Today, though she says surfing is “like a religious experience” for her, she never hits the waves in Southern California. Why? Danielle, that’s why. As our aborted walk on the beach makes clear, Diaz may have made peace with the ubiquitous presence of paparazzi, but that doesn’t mean she can ever forget they’re there. And the legal clashes continue. A few weeks ago Diaz called the cops on some shutterbugs after she was ambushed at night, just like in 2004.
“It was the exact same scenario,” she says. She and Timberlake were at a friend’s house in the Hollywood Hills, and Diaz walked out to her car. “This guy jumps out of the bushes in the middle of the night and starts chasing me down the street. I’m like, ‘Holy s---! Holy s---!’ I don’t know what’s happening, and I’m literally screaming. And Justin’s coming out of the house. He thinks his girlfriend’s getting assaulted.” The photographer got in his car and, Diaz says, sped toward her, missing her by inches. She and Timberlake filed a police report for assault with a deadly weapon. (The case is under investigation.)
It’s hard to say what effect, if any, these run-ins are having on her career. Diaz herself is convinced that there’s absolutely no relationship between box-office success and weekly column inches in Star magazine. “Tabloids don’t sell movies or help anyone’s career,” she says. “If that were true, every Lindsay Lohan movie would open to $80 million.” She acknowledges that by dating Timberlake she’s surrendering any hope of being left alone. But when asked if she’s ever wished her boyfriend were, say, a waiter, her response is quick, firm and serious. “No,” she says. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
On the day of our interview, Diaz had planned to be in New York, starting production on the comedy A Little Game, opposite Jim Carrey. But the front page of today’s Variety announced that the two stars had abruptly withdrawn from the film. “The studio decided last minute, after three months of revisions on the script, to rewrite the thing completely,” Diaz explains. “I was just like, ‘This isn’t the movie that I thought I was doing.’”
While her decision left Focus Features reeling, Diaz, who has been mostly free since she wrapped The Holiday in June, doesn’t seem overly upset to find herself with a few more months of spare time. “I wasn’t really looking to work anyway,” she says, adding, “It’s almost snowboarding season.”
Incidentally, word has it that Diaz likes to get a little reckless on the slopes. If Danielle dares trail her to Mammoth Mountain, she should be prepared to eat some snow.