, MTV's Carson Daly (the two just moved into a Manhattan apartment together,) and talk to Cosmo about her fun new flick, the sexy bar dance that changed her life, and the movies she's glad she never did.

Q: In Dr.T, you narc out your sister (played by Kate Hudson). Did you ever do that in real life?
A: No, they tattled on me-sometimes about stuff I didn't even do. My older brother would throw parties and tell my parents they were mine. I didn't have a ton of friends growing up, so if I had thrown a party, there would only have been like one person there.

Q: Why were you so lonely?
A: All the other girls were different than me. I was wearing Doc Martens and people thought I was crazy. No one understood. The only people I hung out with were older than me.

Q: Do you have friends now?
A: I have Carson, and I swear he's my best friend. He's who I share everything with.

Q: No girlfriends?
A: I have like two or three cool girlfriends. But I like doing boy things, so it's perfect with Carson and me. We'll play darts, go to a bar, listen to a band, whatever.

Q: How did you two meet?
A: I was invited to Cancun to judge an MTV contest. I decided to go at the last minute. Carson was there too, and from the moment we met, we couldn't get enough of each other. That night, we wound up getting up on a bar to dance, and we started kissing. When we stopped, a thousand kids were staring at us with their video cameras going.

Q: And that was the beginning...
A: Oh yeah. Everything he does turns me on--everything. We could be high-fiving each other and the next minute we'll be kissing, and the next minute we'll be talking business. We have such extreme levels to our relationship, and that's awesome. And he's the most romantic guy in the world. When God decided to make a perfect man, I swear he created Carson.

Q: What about getting married?
A: We talk about it, I mean, I think we will.

Q: And he's in the same business, but not completely?
A: Exactly. He understands the pressure, but he's not an actor, so he's not spoiled like a lot of guy actors I know are. That would drive me crazy. But lately, he's gotten offers and I'm going, "Oh no."

Q: He has a huge following,right?
A: Being with Carson is kind of like being with Elvis sometimes.

Q: That must make it hard to go out in public together.
A: I feel like just because people know who we are, that doesn't mean we can't be normal people. But sometimes Carson and I go to New Jersey shopping mall in baseball caps and wigs that disguise us.

Q: Since Carson is a music freak, did you have to learn all about it to keep up?
A: Absolutely. If you looked at my CD collection you would laugh. I'ts got stuff like The Little Mermaid sound track and Kathie Lee's Christmas album.

Q: What's the first thing you two bought for your apartment?
A: Well, we got a bed, because we needed it [laughs]. But then we bought this beautiful mahogany bar. We have shakers, blenders--every glass you can think of.

Q: Sounds like a party every night.
A: Not really. We do like to have our friends over for margaritas. But Carson and I have seen so many people go down with drugs, we have no desire to do them. Neither one of us has even tried them.

Q: You started acting really young...
A: I knew I wanted to act by the time I was 5. There was never anything else I wanted to do, so I went to The Professional Children's School in Manhattan, and later, I did commercials.

Q: What was that like?
A: Well, I commuted to high school in New York City. I had to go over the bridge every day on public transportation from my hometown in New Jersey to New York. And people would say, "Oh. you're from Jersey?" in a really negative way. New Jersey gets a bad rap. But all of those mean comments made me tough.

Q: When you got a part on Days of our Lives when you were 20, did you think you were in the big time?
A: Honey, I knew it. I was thrilled. I thought I could go anywhere from there. Of course, that wasn't true. But I'm ambitious, and when I want something, there is no stopping me.

Q: But American Pie was your first hit...
A: Yup. Everyone said not to do it, but I just knew it was right. Now, strangers yell, "Hey, Vicky!" or tell me they loved the film.

Q: Do you beat yourself up if you don't get a role you want?
A: I used to. I didn't get the part in Wild Things [that Denise Richards played]. And I thought it was going to be huge. I didn't get the role Kate Beckinsale did in Brokedown Palace. And if Claire Danes didn't do The Mod Squad, that part was going to be mine. I cried like a baby when I was turned down.

