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Q&A: Alicia Silverstone Is Smooth as 'Butter'

Alicia Silverstone Getty Images

Once in a while, a movie comes along that singlehandedly turns one young actor into a Hollywood icon — and it happened to her. When Alicia Silverstone hit the big screen as the kneesock-loving Cher in 1995's hit comedy, "Clueless," she became a household name overnight. And, while she'll always be the virgin-who-can't-drive to us, Silverstone has spread her thespian wings ever since, most recently with her upcoming comedy, "Butter."

In case you didn't guess it from the title, the flick focuses on the fascinating and cutthroat world of competitive butter carving. Silverstone plays Julie, the adoptive mother of Destiny (Yara Shahidi), an aspiring butter-carving champion.

We chatted with Silverstone about what made her want to be in a movie about butter sculptures, what Rob Corddry is like as a husband and why she felt guilty about her first car purchase.

What made you want to be in a movie about butter carving? Did you have any trepidation it would just be too weird?
No, I was sent the script and was told that I had a meeting with the director set up if I would like to take it, so I read it and it was hilarious. It was really one of the better scripts that you get to read. The story was so ridiculous and the characters were so funny. It's really this outrageous comedy. It was quirky and edgy and funny and very clever and then, when I met the director, I really just fell in love.

So it was love at first sight with Jim Field Smith?
Yes! He was so smart and so sharp and so witty and, you know, I really love Jim Field Smith. I hope that I get to work with him again. He was such a delight to work with. Being on set with him was just such a pleasure. He just made it so fun. I just felt like it was such a good time. All the actors had such a good time, and that's the most you can hope for — you don't always get it!

Butter The Weinstein Company

So you love Jim [Field Smith], but how is Rob Corddry as a husband?
Amazing! Amazing. I had seen Rob's movie and I met him in the airport on the way to Shreveport. I went over to him and said, "I saw you in this movie, 'Black Ball,'" and he was like, "You saw 'Black Ball'? Why did you see that?" And I just said, "Well, I saw it, and I thought it was awesome."

Were you a fan of "Children's Hospital" prior to meeting him?
No, he educated me on the issue! I'd heard of it because I'm friendly with Megan Mullally and Lake Bell and both of them had mentioned it, but I didn't really understand what they were talking about. It sort of just went over my head and it sounded like this thing they did in their backyard or something, but it clearly wasn't. [Laughs.] Then Rob really put it to me and said, "I need you to watch this" and so I watched it in my trailer one day and I just was dying.

Butter The Weinstein Company

Yara [Shahidi] is a big fan of yours! Did you feel maternal toward her at all? Do you feel like a mentor?
She was so young when she was doing this movie; she was a baby, but she was so smart and so clever. Watching her and Jim together was just so lovely — he knew how to direct her, which was just so cool. He just had this magic with her. I don't really feel like I had to mentor her because she was just such a little firecracker. She's so smart.

The one thing I would always do though was kiss her. I don't know why, but I couldn't stop kissing her! Every time she was near me I would just grab her. I wouldn't even let her talk! She would be telling a story and I would just grab her and start attacking her with kisses! She seemed okay with it, I guess. I hope.

Maybe she was just accepting her fate?
That sounds about right. I guess it became routine that she would just sort of accept, "Okay, Alicia's going to attack me now." [Laughs.]

Yara's just starting out, but you've built a successful career. Do you remember what you bought with your first Hollywood paycheck?
I remember a few of the first things I bought. I got a big TV for my apartment, and I bought cars for my mom and for me. I got her a safer car, like a mid-size car, but I got a Bronco for myself, which was definitely not environmentally friendly. Then the truth was that I felt awful driving it around, but I didn't really know about the environment at the time. I wasn't hip to that yet — but even still, I remember driving around in that thing and thinking, "This is like a destroyer!" It was not comfortable to drive, so I'm much happier with my little Prius now that I've had for like 11 years.

Vamps Anchor Bay Films

We are so excited that you have reunited with Amy Heckerling from "Clueless" for the upcoming movie, "Vamps."
I think that "Vamps" is such a good movie and I'm so excited for people to see it. Obviously, Amy and I did "Clueless" together and she wrote and directed this movie, but it's also got Mona May, who did the costumes for "Clueless," so you're going to have tons of fun with the outfits again, too! They're a different style, because we're vampires, but they're still really fun.

How was it working with Amy again after all this time?
It was neat because Wallace Shawn's in the movie, too. He plays an awesome character — you're going to die. I think that having all of us together again — Amy, Shawn, me, as well as Mona May — created this warmth and it was just really neat. And with Amy I would just look over at her and I felt really ... I don't know how to explain how it felt, but it just felt good. I would look over at her and it just felt like home or something, and she always says that I'm like another daughter to her, so it's really sweet.

Do you think "Vamps" will set trends the way "Clueless" did?
Definitely. I think little girls will be really jealous and will all want coffins after seeing this movie.

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