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June 2004
Garfield: An Interview with Jennifer Love Hewitt

By Todd Gilchrist

Garfield: An Interview with Jennifer Love Hewitt

Jennifer love Hewitt is well-known for her updates of scream queens like Jamie lee Curtis in such horror films as that "I Know What You Did Last Summer" series, but with the release of "Garfield: The Movie", she returns to the sweetheart roles that won the hearts of millions in movies like "Can't Hardly Wait". As Liz, she's not only Garfield's veterinarian, but his owner Jon's love interest, and Hewitt discussed her own romantic prospects of late along with her discussion of the travails of acting against a wisecracking, computer-generated cat.


HOW WAS IT WORKING WITH ANIMALS?

Hewitt: It was good. These dogs are amazing. I mean, Garfield wasn't there so I can't say that much, I mean, he's amazing, and looks amazing in the movie and the animators did such a good job with him I can't even believe it. But, the dog show sequence with all the dogs? Unbelievable. You know, it's very hard to be outshined by shar-peis, let me just tell you. I'm like, OK, the Dobermans have like a brilliant close-up. The shar-pei is frigging hilarious. And what's going on with this dachsund? They were all, these dogs would just like go and hit their mark, and they'd have these little facial expressions and they'd do the thing, it was amazing. It was amazing. I would do it again in a heartbeat. They were hilarious.


IS THAT WHAT DREW YOU?

Hewitt: Yeah. I really wanted to do kind of see how the whole process would work, and I really wanted to be a part of a movie where kids could go, and like throw candy at the screen and popcorn, and yell at Garfield for being mean to Odie and tell Odie not to go in that room, and do all that stuff. So I'm excited to actually get to see it for the first time. I've seen it, but I haven't seen it with kids.


WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT DRESSING TOO GROWN UP FOR KIDS? YOUR RED DRESS IS FABULOUS.

Hewitt: Thank you very much. You're my favorite. No, I didn't think about it. It's funny because when I saw the movie I was like, wow. That looks a little tawdrier than I remember. When we were doing the movie, I mean, I was in a hot pink suit with like fluffy hair, and , you know, big eyelashes ,and also very sort of cartoony and young and, you know, and I'm in flats where I'm normally in heels, and that's the only time I wore heels in the movie. And that red dress did not look like that in person. And then when we were watching the movie I was like, weird, I'm a little tarty for the movie. Because it did, it looked a little more va-va-voom than I remembered. But no, that was not our intention. Our intention was to sort of be Doris Day's modern something.


ARE YOU A FAN OF THE COMIC?

Hewitt: Yeah. I've only read the comics that were in the papers and stuff like that. But I was a fan of the cartoon, in school, on Saturday mornings with my friends and stuff. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN THE ONE TO ASK THE NERVOUS GUY OUT?

Hewitt: Yeah. I, in the process of dating, probably do more of the acting out than getting asked, because guys do not ask anymore. It's a horrible thing.


WHEN DID IT STOP?

Hewitt: When I started dating. Because I've never had a guy ask me out. No, I've literally, in my entire life I've had two guys come up to me and ask me out. Other than that I have had to go and try to like spend time with them, or sort of start the conversation, basically like spell it out in a Sharpie, like, you know? Or else they don't get it.


WHAT'S THE THEORY ON THAT?

Hewitt: I don't know. I think guys are really nervous, and I think guys, honestly, maybe somehow in the female empowerment thing we've taken a little too far now, and we have allowed guys to think that we don't want to be girls. There's a difference between wanting to be respected and being a strong female and being known for being able to do things, but still very much wanting guys to open the door, wanting them to ask us out, still bringing flowers and stuff like that. And one of my guy friends was the one who brought that to my attention, he goes, 'honestly, we're at a loss. We're just at a loss for what to do anymore.' And he says, 'because if we open the door for you, or we buy flowers or we ask you out, then we're thinking that you're less of a strong woman than you are.' And I'm like, 'that's not true, that's not what we were trying to accomplish here. We don't want to be guys, we just want to be respected and maybe be a little bit stronger.' So I think honestly it's because guys are at a loss at this point. So I think somehow trying to take a female thing, maybe we took it a little too far, or maybe he misunderstood it, probably they misunderstood it, because they're men. But anyway. I'm just picking on you, because you're close. But you know what I mean?, I think that maybe there's a misunderstanding. Y


OU DON'T THINK IT HAS TO DO WITH YOUR FAME?

