Kate and Leopold
Interviews with Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman
By Ross Anthony

Meg Ryan enters the room with an open smile and cup of coffee. A multitude of recorders and microphones lay out on the table in front of her, she searches for a place to set her coffee. Somehow that tickles her and our table of journalists, prompting laughter all around.

PRESS: Why did you choose "Kate and Leopold?"

MR: It's got a swanky, Henry Mancini kind of vibe to it. She [Kate] has to go from this head-logic to heart-logic. [And] I wanted to work with Jim [Mangold].

PRESS: What is it about Jim?

MR: He's so smart and so excited talking about the film. He played music he had in mind for each scene.

PRESS: What is your impression of the test screening process?

MR: It's a vicious terrible business that way and they're so cold. Thank goodness I'm not privy to a lot of it. They rip you apart in those things... They try to keep [that information] from me... The flaw is the assumption that one audience will be representative of all audiences.

PRESS: What's your idea of the perfect romantic evening?

MR: Okay, well, that's changing... (Laughs all around). Do something fantastic, fun, and great and then go to the Lenox Lewis -- Tyson fight.

PRESS: You're a boxing fan?

MR: Yeah, I really want to go to that fight though. I'm doing a movie about it, so I started really getting into it. I have now been boxing and watching fights and it's so fun. If you watch fights with the right people, it's a really good time.

PRESS: What is it about boxing?

MR: It's a very primitive sport and I like that, it's a gutter sport, I like the whole world around it. I like so many of the personalities.

RA: That's the new perfect romantic evening, what was the old one?

MR: (Laughs.)

PRESS: How about working with Hugh?

MR: He's better than you'd actually think. He takes a philosophy seminar all weekend. I mean who does that? His wife is this fantastic woman.

PRESS: How about Kate, can you relate to her lifestyle?

MR: I can relate to the energies of your life being distributed in such a way that your life becomes out of whack. She's taken all of her energy of her life and put it into her career to the detriment of her life and I can relate to that ...Sometimes I'm out of balance, I mean Kate's way out of balance.

PRESS: What's the worst job you had to do before becoming famous.

MR: I had some bad jobs, but they didn't seem that bad. I was a waitress, a salad bar girl at the Ponderosa, a checkout girl at a grocery store.

PRESS: What do you think about Chivalry these days?

MR: I heard that chivalry was dead, but I think it's just got a bad flue. It's sort of around in a way that it's so rare when it happens, it's so exciting when it happens. In the past 20 years there's been a lot of mixed signals how men and women can relate to one another. As soon as women have gotten a certain amount of confidence in the work place ... acts of chivalry seem less like condescension and more like polite gestures of respect. It's not just a lack on the part of men, it's an inability to receive on the part of women.

PRESS: What's it like to read about yourself in the tabloids?

MR: I had so many mixed feelings, it was very painful. My lawyers thought a lot of the stuff was actionable and I'd have to decide should we sue or just go on. It was a catch 22 situation because neither Dennis or I are ever going to talk about the reasons for our divorce ... it was all left to supposition. It's just par for the course, it's just the fame game anyway.

PRESS: Perhaps that's a reason for this boxing thing?

MR: (Laughs) I've never taking anyone else's definition of myself as myself, so it wasn't as devastating as it could have been. I can't go around to every person who's ever read a tabloid and go, (silly desperate voice) "This is the real story." I can't make all those calls. You get very humbled by it, it's just going to go on, there's nothing I can do.

PRESS: And doing this film?

MR: I was grateful because I was surrounded by really lovely people at a very hard time in my life... so I was grateful to have this job.

Hugh Jackman enters with a big smile, joking a bit with a fellow Aussie journalist at the table.

PRESS: How do you deal with this new attention?

HJ: It hasn't really manifested yet, Leopold is such a great character, but let's be clear here, I'm certainly no Leopold in life. I mean, I grew up with English parents and my father being very English in terms of manners at the table etc. etc..... Lots of rules, specifically the English that came to Australia who were middle class, they're the ones that aspired to be upper class. We had all of that growing up. I'd go around to my friends' houses and none of my friends wanted to come to mine because it was so formal. So I kind of revolted against it. And now I'm doing this movie and etiquette coaching really made me love it. It's an art form. It's a system of treating the other person as more important than yourself. It's the opposite about what I thought. I thought manners were all about shutting you up and keeping you quite.

PRESS: How have those lessons effected your real life?

HJ: My wife likes it .. she's getting a few more flowers these days ... but she still yells from the [bathroom] "Put that toilet seat down, Leopold!" (Laughs all around). But it's fading these days, I'm going back to how I was.

PRESS: And the British accent?

HJ: The accent is weird for Australians to put on because upper class English in my childhood, generally, were always the bad guy or the "wally" and somehow not the guy you liked, not the charming leading man. When I first put on the accent, I felt a little silly.

PRESS: How about the fame from X-Men?

HJ: Three years ago I was on stage in London, I had no idea what X-Men was going to do for me. Now, I'm just worried about my right for my child to grow up as a kid. Other than that, I just go with it as it comes.

PRESS: Will your son follow your lead?

HJ: I don't think I'll encourage him. Deb's adamant ... she's worked on enough films with child actors ... "ah no, at school, but not professionally, not till he's older. " [She says.]

RA: At what age did you start acting?

HJ: Five. I actually graduated as a journalist though - radio. I love radio. I love the portability of it. At fifteen I really wanted to be a talk show host.

Director/co-writer James Mangold

About actors:

JM: Being true means you have to bring a piece of yourself along with you.

About his contribution as co-writer:

JM: In the original script, Kate was a scientist at a laboratory that had a time machine. I was the one that made Kate an executive...there was no JJ. Liev's character didn't exist.

About making films:

JM: It's all about the characters... It's what I hope unites my movies is that they're all kind of earnest -- maybe overly earnest, I do like being a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Thursday, 21-Oct-2010 15:21:45 PDT