Have you bought your first couch?
About the only thing I don’t have is a couch! That’s the hardest thing about furnishing the apartment. I’m trying out a couch and thinking, Is this where I want to watch my shows? Am I comfortable enough here? The couch has been a bit of an ordeal! [Laughs.]
Your first film was I Am Sam, opposite Sean Penn. You were 6. On the
first day of work, you had all your lines memorized, and he started to
And I thought, Okay, that’s what it’s going to be like. There was no other choice. I think he said, “Knock, knock,” which was not in the script. I said, “Uh…who’s there?” [Laughs.] And, yeah, that’s what it was like. It definitely prepared me for the future. At other times, in other movies, actors would go off script and kind of test me like, Ah—maybe she’s not going to be able to reply. And I already knew how to be ready for anything.
That’s a hard lesson to learn at 6! Have you ever been intimidated on
I played the young Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama when I was 7, and the boy who played the young Josh Lucas was 10. We had to kiss. I was watching it the other day because my sister put it on, and I was so embarrassed looking at my 7-year-old self having to kiss that boy. I don’t remember feeling embarrassed at the time, and that was kind of weird too. Why wasn’t I more embarrassed? But I think that may be the most intimidated I’ve ever been—having to kiss that 10-year-old boy on the beach in Florida over and over. [Laughs.]
When you were younger, did you like to audition?
It didn’t bother me, but I usually wouldn’t get things because of my hair. I had really short, wispy hair, and the girls with perfect long, straight hair with bangs and a butterfly clip would always get picked. Finally, I got some more hair and started getting roles.
One of the things that always impresses me about actors is their ability
to fake a skill at a high level. An actor won’t be able to boil water,
but he can convincingly play a chef.
I’ve had to learn so many different things for movies. When I played a competitive swimmer in Man on Fire, [director] Tony Scott wanted me to do all the swimming myself. I had to race against girls who were competitive swimmers—and he wanted me to actually win the race. There would be some takes where I didn’t win, and we had to do it again. I willed myself to win.
Have you always been interested in fashion? How old were you when you
did the Marc Jacobs campaign?
I was 12. I was always into fashion because my mom has always been interested in fashion. She majored in fashion merchandising in college, and it’s always been something we have in common. When I did that first campaign for Marc Jacobs, I really wasn’t old enough to wear the clothes. He made all the clothes from the runway in my size. I still have them.