Hewitt: I don't think so. I don't really consider myself famous, so I hope not. Because if so, there are many more, much more famous people that they can be nervous about than me. No, I hope not. I don't think that's part of it. Could be, but I don't think so. I hope not.


IS THE PERSON YOU'RE CURRENTLY WITH, DID YOU ASK HIM OUT?

Hewitt: Who am I currently with?


I DON'T KNOW, YOU TELL ME.

Hewitt: I had a feeling that's where that was going. You know what? I recently in my dating life have really decided that guys are going to have to like kind of come to me at this point. It just leaves you feeling more hurt when you're the one that kind of goes out and does all the work. I'm a hopeless romantic, and I am very much the person in a relationship to go, if things are going well, I'll buy the flowers, I'll remember the dates of things, I'll plan fun nights out, I'll do all of that stuff and then if they don't really want to be with me or it doesn't work out, then I'm like, 'I've done everything possible.' So I think lately in my dating life I have been much subdued and tried not to do as much of that. Which has left me without a lot of dating recently. But that's fine. I would rather the next guy that I go out with, or whatever that's going to be, contrary to what they write in the tabloids, I would like for that guy to kind of come to me and say, 'Would you like to go out with me?' Do that thing. So I'm kind of waiting, I'm not going out there and doing the things I used to do. To be approached.


DO YOU THINK ACTORS SHOULD AVOID DATING ACTORS?

Hewitt: I don't know. I think you kind of have to go with your heart. If it's a doctor, great, if it's an actor, fabulous, if he's a plumber even better. Whatever it is. If he matches with you and makes you happy; I just think it's kind of up to you. I've dated some actors that you probably never want to go out with, but that's not because they're actors, it's because we didn't connect. You know what I mean? So I think it kind of depends on the person.


WHAT'S GOING ON WITH YOUR MUSIC?

Hewitt: Nothing at the moment. I did a couple of songs with Gordon Ballard. Juts kind of gathering stuff. I took so much time off last year and a little bit of the year before that to write music and stuff, that I've really gotten back into other things. I'm trying to get back into that now.


WHAT'S YOUR NEXT FILM?

Hewitt: I just wrapped a movie outside of London called 'The Truth About Love' which is a romantic comedy, kind of like 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' meets 'Bridget Jones' Diary'. I play an English girl. And it's with Dougray Scott] and Jimi Mistry . So I just wrapped that and then I'm going to Budapest to do the NBC miniseries, 'Musical Christmas Carol' with Kelsey Grammar and Jason Alexander and Jane Krakowski. I'm playing Emily, Ebenezer's first love. And I have like three scenes in the movie, so it's a small part, but.


WILL YOU DO MORE TV SOON?

Hewitt: I created a series for ABC, we shot the pilot. We did not get picked up. And then they just recently come back and now it might get picked up. We're not sure. Yeah, I think. We're in flux. I don't really know what's happening with it. So I just kind of put it out of my mind and it was not good news a while ago so I just dealt with that, and so I just kind of go we'll see what they say.


SO IT WILL HAVE TO BE THE RIGHT PROJECT?

Hewitt: Yeah. This is particularly something that I wanted to do. Something that, it was an idea I had something I created with these great writers, a part I really wanted to play. Something that I thought would be enjoyed by many different types of people that watch television, and so that's something I really wanted to do. If it was something that came around and got picked up for this season, I'd be ecstatic about it. It's called 'In the Game,' and I play the on field reporter for ESPN, and it's a 25 year old single mom with a five year old. On ABC.


ON WHICH FIELD?

Hewitt: On the football field. Well, she does all kinds of sports. Her specialty is football, but it goes around. Basically what we're going to do is do segments of her reports from live sporting events.


WILL YOU SING IN 'CHRISTMAS CAROL'?

Hewitt: Oh, yeah. Which I'll be excited about.QUESTION: ARE THEY ORIGINAL SONGS?

Hewitt: I don't know. They just sent me the music and everything, so I haven't had a chance to kind of go through it yet. I think it's from the stage musical.


DO YOU HAVE ANY DOGS OR CATS?

Hewitt: I used to have an orange cat. His name was Chester. And I don't have him anymore, it's sad. But I have a dog now. Named Mia, and she's a Chihuahua. She's regular sized, though, but she's 13 pounds. She's from the Garfield school. She's, no she's a regular sized Chihuahua which is like the size of a Jack Russell. But still, 13 pounds. She's from the Garfield school of needing to eat a lot and loving food. And she can do the little dance, that Odie does when he needs food. That's right, trained by moi. So, Odie is kind of special but not that special. So, yeah, so I have a dog, and I love her, she's great.


