About Features Reviews Community Screenings Archives Home
January 2004
The Perfect Score : An Interview with Erika Christensen

By Julian Roman

The Perfect Score: An Interview with Erika Christensen

The Perfect Score might be The Breakfast Club for its generation. The film is good, but it probably will be remembered more for its cast. Erika Christensen is one of the most promising actresses in the new cadre of Hollywoodís young stars. Her performance in Traffic and subsequent movie roles has proven her dramatic range. She does good work in The Perfect Score, playing a new character for her, a normal high school girl. Erika was very engaging during the interview with blackfilm.com. She has a lot of personality and seems very professional. She talks about The Perfect Score, stardom, and her future slate of films, including the Kevin Costner-Joan Allen vehicle The Upside of Anger.

How did you do on your SAT's?

EC: How did I do? (Laughs) I didn't take it. I was working through that period in my life. Although now I'm very curious, I've been asked many times. I'm thinking about taking it just to find out.

So you never needed that score or had any pressure to get into college?

EC: No, I didn't plan on going to college, at least not a full-time schedule. I still have that plan. I may take some individual classes at some point, as an indulgence. I was working and the kind of stresses I had was important auditions and talking to people I really respected.

Chris Evans (Kyle) said the audition process was much more stressful than the SAT could ever be. Do you agree with that?

EC: Yes, I think it's all self imposed, self-inflicted, whatever you want to say. It depends, but it can be really stressful. Those auditions, you sit down, and literally the whole time you're there they scrutinize you, and you know that. But you can't take it personally. I just have to prepare. If I'm prepared to do what I thing I'm wanted to do then I do that. Try to get a good night's rest, I always think better well rested.

How easy or hard was it to get into your character?

EC: I think it was easy because everyone can relate to the stress. She's one of those people who doesn't know what she wants. Asking yourself that question is huge to anybody. I think it's pretty easily relatable, the struggles that she has.

What about her as the brainy daughter, where you more of a rebel?

EC: I'm a good girl. I can definitely find that similarity between us. I'm more focused. I gather momentum whichever direction I'm moving. If I put my attention on work then I do really well.

Did your parents try and steer you?

EC: Fortunately not, when I was younger, like five, they put me in acting. I didn't know if I wanted to do it. They became paranoid they were being "those pushy parents". So they stopped and when I was twelve, I realized I did want to do it. They gave me a little trial period and I did really well, started making money, and they were like this is a good deal. Let's do it.

When you were twelve you were in the Childhood music video with Michael Jackson. Tell us about that?

EC: Wow, is that in my biography? (Laughs) I wish I could have met him, I didn't. We were green screened together. In the video he's sitting in a forest and all the kids are in boats above him. He sent me an autographed photo and that was nice.

Did all the kids ask you what Michael was like?

EC: Yes, and I had to disappoint them and say I didn't get to meet him.

What appealed to you about the script?

EC: A lot of reasons, When I read the script I thought it was going to be fun. Its Breakfast Club meets Ocean's Eleven meets The Italian Job, something really fun. I liked my character. I liked that she was a nice person, because I haven't always played nice people. I haven't always played someone who appears to have an ordinary sort of life. I liked her struggle. I think it's important to really ask yourself what do you want, if you're going to be happy. The cast was good, it was well cast, a lot of reasons.

What do you do when you're not acting?

EC: I spend time with my family. I watch movies. I don't get to do that as much as I want to, but when I'm flying around like this I get see them. I do go dancing. I love to dance and sing. I love to travel, although a lot of that comes with this territory as well. I study my religion, visit my family in Seattle, go to the gym, all that good stuff.

Is there a dream role you would like to play?

EC: I have a lot of dream roles. Yes (starts to clap) singing and dancing, musicals are back! I want to be in one or two or however many. I'd love to. I want to be in an action movie, a real action movie. I just got a little taste in The Perfect Score. I want to do an action movie where they say go the gym and get ripped like Linda Hamilton. I want to do a sweeping romance. I just did Wuthering Heights, a modern adaptation that had musical elements, and that was fun. It's a tragic story; I wanted a better one.

You seem very together, do you have moments when you lose it?

EC: Meeting other actors, sometimes they're not really outgoing and I mellow out, get a little tongue-tied. But I've met a lot of people that are really genuine and talkative.

Will you be watching the new mini-series of Traffic?

EC: Yes, I do want to see it. I think it's such a feat for the writers, to take a mini-series into a film, and back to TV. I'm very curious to see how it goes.

Not having a typical childhood was there something about these characters that remind you of something you may have missed?

EC: I think, in my own way, I've experienced some the same things. Making a movie, on location, is like going to camp. You see the same people everyday. It's a microcosm of like, where if you say something wrong, you'll see that person the next day. There's no escaping it, rumors fly. No it was great. I did in my high school years, even though I didn't go to a regular high school, was able to go to prom with friends. For me my life has worked out perfectly. I don't have any regrets.

What can you tell us about Riding the Bullet and The Upside of Anger?

EC: I'm really looking forward to these movies. Riding the Bullet is based on a Stephen King short story, adapted and directed by Mick Garris, who has experience with Stephen's work. It's, if you ask me, is about opening up and being able to appreciate life and love. It takes place in 69 or 68; my character sort of epitomizes the time. She's carefree and loving, open to life, Jonathan Jackson, who the movie is centered around, is very closed and very dark. It's his journey of opening up with the help of Stephen King's creativity. And David Arquette. The Upside of Anger is going to be great; I'm so excited about it!

That's Kevin Costner right?

EC: Kevin Costner and Joan Allen, who does not love Joan Allen? She's fantastic, so cool as a person. She's our mother, it's about a family, there are four daughters, Alicia Witt, Kerri Russell, Evan Rachel Wood, and myself. It's a great cast and it's written and directed by Mike Binder. He stars in it too. It's a bunch of us over a period of three years. It's very dramatic and funny. It's really character driven. I'm looking forward to see it so much.

Is Mike Binder the same Mike Binder from The Mind of the Married Man?

EC: That's right, The Mind of the Married Man, is Mike Binder the married man? (Laughs)

Well how many Mike Binder's are there?

EC: (Laughs) He's the single one, no, that's THE Mike Binder.


Terms of Use | Privacy Policy