A month after wrapping The Box, Diaz was on the set of the even darker Nick Cassavetes drama My Sister’s Keeper, in which she plays the mother of a seriously ill child who conceives a second baby to serve as a donor match.
But despite the killjoy potential of both movies, Diaz, of course, managed to have a little fun. Says James Marsden, her costar in The Box: “There were scenes where we were meant to be very disturbed or pontificating, and I’d look over at Cameron, and she’d just be cracking up. It was like in second grade when you’d get the church giggles—you start laughing because it’s the exact time and place when you’re not supposed to, and then you can’t stop. There were a couple of hours of shooting lost to this kind of thing.”
“What do you mean? It wasn’t supposed to be funny?” jokes Diaz when asked about such incidents. “They sold it to me as a comedy! But seriously, just because there are heavy aspects to a movie doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while you’re making it. Yes, there are going to be dark moments, but there are also going to be moments when we’re all laughing.”
Diaz, of all people, hardly needs to justify her right to a good giggle. At 35, she remains one of the most wanted women in Hollywood, with the body of a college coed, a résumé packed with hits and the freedom to choose her projects however she sees fit. After My Sister’s Keeper, she says, “I envision a full year off, just living life and having fun. It’s the best thing.” Still, the actress has lately realized that true bliss doesn’t come without effort. “I think sometimes people are afraid to say that they’re happy—they feel guilty about it,” she says, including herself in that conflicted group. “My life isn’t perfect. I have my struggles; everybody does. But I want to appreciate all of the amazing things in my life. People should have the right to be happy.” Even movie stars, apparently.