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Cherry Pop

Marisa Tomei   ('The Wrestler') Marisa Tomei ('The Wrestler')

At a very youthful 44, Golden Globe nominee Marisa Tomei is discovering intense, very sexual women to play, such as the stripper and single mother scared to form a romantic relationship with Mickey Rourkeís wrestler.

But she loves the challenge and doing sex scenes at this time in her life is no big deal, as she told to me in this recently conducted interview. So, was it this character or working with Darren (director), that you really wanted to do? (Marisa) "Well, it was mostly that I really wanted to work with Darren. And I have just respected him for so long, and I just couldnít say no. Couldnít resist him."

Did you do any research for playing a stripper?! "Darren talked to a lot of girls beforehand, and he asked a couple girls to come and talk to me, then I went to a bunch of clubs on the different coasts, because I was living in LA, and I get back to New York. The usual way."

What did you discover during this process? "Well, I mean, itís just like any other group. You know, there are a lot of stereotypes and I think that Darren really wanted to avoid them. He didnít want it to just be hooker with a heart of gold, like, a really downtrodden character. So I tried to focus on the dancers in the business who are really creative. Who get something really empowering out of their dancing, and who are kind of more like good-time girls, rather than just really hard luck cases."

How gratifying is it for you that the older you get, the richer the roles seem to be coming your way? "Well, itís really nice to just keep working, and finding really good character parts."

Itís interesting that you have explored various aspects of your sexuality in some of these last few indie movies that youíve done. Is it empowering for you as a woman, at this particular stage of your life, to be able to do that? "Well, I just think that itís nicer to have a stronger foundation inside, and not Ė and feel in control of my body."

Is it nerve-wracking to do the kind of stuff that you have to do in this movie, and the other movie you did with Philip Seymour Hoffman, which I thought you were absolutely amazing in? "Well, itís the most natural thing in the world, really, so itís kind of probably easier than some emotional Ė some things that an actor is asked to do. But Ė you know, it depends who youíre with. And of course, I was with Sidney Lumet, and the guys who Iíve had to work with have just always been Ė it really brings out their protective side, actually."

Two decades after winning your Oscar, are you kind of surprised that youíre still working as much as you are at the moment? And are you looking for different things than you were when you were in your 20s? "Well, Iíve always done a lot of plays, and I have always worked, hoping that Iíll continue working as long as I can."

What are you looking for, at this particular stage? "Well, Iíd like to do some period films. Iíd like to do a musical. Iíd really like to do Sweet Charity, but they just did it. So I donít know when the next Ė I donít know about that. But that would be something Iíd be interested in. Those are some of the different genres Iíd like to do. There are a lot of great directors, and Iíd like to be in some leading roles."

How picky are you? "Well, I like to work. But I donít really want to work if my heart isnít in it. And that Ė you canít always Ė itís not always that way. I mean, sometimes itís more for money, and sometimes it isnít. But for the most part, I really canít commit to something unless thereís something thatís gonna awaken me every day, and Iím gonna feel enlivened, and feel like thereís something thatís piquing my curiosity."

What else are you working on at the moment? "Iím going to do this comedy with the Duplass Brothers in the early winter, in January, here in LA. Safety Men. It will also star both Jonah Hill, and maybe John C. Reilly."

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