Marley Shelton: Gimme Shelton
She plays the same sort of sweet blonde in this summer's Bubble Boy that she's played before, but Marley Shelton is a lot spicier than that in real life.
To judge from the characters she has played on-screen, you might assume that Marley Shelton is sweet-natured and good to the bone. Except for the bitchy teen who made high school hell for Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed, Shelton has been relentlessly virtuous. She was Tobey Maguire's eager-to-please sweetie in Pleasantville. She was Renee Zellweger's darling, supportive sister in The Bachelor. She was James Marsden's cheerful cheerleader girlfriend in Sugar & Spice. And she was David Boreanaz's innocent, unsuspecting girlfriend in Valentine. But the bosses at the Chateau Marmont, the Hollywood hotel Shelton has chosen as our rendezvous point, were apparently not fooled. "I threw a 30th birthday party for my fiancé here and we got charged the 'Rock Star Rate,'" Shelton tells me between sips of iced cappuccino on the hotel's patio. "I guess this hotel has such a history of rock stars trashing rooms that they've upped the fees for people who throw any kind of party."
"Well, I hope you at least smashed a few lamps then," I say.
"I thought we were relatively civilized," she says with a laugh. "But I knew that we were in trouble when I woke up the next morning and there were still people on the balcony ordering margaritas." Shelton glances up at the balcony and smiles. "At the time, I was living across the street," she adds. "There's something fabulously decadent about staying in a hotel across the street from where you live."
"David Boreanaz told me that I should ask you to do your imitation of Michelle Pfeiffer dancing in Scarface," I tell her.
She laughs and seems to be a bit embarrassed. But then she gets up and does the imitation in front of a patio full of the Chateau Marmont hipsters. "It's the ice queen '80s dance," she explains, nonchalantly shaking her blonde locks and hips to and fro. "Her attitude is what's killer, because she doesn't even look at Al Pacino." After a few seconds of dancing, Shelton sits down, never noticing that people are staring at her.
If Shelton seems unusually comfortable with performing it may be because she was raised in a showbiz family. Her father is a director of commercials and her mother taught musical theater workshops. She's been acting professionally since her high school days, when she started getting bit parts in films like Grand Canyon, in which she played Steve Martin's daughter, and Nixon, in which she played Anthony Hopkins's daughter, and larger roles in TV movies like In the Line of Duty: Ambush in Waco and A Friend to Die For. She went on to study English at UCLA, but dropped out when she won a role in the kung-fu kiddie flick Warriors of Virtue, which called for her to travel to China. Her next film, Pleasantville, turned her into a recognizable name in Hollywood. Three years and eight films later, Shelton is going strong, though she's still not famous enough to be stopped on the street and asked for autographs ("except when one of my films has just been shown on airplanes," she says with a laugh).
Shelton's latest prospect for erasing her anonymity is Bubble Boy, in which she plays the girl-next-door to an immunity-challenged boy (Jake Gyllenhaal). "We become friends," she says. "Then I decide to marry the town jerk at Niagara Falls, and the bubble boy, realizing he's in love with me, travels across the country in a mobile bubble suit to stop my wedding. It's a lot like The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, the 1976 TV movie that starred John Travolta, only it's a comedy."
"Tell me John Travolta doesn't make a cameo in it," I plead.
"We tried to get him to do one but he declined," says Shelton.
"If Jake doesn't go over Niagara Falls in that bubble, I'm asking for my money back," I inform her.
"I'll just say that the bubble boy has a series of misadventures on the road," says Shelton with a sly smile. "He gets thrown like a beach ball at a punk concert and is chased by vultures in the middle of the desert."
"Do you climb inside the bubble to make out with him?" I ask.
"I don't want to give away the juice," she laughs, "but there's a scene that involves a little condensation on the bubble."
Certainly the sexiest moments during the shoot must not have been with either of her costars, but with the film's producer, Beau Flynn, to whom she will probably be married by the time you read this. She's already had her bachelorette party--in Las Vegas. "It was a traveling night of debauchery," she boasts. "My girlfriends handcuffed a blow-up doll to my wrist and I had to play blackjack and everything with this guy attached to me."
"Was he attractive at least?"
"Not really," says Shelton. "He was naked, but somehow he was missing his private parts."
Shelton is about to run off to meet Beau right now, but before she does, I insist she answer a burning question of mine. "When you do a movie for Disney like Bubble Boy, do you get all sorts of free mouse ears and stuff?"
"Let me just say this," Shelton says, clearly glad to get something off her chest. "For my birthday, I really wanted to go to Club 33, the secret club in Disneyland where you can drink. We called the morning of the party and we thought we could throw our weight around a little bit and get in. We were rejected."
"What goes on in there?" I ask. "Can you get lap dances from Mulan?"
"Doesn't your imagination run wild?" says Shelton giddily. "Talk about your Rock Star Rates."
"Were you the most famous name in your party?" I ask.
"Yeah," she says with a shrug. "I guess I wasn't famous enough. But I'm happy with where I'm at right now. Actually, this phase of my life and career feels very fleeting, so I'm making sure to take it all in and enjoy it as much as I can. In other words, I'm having fun."