After posting earlier the scans of the Bullett magazine feature with Blake, the photoshoot outtakes and interview hit the web. The interview is really enjoyable and a few co-stars also have their word on Blake in it !
Photoshoots > 2012 > Bullett (by David Slijper)
At 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, People broke the story that “lovebirds Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are nesting.” According to the celebrity gossip magazine, the couple, who met two years ago while filming the underperforming superhero movie Green Lantern, invested in a $2 million house in Bedford, New York, where they’d previously been seen “horseback riding, buying chocolate milk, and dining at the Bedford Post Inn.” Just six months earlier, almost to the day, rumors of their alleged romance began when they were spotted together exiting an apartment in Boston, where he’d been filming a movie about undead cops called R.I.P.D. The media was understandably alarmed: Were they moving too fast? Was Ryan over Scarlett? Hadn’t Blake just split from Leo?
It’s Friday, April 20, just 24 hours before websites like E! Online will start gleefully and painstakingly scrutinizing the “real deal behind this new real estate,” and Lively is understandably distracted—but not by mortgages or headlines. “Oh my gosh!” she squeals from the backseat of a hired car that’s speeding through the California desert en route to Los Angeles, where she’s meeting her best friend Blair (yes, that’s right) for dinner. “I’m sorry for screaming. We’re passing this really grungy barbecue place that has sawdust on the floor. I’m really excited. Okay, phew. I’m so sorry, but they have really good garlic bread.” The 24-year-old actor, whose starring role on The CW’s Gossip Girl turned her into an overnight tabloid sensation and a fashion icon, has just wrapped her third and final day on the set of a still-undisclosed fragrance commercial, which was directed by Drive auteur Nicolas Winding Refn. “He was my first choice,” she says with the pleased smile of someone who’s grown used to getting what she wants.
And for the most part, she does. In 2008, during an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman to plug the first season of Gossip Girl, Lively revealed that she’d been harboring a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio since childhood. Last summer, she was photographed off the coast of Monte Carlo, on Steven Spielberg’s private yacht, with the Titanic heartthrob, who was her boyfriend for five months until they split in October. In 2010, she recorded a video interview in celebration of IMDb’s 20th anniversary, during which she gushed over Baz Luhrmann’s “fantastical” films. Eight months later, the acclaimed filmmaker had written a flattering piece about Lively for that year’s edition of the Time 100: The Most Influential People in the World, amid rumors that she’d been tapped to play Daisy Buchanan in his adaptation of The Great Gatsby. (The part eventually went to Carey Mulligan.) In July 2010, Lively accompanied American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to Haute Couture Week in Paris, where she was invited to tour the atelier of exalted shoe designer Christian Louboutin. Lively gasped when he showed her a high-heeled, rainbow-colored sandal with seven straps. “Do you love it?” he asked. “I want to sleep with it under my pillow every night!” she replied. By February 2011, “The Blake” hit stores across the world. During a September 2010 appearance on Live with Regis and Kelly, she raved about the bakery chain Sprinkles Cupcakes and wished they’d franchise into New York. Last December, she was photographed at Sprinkles’ first Manhattan outpost holding a tray of S’mores cupcakes (graham cracker–lined dark chocolate cake and ganache with toasted marshmallow frosting), which she had baked for charity; they have since been added to the confectioner’s regular menu. So, yes, you could say that Lively has led a pretty charmed existence. But that was before she met Oliver Stone.
The three-time Academy Award–winning filmmaker, whose polarizing movies includePlatoon, JFK, and Natural Born Killers, cast Lively in his new big-screen bloodbath, Savages, after Jennifer Lawrence backed out to shoot The Hunger Games. “Blake wasn’t quite perfect for the role, but she was certainly in that ballpark,” says Stone of Ophelia, a privileged Laguna Beach hippie who gets kidnapped and tortured by Benicio del Toro’s Lado when her two marijuana-growing boyfriends (Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch) refuse to partner with a Mexican drug cartel led by the ruthless Elena (Salma Hayek). “It touches on many things that I like: family, power, greed, murder, death, the border of Mexico and the U.S., and cartels,” Stone says of Savages. “A lot of it—the sex, violence, and drugs—was probably scary and challenging for Blake, who seems like she comes from a nice family. It ain’t a Disney World ride and it certainly ain’t the Upper East Side.”
