Kimberly Williams: The Second Time Around
Kimberly Williams left Tinseltown after Father of the Bride, choosing a college education over a hot career. She's back, but will she land on top again?
When Kimberly Williams appeared on the scene four years ago in Father of the Bride, she seemed a throwback to Hollywood's Cinderella stories of yore: a Northwestern University drama student plucked from out of the blue, ripe for stardom. Although Williams had, in fact, been jockeying for a movie career since her pre-teen days, she surprised industry insiders by turning her back on her big break to instead return to college. While there, she made one little-seen feature, Indian Summer. Now she's returned to the fold in Father of the Bride II. Whether Williams will jump-start the big-screen career she walked away from remains to be seen.
HEIDI PARKER: Everyone seems to think you'd never worked in show biz before you were cast in Father of the Bride, but you started working at the age of 14, when your neighbor back home--actress Anna Holbrook from "Another World"-- sent your head shot to the William Morris agency. Was she a major influence?
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: Yes. because the first time I met her, I told her I wanted to be an actress--and she took me seriously and helped me out. When I told my mom I wanted to be an actress, she just said, "Oh, another hobby. We'll see."
Q: Did the William Morris people move mountains for you?
A: They never got me one job. When I called to tell them I didn't want their representation any longer, I couldn't get my agent on the phone. I had to mail him a letter.
Q: What was it like to go from attending college to working with Steve Martin on the set of the first Father of the Bride?
A: It was overwhelming. I was really stressed out, but I was also thrilled because there I was in a big movie, my lifelong dream.
Q: Did Martin give you any advice about succeeding in show biz?
A: He told me to get a good therapist.
Q: Right after filming, you went back to school. Any regrets?
A: It was important for me, personally, to finish school. I could have taken advantage of the fame if I had stayed, but hopefully I'll pick it up again.
Q: Were there any jealous school-girls yanking your pigtails post-_Bride_?
A: I noticed I wasn't getting parts in the school plays. It was pretty fishy, because I was getting a lot before the movie and afterwards there weren't any. I felt it was like, "We'll show you."
Q: Your second film, Indian Summer, was made while you were in school. You had some pretty dubious co-stars there, Kimberly. I mean, Vincent Spano?
A: I had a crush on him when we started filming, but it quickly faded.
Q: You made a fuss to the press about your nude scene in Indian Summer, yet when I rented it, I couldn't see anything.
A: That's because I won't do nudity--I wore pasties so they couldn't see my breasts. I just read for a part in Larry Flynt, the Woody Harrelson movie about the Hustler publisher, but when I found out the role was a centerfold, I dropped out.
Q: In Father of the Bride II, you and Diane Keaton both get pregnant. Did you share baby books?
A: No, but we took Lamaze classes in her house, which was a trip.
Q: Does it help or hurt to have a sweet, clean image?
A: Both. It's hard for people to imagine me as someone who's not the girl from Father of the Bride. Once I auditioned for the role of a sexy girl and I dressed the part: teased hair, spiked heels, the whole nine yards. When I showed up, the casting director said, "And you are?" I told him and he laughed in my face.
Q: Did you slug him?
A: No, but it was a learning experience.
Q: Would you ever want to play a femme fatale?
A: I'd love to. I just did Cold Blooded opposite Jason Priestley, which is an independent. I'm going backwards, from starring in big pictures to doing smaller ones. But I like getting my hands dirty.
Q: I can't imagine your having a dark side.
A: Of course I do! Are you kidding?
Q: [Pulling out Williams's bio] I think that's my last question--
A: [Grabbing the bio] What is this? Where did you get this?
Q: It's a computer printout of your background.
A: Look, it says, "Not to be confused with pro golfer Kimberly Williams"!
Q: It ought to read, "Not to be con-fused with soft-core-porn actress Kimberly Williams." I rented some 1991 erotic trash video, Secret Games, thinking you were that Kimberly Williams. But she's a blonde, and definitely doesn't wear pasties.
A: [Laughing] It's so weird being a public person.
Q: Well, one of the perks must be meeting the rich and famous. Have you ever dated a celebrity?
A: I met Chris O'Donnell in Chicago just after Father of the Bride, He asked me out and, when we were on the date, I announced that I had a fund-raiser to go to that night. He went along with me, but I don't think he was too happy about it. [Laughing] We didn't go out again.
Heidi Parker is the senior editor of Movieline.