Q:How did you get over it?
A:I've learned that whatever happens is for the best. Now who remembers any of those films? I'm a true believer in fate and destiny. Because even if I had done some of those movies, I would have never gone to Cancun and never met Carson. You just have to accept the cards you are dealt.

Q:Is that the big lesson you've learned about Hollywood?
A:Yeah. And I've realized that the more successful I've gotten, the more humble I've become. Before, I would be angry at this or that. I don't get upset that easily anymore.

By: Alyson Hannigan

When it comes to making movie magic, actress Tara Reid knows it isn't what you say but how you say it. And it isn't what you look like on camera, it's how you look at the other actors. Look out for her, though, because she's about to hit it big.

Earlier this year, in the TV film, What We Did That Night, Tara Reid played a tease picked up in a diner by four college guys who want her to participate in a dangerous prank. She takes a shine to the sweetest of them (Jack Noseworthy) when they're left alone in an indoor swimming pool; dangling her feet in the water, she opens her eyes wide in sexual invitation while mocking his prissy diction. Later on, she taunts his friends and is apparently shot dead by Noseworthy's dupe while they're making out. She doesn't actually die, but since she doesn't reappear, the movie does.

Reid neglects this TV flick when describing her feature roles to date in the following interview with her friend and American Pie costar Alyson Hannigan. That suggests she didn't care for the trashy part or realize her performance was brilliant--as humorous, sexy, and knowing as Gloria Grahame's spellbinding noir floozies in The Big Heat (1953) and Human Desire (1954) or Annette Bening's in The Grifters (1990). With her gurgly laugh, almost tangible glow, and whip-smart line readings, Reid could be a Grahame for the 2000s--we should be so lucky. Then again, she's thoroughly convincing as American Pie's anxious virgin, so go figure.

GRAHAM FULLER, ALYSON HANNIGAN: Hello, I'm here with the most important Tara Reid. Oh, Miss Reid, thank you so much for doing this interview. I'm so excited to get the chance to interview you because I'm such a big fan and--

TARA REID: Shut up.

AH: [laughs] You grew up in New Jersey. Do you think that prepared you for Hollywood?

TR: I don't think anything prepares you for Hollywood. Maybe the one thing New Jersey gave me was the small-town-girl thing; I think that helps me in certain aspects of different roles.

AH: I don't really think of Jersey as a small-town kind of place.

TR: Well, that's because you think of Jersey as, like, Newark Airport or the beach. But where I come from in Jersey [Wyckoff] is actually a little town, and everyone knows everyone, and we all grew up together.

AH: Did you always know you wanted to be an actress?

TR: Yeah. Anytime I watched a movie or a TV show, I'd want to repeat the performance. I remember watching Drew Barrymore in E.T. [1982] and thinking: I want to be her, I could do that. The same with Firestarter [1984] - the one where she blew up things. I love that idea, killing everyone with your eyes.

AH: Did you tell your parents you wanted to act?

TR: I did. When I was two, I went shopping with my mom at the Garden State Plaza and she went to get pizza. My brother and I were standing on this table, and I started singing and dancing and screaming. My mom was like, "Tara, get down." This talent manager happened to be there at the time, and she came up to my mom and said, "Your daughter's so cute, she should do commercials." That's how I got my start.

AH: If you weren't an actress, what would you be?

TR: A race-car driver. It'd get my aggression out.

AH: Is that your second passion?

TR: I've never actually done it. But I love driving fast and, like, maneuvering through tight spaces.

AH: Sounds like acting, with all the competition there is. What was the first job you got after you moved to L.A.?

TR: The first big one was The Big Lebowski [1998]. I liked playing Bunny Lebowski. She's crazy and fun, the kind of girl you would almost love to hate, but you can't 'cause she's cool.

AH: So how much do you resemble Bunny?

TR: There's definitely a bit of me in there --the part of her that's painting her toenails by the pool with a little drink in her hand.

AH: She's a trophy wife!

TR: Yeah, but that's the one thing I wouldn't be, and I wouldn't tell a guy I'd suck his cock for a thousand dollars.

