About That Time Anne Heche Turned Down Speed...

anne_heche_getty225.jpgEarlier this week, Movieline sat down with Anne Heche to discuss her role in this weekend's limited release, Cedar Rapids. At one point the discussion turned to how she chooses her roles now compared to the past, and that's when Heche confessed a certain decision that sticks with her to this day. (Hint: It's not Six Days Seven Nights.)

To wit, Heche told me she turned down the role of Annie Porter in the original Speed -- a role that famously went to eventual superstar and Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock. The prospect of Heche in Speed is interesting for several reasons, not least because of the long-standing rumor that Annie was originally written for Heche's former partner, Ellen DeGeneres, as a comic foil to hero Jack Traven (who, it's said, was written for Jeff Bridges; Speed screenwriter Graham Yost has yet to respond to our request for comment). We talked over her decision, her regrets and her drive to be in the... sequel?

Do you choose roles differently than you did 15 years ago? Was there a time in your career that having Harrison Ford in the film was good enough to sign on?

Well, I'm older now, so that's part of it. And probably, maybe I have -- if I'm lucky -- some more wisdom around me and more insight to these characters rather than just "Wow, I get to say this opposite Harrison Ford?! Right on!" And that is part of it when you are getting hired. You know what's so funny? I used to be so picky. And this is the God's honest truth, I used to be so picky about my movies. I used to think that I knew what was right and what was not right. I didn't listen to anybody; I had so many opinions that were so lame and so naïve in terms of understanding the world. I mean, I really was a girl off the bus from Ohio. And I had all of these different understandings that had nothing to do with anything other than my ridiculousness. And, now, if you want to know the truth, I'm much more open. So much more open. So much more in a world of feeling so grateful and blessed that I actually get to do what I do. But, it's funny, how that all balances out. I probably do get more complicated roles because I'm older and a little more famous. Funny enough, I used to be pickier and probably made the wrong decisions because of it.

What's an example of a decision that you regret?

[Pauses] Well, here's an example. Just dumb opinions, like, "I can't go in on Speed." You know? What?! Who in a million years... How or why any opinion in my brain would get formed around certain ideas. "No, no, I can't do that... I couldn't possibly."

What didn't you like about Speed?

Who knows?! That's what I'm saying: It was completely ridiculous opinions that I only had because of whatever I was thinking that day. Just unguided. I was an unguided soul. I hopefully have matured and become more guided.

I want to get to the bottom of this... so, circa mid-1990s Anne Heche looks at Speed and decides, "no," but looks at Six Days Seven Nights and says, "yes."

Well, Six Days Seven Nights is great, but, no, it wasn't even that wonderful of a choice. It was, "Speed? How could I? I'll go do a 50-seat play for 20 people a night for four months. That's art!" That's what I'm talking about, the ridiculousness of how I used to make decisions. [In a British accent] I can't do that movie. Oh, please. I was so silly.

I would have watched an Anne Heche Speed movie.

Thank you! Well, if they ever do a sequel, I'm in.

They did, it's called Speed 2: Cruise Control.

Oh. Well, if they do a third Speed, I'm available. Sandra? There's no way, she's Woman of the Year. I'm free, if someone wants to write it, I'll do it.

So you're in for Speed 3?

I'm in! Absolutely.

Drop back by next week for our full conversation about Cedar Rapids.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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