This is an edited reprint of our interview from the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival. "It's a Disaster" opens on in New York and LA on April 12th. It's currently available on VOD.Julia Stiles has had a long and varied career since her breakout role opposite Heath Ledger in "10 Things I Hate About You," the '90s high school adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew." Since then she's been a Jason Bourne accomplice, danced with death on TV's "Dexter," delivered David Mamet dialogue on stage, and currently has a spate of new high profile film roles coming up. We caught up with the New Yorker on the phone on the eve of the world premiere of her latest flick, "It's a Disaster."
"It's a Disaster" isn't a straight comedy, it's a delicate balance of tone between serious relationship and life issues with more absurdist situational, character-driven comedic moments. But it's definitely a step in a new direction for Stiles, and she is rewarded with some of the best lines in the film. She referred to this new direction saying, "one of the reasons I really liked this comedy is because it's a different style of comedy, it's not very broad, there are characters that are broad, but I thought it was the perfect set up for a situation. It was very character based, so each character is responding in their own weird way." With a varied career crossing mutiple genres, she described her process in choosing films as "it doesn't really matter the medium, it doesn't really matter the size of the movie, if it's a studio movie or an independent film, it doesn't matter if it's a web series or a play, for me my focus is on the material and working with the directors. I feel like a lot of the work that I've done, may seem, dare I say, eclectic, or all over the place, but that's only a reflection of my mood, one minute I'm interested in playing a girl who is brutally raped and then exacting revenge in 'Dexter' and it's very dark and serious, and then the next minute I want to do something lighter. One minute I really am in awe of filmmakers and I want to be working in film, and then the next minute I get the itch to get back on stage."
Speaking of choices in projects, Stiles recently did the web series "Blue" and of course featured among the ensemble in David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" and has the new John Crowley thriller "Closed Circuit" with Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall, which she shot in London last year ("It's a political thriller about a bomb that goes off in London and I play a journalist"). Of course, with "The Bourne Legacy" hitting theaters last summer, we had to ask about her character's role (or lack of) in that reboot of the franchise in which she starred in three installments. Stiles said, "Once Tony Gilroy ended up writing and directing it, I think that really changed the whole scope of the story. I was at a screening of the movie and Tony came up to me and was very apologetic, but also explained to me that he wanted to find a way to fit in my character, but it didn't work and it's largely because she's so tied to Matt Damon's character."