AH: Do people still ask you about that infamous line?

TR: All the time. I'll never live it down.

AH: [laughs] Are you afraid that by doing roles like that you're going to end up being typecast as the bikini-clad girlfriend?

TR: No, because that's the only one I've played. After The Big Lebowski, I played a hippie girl who makes this guy go into drug rehab in Around the Fire [1999]. Then I did Girl [1999], where I played a lesbian rock star, and Urban Legend [1998], in which I was a radio sex therapist, like a female version of Howard Stern. I'm the all-American girl in American Pie, and in [the upcoming] Body Shots I play this girl struggling through the kind of disastrous night I think everyone has. And in the comedy I'm doing now [The Visitors] I'm a gardener. I think everything I've done is so different.

AH: Which one was the most fulfilling?

TR: They've all been fulfilling in their own ways, but the one my heart's closest to is Body Shots because I felt I got to show more colors as an actress. It's this kind of Rashomon-like drama where you see the story from the different perspectives of my character and [costar] Jerry O'Connell's.

AH: What appealed to you about American Pie?

TR: That it wasn't your normal teenage ensemble movie. Everyone who sees it will be able to identify with one of the characters. I think my character is probably the most serious one. It's not that she's a goody-goody and doesn't want to have sex--she just wants it to be right when she does. I wanted that the first time I had sex, but it wasn't the greatest time in the world. So I liked that she was trying to plan it right, because if I had to go back and do it again, I would do it differently.

AH: How would you?

TR: Probably just with a different guy. [laughs]

AH: You didn't care about the guy?

TR: I did. At the time I probably thought he was the best thing. And it was OK--it wasn't bad--but it would have been better if he'd been my first real boyfriend.

AH: Are the more flirty roles you play easier than, say, the one in American Pie?

TR: No role is necessarily easier than any other, whether it's flirty or non-flirty. It depends on who your partner in the scene is. When there's no chemistry, it's definitely not easier.

AH: Have you ever been in that situation?

TR: Yes, I have. But I'm not going to say in what.

AH: [laughs] Well, it shows what a good actress you are because I haven't been able to tell which film it was. Do you have any rules you live by, do's and don'ts?

TR: One of them--it's kind of my motto in life--is "work hard, party hard."

AH: Do you consider yourself ambitious?

TR: I know for sure I want to keep working - it's truly my love right now. I guess I feel I have to talk seriously [with industry people] and say what I want, because if I don't, I think they sometimes misjudge me. I don't know if people look at me and think, She's actually pretty smart. But I am. And I feel like I have good focus and good values and morals. I don't want people thinking, Oh, she's another pretty blonde actress - one of fifty of them. I'm not just one of fifty.

AH: Are you happy?

TR: I'm happy I'm doing what I've dreamed about since I was a little kid, and sometimes I want to pinch myself because it's happening. What I'm missing now in my life is true friendship and love. This is a lonely business and it's hard to make good friends in it. I'd like to have someone to go home to and share stuff with. I'm not saying I want a husband, but I wouldn't mind someone there. And touch is so important. Like, just once in a while, someone I know will say, "Hey! How are you?" And they'll just touch my arm, and I'll want to cry. That's retarded, I know, but I find lately that I'm so emotional--I don't know what it is.

AH: OK. New Year's Eve, 1999, at 11:59 P.M. to January 1, 2000, at 12:01 A.M.: What will you be doing? You've got two minutes there.

TR: Hopefully I'll have a boyfriend by then, and I'll just kiss him for two minutes.

AH: One last but relevant question. What's your favorite toe?

TR: This one.

AH: That would be the long one next to the big toe.

TR: Yeah. On my right foot. [laughs]

AH: So, readers, she likes the little piggy that stayed home. That's kind of symbolic. [laughs]

COPYRIGHT 1999 Brant Publications, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

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"It would be the ultimate dream for me to win an Academy Award, be in love and have kids. Then I would say, 'Life is great! I have done everything I wanted.' I keep trying to get closer to that. I also think when that happens, people will finally leave me alone."

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