Privacy rare commodity with Internet, Ribisi says



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Giovanni Ribisi says the Internet has changed the way celebrities operate.


The Internet has changed the way some celebrities do business.

Some use websites to their advantage, while others use their energies to shun the online attention at all costs.

Actor Giovanni Ribisi (Flight Of The Phoenix, Lost In Translation) doesn’t worry much about the attention anymore, but admits it did come to mind on the set of the new thriller Perfect Stranger, in which he plays Miles Haley, a Machiavellian researcher helping reporter Rowena Price (Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry) solve a murder mystery.

In the film, Ribisi’s character helps his reporter friend go undercover in chat rooms in an attempt to prove powerful ad executive Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis) killed their mutual friend. But, along the way, the line between privacy and piracy becomes painfully blurred.

“I think for me, personally, that’s part and parcel of the job and I used to try to shun that and say this is my life. I have a kid and the whole thing, but this is the life that I’ve accepted and the path that I’ve gone down and that’s just part of it,” the 32-year-old actor says of the attention that he and other stars receive in the media, and in particular with the advent of the Internet.

He’s fully aware of the problems online coverage can create for celebrities trying desperately to protect their privacy. All too often, fictional tidbits in chat rooms and fan sites are presented as fact in daily papers and evening gossip programs.

“Ultimately, I think at the bottom of all this is a sort of value system that I think is being lost on all of us,” Ribisi says of the willingness of the public to accept intrusions into celebrities’ lives, as well as perceived truths on the Internet. “People are online and on Myspace establishing relationships as opposed to what it was 10 years ago, when you actually had to go out and meet somebody.”

While his character in Perfect Stranger manages to hack into another person’s online profile and manipulate their conversations, Ribisi thinks the time has come for greater policing of a medium that, until recently, has been like a communications Wild West, minus the sheriff to take down mischievous hackers or criminals.

“I think there does need to be regulations. We’re sort of in the insipient stages of the Internet and at the beginning of that, I think people are seeded and comfortable and used to that,” he says.

“But I think a person’s privacy goes along with their possessions and if you’re going along spuriously or sneaking into somebody’s private life without them knowing, it, I wouldn’t condone that.”

  • Perfect Stranger opens in theatres Friday.