Due to the packed schedules of the actors in Stone’s ensemble film (John Travolta and Demián Bichir round out the cast as a dirty DEA agent and Elena’s lawyer, respectively), Lively wasn’t able to meet with her costars before getting to set. “I can’t say it was an easy project, where we all went to the same island and stayed there until we got to know each other,” Stone says dryly. “But at the end of the day, Blake got to know everyone when she was doing the sex scenes, which required her full attention.”
Lively, who surprised everyone in Ben Affleck’s 2010 heist film, The Town, with her transformative portrayal of Krista, a hardened single mother from the Charlestown section of Boston, acknowledges that Savages won’t sit well with some audiences. “I think it’s really hard for people to digest that these privileged kids are in a three-way relationship,” she says. “Your heroes are all sleeping with each other, but they’re also in love. It’s very easy to dislike them, so when my character gets kidnapped, it’s like, ‘Well, good riddance!’ My greatest challenge was to make her life worthy of saving, to find the heart in this story.” To do so, she carefully examined the world into which Ophelia, whom Lively describes as a “Penny Lane–type free spirit,” was born. “I started thinking about the state of young people these days,” she says. “In my character’s situation, her mom is off with nine different husbands and her dad left her when she was a kid. She has nobody to learn from, so she’s making her own mistakes. Dad takes a hike and now she’s hiking up her dress for two guys. You don’t think there’s a parallel there? These kids are very much the product of this cynical generation.”
It’s the same generation that spawned Gossip Girl, the Wharton-indebted, tech-drenched saga of wealth and whitewashing on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Whereas the travails of Lively’s character on that show, the affluent, aspirational Serena van der Woodsen, typically involve walkoffs at Kiki de Montparnasse or Vera Wang–clad vitriol, her film roles often require a much deeper descent into humankind’s heart of darkness. “She certainly picks dark material compared to Gossip Girl,” Stone says. In The Town, Lively escaped into a world of hoop earrings and “Pahk the cah at Hahvad Yahd.” Similarly, she adopted a Southern drawl to play a cokehead drifter named Glenda, Chloë Moretz’s surrogate big sister in Derick Martini’s new road drama, Hick. But Ophelia had no speech tics or socioeconomic otherness through which Lively could find the means to recreationally slum. “To play a blond California girl who gets with two men was scary. If it looks like me and talks like me, how do I turn it into something different? It would have been easier if I’d been thrown into the movie with a Scottish accent and purple hair,” Lively says.
In one particularly grueling scene, del Toro’s Lado rapes Ophelia, the filming of which Lively describes as “really awful and traumatic. I can’t imagine having to do that scene with somebody who I didn’t feel comfortable and safe with.” For his part, del Toro says, “Without Blake, it would have been impossible to survive Oliver Stone. Even though the scenes between us are mean and violent, we were the first ones to laugh about what we were doing.” Another scene called for del Toro to blow smoke in Lively’s face, and for her to retaliate by spitting on his. Stone shot multiple takes to make sure he perfectly captured her rage in the moment. “I think she really enjoyed it,” del Toro says. When she hears this, Lively laughs. “I think he liked it, too.”
Although she’s no stranger to intimidating work environments (Maria Bello, who played her abusive, pill-popping mother in Rebecca Miller’s The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, “is delicious and lovely, but she could not have scared me more that first day we worked together”), nothing could adequately prepare Lively for working with Stone, who’s notorious for refusing to coddle actors. “Oliver is by no means a cheerleader,” she says. “His movies very much reflect the strong, aggressive powerhouse that he is, so he’s not cooing at you along the way. It was challenging because you want to feel like you can do no wrong, especially with your director, but that definitely wasn’t the case here. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing—it’s just the way he works.”
It’s a warm, sunny Saturday morning on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and we’re at Lively’s photo shoot inside the palatial mansion that doubled as Carrie and Big’s apartment in the first Sex and the City movie. Natural light from the courtyard floods the main floor, casting chandelier-shaped shadows across the plain white walls. Lively’s hired muscle, a broad-shouldered man from Queens, sweeps through every room to ensure the safety of his client, to whom he’d been recommended by Reynolds. (On February 14, Lively filed a restraining order against Sergei Mifle, an obsessive Gossip Girl fan who allegedly made repeated calls to her mother, talent manager Elaine Lively, because he wanted to “heal” her daughter, about whom he was “deeply concerned.” She now rarely leaves the house without an accompanying bodyguard.)