WERE THE SPECIAL EFFECTS EASIER THAN IN 'TUXEDO'?

Hewitt: Yeah, except we didn't have Jackie Chan to make it all a lot easier. No, it was fine. The strange thing about seeing the movie is that Breckin [Meyer] and I shot one film, and then the animators did another film ,and then they put them together and they became this one thing. Because none of that stuff was going on. We had no idea why the camera was on a round circle thing, with this bump running underneath it. Breckin and I are like, 'Hello, we're over here, what are you doing? Why are you shooting that? You know, why are you shooting?' And then once you see that Garfield is underneath that thing, moving around, and there's a mouse running across the floor which is why they were shooting the floor for four hours, and all that stuff, it all made sense.


THEY DIDN'T HAVE A STUFFED ANIMAL FOR YOU TO PLAY WITH?

Hewitt: We had a gray bean bag. And the reason it was gray is because that blended into the color pallet and they couldn't. And then we eventually got a stuffed Garfield that was weight appropriate and everything like that. They had to have something, but we could never use it for the takes. We could always do one take holding it, just to kind of get mainly Breckin used to it, because he was the one that held him the most I didn't really hold him. That sounded horrible. 'Mainly to get Breckin used to it.' That sounded really bad, like I could do it and he couldn't, that's not the way I meant it. Sorry. Sorry, I've been talking all day. But then they would take it out for the main take and so we were, you know, holding there and doing that kind of thing.


DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING THAT WAS CUT?

Hewitt: No, I'm not really in the movie that much so they couldn't really cut anything out, thank God. I was nervous, because I was like, I wonder if all these things in the movie, what's going to be in there when I go to see it? But no. Everything was left in.


DID YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER BEFORE?

Hewitt: I'm going to be honest, I didn't know, because I watched the cartoon and everything and she isn't in the cartoon, so I didn't know that there was Liz the vet. Come to find out there's this whole group of Australian people who love Liz the vet. And here I am, I'm like 'Oh my God, I know nothing about her,' and they tell me this in then middle of filming. All these people are going to come out of nowhere and go like, 'you played her wrong,' and I'm like, sorry, I didn't know that she was a person. So, I'm hoping that they're OK with my performance as Liz in the movie, because she has like a fan club in Australia. I did not know this. I didn't know.


IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR 'DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER' TO COME OUT?

Hewitt: That's what you get for making a movie about Satan. That's all I'm going to say. I don't know. You know what, I have no idea with what's happening with that movie. All I know is it was a tremendous experience. I got to make Anthony Hopkins and work with him and Alec Baldwin, and Dan Aykroyd and I will be friends for life now because of that movie, and those are the three greatest things you could ask for.


WHAT ABOUT A THIRD 'LAST SUMMER'?

Hewitt: They talked about it for a while and then sort of gave up on it. Then I hear d they were going to make another one without any of the original cast in it, which would have been odd. Then they decided not to do that either. So no, I don't think there will be.


YOU WERE OPEN TO IT, THOUGH?

Hewitt: No. I was done with the fisherman. And my part could not have gotten any smaller. There was no.


ON 'PUNK'D' YOU LOOKED UPSET.

Hewitt: I was very upset. It was fine.


YOU DIDN'T WANT TO KILL ASHTON KUTCHER AFTER?

Hewitt: No, I didn't. I wanted to kill the person who punked me. It wasn't Ashton's fault. No, it was fine. It's amazing, because as I was sitting there I remember when I got into the lobby I looked around and I said, somebody is probably shooting one of those punked films right now. I remember thinking that in my head. And then my common sense flew right out the window and allowed me to get punked for 45 minutes. My punked went on, like you guys saw 20 minutes of it? It went on for an hour and 15 minutes, I was there probably shooting the thing. I am like, why am I not smarter than this? Why did I not figure this out? Now I'm convinced.


WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO SING A DUET WITH?

Hewitt: Gosh. Wow. Probably, I would love to do something with Usher, I think that would be really, really cool. I would love that.


I'M SURE HE'D LOVE IT TOO.

Hewitt: That's gross. No, we're not talking about it. It's just, I don't want to think about that. Justin Timberlake would be really cool, that would be so fun. I mean, I would love, love to get to sing a song with Bonnie Raitt. I think that would be really interesting.


