In the new comedy "We're the Millers," the "Friends" star, now 44, plays an aging stripper who pretends to be a mom to help a schlub (Jason Sudeikis) smuggle weed out of Mexico. The film has proved a monster hit in the United States, making the actress big again at the multiplex.
You're in the tabloids a lot. What do you dislike most about fame?
That people see artists as gods, when we are simple humans. It seems that our life, it’s part of the development of the world — that if I get married, if I am mad with somebody, if I am pregnant … that shouldn’t be that important. I think people should pay more attention to other stuff, because nothing is what it seems, we are not as magnificent as you might think.
Your character in the film, Rose, doesn't leave much to the imagination.
[Laughs] The character is a stripper and I have to do a sensual dance. I have been in several clubs and had an amazing choreographer who taught me this beautiful dance I perfected for weeks and weeks. It wasn’t easy to do it, I was quite intimidated, but in the end I think it wasn’t so bad, is it? [Laughs]
You looked like a pro.
I went to a gym for weeks and weeks — the coach put me on a strict diet and that gives you certain confidence. The hardest part was to go up the stairs in a sexy way.
Do you approach a character like this as if she's real? Give her a backstory?
I think she is a sad striptease dancer who has built a tough appearance because she had many disappointments through her life, mainly by choosing the wrong men. I think the anger turns to sadness and that we learn with life. So that’s how I got into the character. Playing with the cliche about being mother and wife was easier than I expected, and it had more to do with the experiences during my career, which has the result of many contrasts.
Is comedy a genre that attracts you or has it been accidental?
I love to make people laugh. It’s something I really like and comedies are something very fun. I made few dramas, but I think I tend to gravitate toward comedies because they fit me. I want to do a horror film, something like "The Exorcist," with some psychological fear.
In 'We're the Millers' you pretend to be a mom. How did that feel?
I have to confess that I already feel like a mother, because I have many friends who are moms and I spend a lot of time with them. … I’m very maternal. We are mothers from birth, either in the role of sisters, girlfriends and everything. It’s an instinct I have had for many, many years, but it will come in time. They say that nature is wise and so am I. [Laughs]
The movie shows a certain side of Mexico — the Sudeikis character tries to smuggle weed from there. How do you feel about the country?
I’ve never agreed with labels to countries, about violence or insecurity. The film was shot partly in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but not in Mexico itself. I’m a frequent visitor to Mexico’s beaches, I usually spend my holidays in Los Cabos. I love going to Mexico because it is near and the people are very kind and they have a wonderful work ethic.