“I get called every now and again when Blake’s in New York. She has a regular guy in L.A.,” he says, peering across the room to keep an eye on Lively, who’s feverishly texting Roy Orbison. (“He’s dead, I know,” she says when she later catches me looking at her buzzing phone. “It always freaks people out. They’re like, ‘Roy Orbison?’ I put people in my contact list under pseudonyms.”) Wearing a tie-dyed gray T-shirt under an orange, knee-length Dsquared2 coat, tapered black jeans, and a pair of white slippers, Lively walks over to her bodyguard. She flashes him a pouty, curfew-extending smile, her outstretched, cupped hands suggesting that he has something she wants. “Snack?” he asks. She widens her eyes and nods with exaggerated mirth while breaking off two pieces of dark chocolate from a bar he’s been hiding inside his jacket. “Always got to make sure I bring her chocolate,” he says.
Lively counts among her closest friends her Gossip Girl hairstylist and makeup artist, two people with whom she spends much of her time. “I’m slow to build friendships, but they always end up being long and lasting,” she says. Other than her current relationship with Reynolds and her brief but much-publicized affair with DiCaprio, Lively’s only other boyfriends have been Kelly Blatz (her costar in the 2006 thriller Simon Says) and Penn Badgley (the Jack to her Rose on Gossip Girl). As a universally salivated-over star, it’s less dangerous to trust a new friend or a possible boyfriend when you’ve already established equal footing in the industry. But she insists, “The way that I meet people is the same way that I’ve always met people. It might be weird if I was on JDate, but I’m not, so that’s good. I meet so many people in passing at parties, but I’ve never been a person who’s like, I know I just met you, but let’s exchange numbers and be best friends.”
If she seems aloof about her celebrity status, it’s probably because Hollywood is nothing new to Lively. In addition to her manager mother and her actor father, Ernie Lively, who played her onscreen dad in both Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants films, each of her four older siblings (three of them are half-siblings) has acted. Lori has had guest-starring roles on television series like ER, Cold Case, and The Mentalist. Jason played Rusty Griswold inNational Lampoon’s European Vacation. Robin is best known for playing the title character in the ’80s comedy Teen Witch. Lively’s brother Eric, a onetime Abercrombie & Fitch model, picked up where Ashton Kutcher left off as the star of The Butterfly Effect 2. Blake’s first film job—her first job of any kind, for that matter—came in 2005 with her portrayal of Bridget, a high school student who has an affair with her soccer coach, in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Lively moved from her hometown of Los Angeles to New York when she was cast in Gossip Girl (which is, in many ways, also about getting into people’s pants). Her costar Leighton Meester, who plays Blair Waldorf, her best friend and brunette foil on the show, remembers the first time they met. “It was at the screen test for GG,” Meester says. “She really lived up to her name—very lively—and she kept talking about American Idol.” Although the show’s producers haven’t announced an end date for the series, its actors’ contracts are up soon, and renewal seems unlikely. “My impression of Gossip Girl is that she’s pretty much a slave to it in that they have her for another year,” Oliver Stone says. Rather than giving the impression that she’s trapped by a contract, Lively focuses on the incredible opportunities the series has granted her. “It’ll be bittersweet when it’s over because it gave me all of this,” she says, scanning the second floor of the mansion where we’re huddled next to each other on a windowsill. “I think the best way to describe it is like someone who really enjoyed high school, and is like, I’m a senior and I can’t wait for the next thing! Gossip Girl was so great, but what’s the next challenge in life? Because, you know, six years is a long time. And as an actor who plays a caricature of myself on the show, I don’t think I’d say, Watch Gossip Girl for my best quality of work. But I am very lucky to have had that experience.”
On a recent episode of the show called “It Girl, Interrupted,” Serena, who has surreptitiously taken control of the Gossip Girl website from its still-unknown originator, says to Blair, “I’m ready to move on with my life, and I can’t do that with Gossip Girl tracking my every move.” The line might as well have been written for Lively herself, who seems ready to trade in her it-girl status for big-screen credibility. She knows, however, that when it comes to branching out into film, she might not always get what she wants. There will be unattainable parts, difficult shoots, and emotional scenes, but she seems ready, hungry even, for the shift. “I’m not in the business of trying to win the approval of my cast members, my director, or my audience,” she says. “If I were, I’d be so beaten down by insecurity that I’d never be able to perform. The only person I’m trying to prove something to is myself.” Just then, her assistant returns from Sprinkles with a full box of S’mores.