ARE YOU IN GOOD SHAPE?

Hewitt: I am in the worst shape right now. Because for the movie in London they absolutely did not want me to work out because I was playing this woman who's been married for seven years and very sort of, incredibly normal, not supposed to be a person that ever goes to the gym. She's a nurse. She's, you know, whatever. So I have not worked out in months and months and months, so I look absolutely horrendous at this moment. But I don't do anything. I hate working out. I just absolutely hate it. So I box every once in a while, make it look like I'm doing something physical. And I go dancing. Dance clubs are good for that. Go sweat it out for like two hours, have fun with your friends. I am not a good workout person.


SO YOUR METABOLISM IS GOOD?

Hewitt: Yeah, no, it's pretty good. In like a year, yeah, in like a year I'll be like, oh no. It's gonna be, yeah, I'm going to have to figure out something soon, because my metabolism is not going to be like this forever. But I'm very lucky right now that it's OK.


HOW DID YOU CELEBRATE YOUR 25TH BIRTHDAY?

Hewitt: How did I celebrate my 25th birthday? I don't remember. What did I do? Bowling. I was bowling, and I had ad inner party. That's what I did. I am a horrible bowler like an 80 or something. It really bad. That's right, I went bowling. I can't even remember my birthday, that's horrible. Wow. NO, it was great, I had a really good time. I was just with my friends and my family, it was really mellow. That's why I think I don't remember, because it was just kind of like mellow and easy most of the time, like my family goes crazy and we really make a big deal of it, and this year I was just exhausted. I was like, let's just make it really mellow.


DO YOU THINK IT'S A MILESTONE?

Hewitt: Yes. The cool thing about 25 is it's the only age my entire life that I wanted to be. I don't know why. I was never a person that was excited about 16. I mean I thought being 16 was cool, I was like 13, whatever. 25 was always the age that I wanted to be. And so far it's treated me very well, and I've been very excited about being 25.


WHAT'S THE ANIMATED PROJECT YOU'RE ON?

Hewitt: It's a little hard for me to talk about, because I'll be honest with you, it's been something, I did my voice almost a year ago now and did my first version of it almost two years ago now. It's an amazing looking project, from what I've been seen, but it's something that they're still very much doing all the animation for. Great people doing the voices, and it's, I play this princess and she's sort of a princess teenager bug preacher fairy thing. And she's just amazing looking. It's sort of a Romeo and Juliet story between these two worlds of these kind of real life teenager bugs people. That's such a horrible way to describe that. In fact, if you have a card, I will have Farrah send you the sheet of what the movie is really about so that they don't kill me and then have somebody else re-record the voice. Because that was a horrible way to describe it. But it's going to be an amazing, it's so, it looks so unbelievably beautiful. It's going to be fascinating to people when it comes out. It's just really hard to stay up with where the project is and everything, because they have a website which can explain more about what it's about. Because I've been so in and out of it over the last two years.


YOU'RE DOING 'MAGIC SEVEN'?

Hewitt: What's so funny about this 'Magic Seven' thing is I guess it's ready to come out or something. I did that project when I was 12. And it's a half animated. 'The Devil and Daniel Webster' still has hope. I'll be like 50 and it'll come out and I'll still be like, 'wow, whatever.' 'You look great!' 'Yeah, I just did that like two weeks ago, it was weird.' So, no, I'm 12 and it's this half-animated, half-real life environmental movie thing that I did, and it was great at the time. I remember nothing about it now. But I remember that I liked it and it was good, and I guess it's coming out and I have no idea why or what's happening, but yeah. I couldn't tell you the story, I don't remember. And if I'm bad in it, it's before I learned how to act. I think.


WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE CARTOON SHOW?

Hewitt: Sponge Bob Square Pants. I'm obsessed. I just got the Sponge Bob Square Pants director's chair. I'm so excited, and I sit in it all the time and I sing the song and I just love it.


WHAT'S THE MOST SIGNIFICANT LIFE CHOICE YOU'VE EVER MADE?

Hewitt: Whoa. That has nothing to do with Sponge Bob. I don't know, probably saying to my mom, let's go to California for a month. When I was 10. And it was the start, hopefully, of a career, but it was before any career was possible. That decision process was probably the beginning, obviously the biggest thing. Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream, I'm telling you. It's great, it's just amazing stuff.

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