Lauren Holly: On the Brink

With three new films, Lauren Holly looks poised to break out of her TV show "Picket Fences" and into big-screen stardom. Here she gets frank about her relationship with Jim Carrey, confesses that she thinks she looks like an alien and notes, "These movies could all bomb--then I'll be thankful I'm on the series."


I'm waiting to meet Lauren Holly at a Brentwood restaurant not far from the home she shares with Jim Carrey. Given her status as Cinderella of the moment--as if it isn't enough to be in love with her Dumb and Dumber co-star and have a regular role on "Picket Fences," she's just finished three new movies: Sabrina, Beautiful Girls and Down Periscope--I half expect her to show up in a tiara, with animated birds swarming around her. Instead, she turns up in a denim jacket, brown satin miniskirt, killer legs, newly blonde locks, and a friendly, if no-nonsense, attitude that says she's a whole lot more than someone's princess.

DENNIS HENSLEY: Most TV actors are lucky if they can squeeze one film into their hiatus. You just did three. How did that work?

LAUREN HOLLY: It worked because I had a great team behind me and understanding producers. It was definitely exhausting. I won't say, "Oh, it was nothing," Once, I worked on "Picket Fences," took a red-eye, got off the plane, went directly to work on Sabrina. got on a plane, flew back and did another scene on "Picket Fences." I think there's a reason people don't do a full season of TV and three movies.

Q: What's your character like in Sabrina?

A: I'm a wonderful girl from this very wealthy family--I'm a sweet, politically correct pediatrician--the perfect match for Greg Kinnear, His family is happy that he's finally settled for someone like me, but then he gets distracted by Julia Ormond, who plays Sabrina.

Q: What is it with Julia Ormond? In every movie she's got guys fighting over her.

A: Look at her. Do you know I never met her? Isn't that bizarre? Whenever I worked, she didn't.

Q: Was it intimidating working with heavy hitters like Sydney Pollack and Harrison Ford?

A: I have a loud personality, maybe borderline obnoxious--I'm always joking around on sets. But on that set I was Miss Observer, like, "Don't speak--if they notice you're here, they may realize you're the wrong person."

Q: Most of your Sabrina scenes are with talk-show host Greg Kinnear. How does he do in his big-screen debut?

A: I think people are going to be surprised. When I first heard he was cast I said, "What?" but that was quickly followed by, "Oh, Sydney Pollack picked him, so there must be something to it." And when I met him, I immediately saw the qualities. He definitely has that smooth-talking, good-looking, charm guy down.

Q: What was Harrison Ford like?

A: I now have a crush on someone for the rest of my life. He's just a great example for all up-and-coming stars because he's such a hard worker, a completely dedicated family man, so proud of his children and wife--just an all-around gentleman.

Q: Which of your acting rules are you the most proud of?

A: I feel really good about Beautiful Girls.

Q: Have you seen it?

A: No. So we may need to erase that.

Q: Who, besides you, are the Beautiful Girls?

A: Uma Thurman. Rosie O'Donnell, Martha Plimpton, Mira Sorvino, Annabeth Gish and Natalie Portman.

Q: Don't tell me-- you didn't meet any of them, right?

A: I didn't meet Martha or Uma. [Laughs] All these cool chicks I'm not meeting! But I loved the movie. The story is a high school reunion. Matt Dillon and I were high school sweethearts. I moved away and married a rich guy, had a child, and moved back only to start up an affair with Matt. I'm not considered the nicest person--I drink. I'm a bit of a manipulator. It's a very different part than I've ever done before. I get to swear on-screen. It's great.

Q: What words do you use?

A: Fuck and stuff.

Q: As a verb or as an expletive?

A: Actually, both ways.

Q: What was Matt Dillon like?

A: Handsomest man on the face of the planet. I told him so. every day. He's about to be a huge star all over again.

Q: Did you go to your own 10-year reunion?

A: No, and I still get beat up over it. This very weekend, there's a mini-reunion of my closest core group of friends from high school and I'm get-ting shit because I'm not going, but I can't. And my 10-year reunion, I was working then, ton. I would have gone if I could. Are you kidding me? I'm from a very small town.

Q: What were you like in high school?

A: I wasn't one of the hot girls, that's for sure. I was kind of loud even then, always joking around, and I was a big flirt. I had this pact with my girlfriend: we were going to be the only virgins. I found out later that the basketball team had this bet that they'd be able to get me.

Q: They never succeeded?

A: No.

Q: Who cracked first?

A: I did.

Q: Did you make it out of high school with your pact intact?

A: Made it out of high school, yeah.

Q: College?

A: I'm not going to tell you about my first time.

Q: OK, just give me a Siskel and Ebert assessment.

A: Thumbs up. Very thumbs up.

Q: Tell me about your third new movie. Down Periscope, with Kelsey Grammer.

A: I play the first woman ever assigned to this submarine. It was a hard shoot be-cause we started on the water, so every-one was looking for-ward to getting back to the soundstage. But then that turned out to be a nightmare be-cause these sets were like tubes. It was very hot, everyone was in every single scene and I became so thankful for Kelsey Grammer because every single time he was just [ready] out of the gate. I think that's television, you know: you're used to having to be completely prepared. You don't have much time, and you just do it.

Q: Speaking of television, how much longer do you plan to stay on "Picket Fences"?

A: I don't know. A lot of people have been asking me that.

Q: Are they like, "When you gonna dump the TV show and concentrate on movies?"

A: Right. But I'm not there. You know, these new movies could all bomb--then I'll be thankful I'm on the series.

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