Heather Graham first skated into our hearts as Rollergirl in that little late-'90s drama, "Boogie Nights," which pretty much cemented her place in cinema history. But we have to admit, even though Graham has built an impressive resume of awesome flicks ("The Hangover," anyone?), we're jazzed that she's returning to the world of… ahem… adult film for her upcoming drama, "About Cherry."
This time, however, Graham's the one behind the camera (in the movie, that is), playing a female porn director who knows what she — and, presumably other women — want. She chatted us up about exactly how she prepared for this role, what she learned about her own personal tastes and why she gets a little concerned when young actresses get really happy.
What drew you to this movie?
I really liked the cast. When they sent me the script, they already had James Franco, Dev Patel and Lily Taylor and I was just like, "I love these actors." Then when I read it, it was just so far out there that I was like, "Wow, they really went for it!" I was totally intrigued by the writing. It's really personal and out there.
Obviously, you've done movies about the porn industry before, but never playing a porn director. Did you do any additional research to prepare for this role?
We shot in this studio that's called Kink.com, which is a porn website basically, and they actually do super — from my point of view — disturbing porn videos. We were working there and this girl who co-wrote the script is also a porn actress, and I talked to her. She's a really nice person. But basically we were shooting on a real porn set, so research was just like, walk into the next room. We weren't doing quite as hardcore stuff as this place, but there are actually a few female porn directors there, and they were really interesting.
I think it's cool that more women are sort of taking control in that area because it's interesting to think of how a woman would direct a porno and how it would be different. There are questions like what do women get turned on by and how is that different than what men like. I like having both perspectives out there.
Do you feel like these women bring a different attitude towards pornography?
I mean, I like women taking control in every area, or having equal control. So I think it's cool that these women are getting creative. When I talked to them they just said they love what they do. They're into it. They're happy. But I also learned that I am not really into super — they have really S & M kind of things there — that kind of stuff. Some of it, to me, is too disturbing to watch.
And how was it working with James Franco?
I love his work. He's such a great dramatic actor, and he's such a great comedic actor. He's a really sweet guy.
Were there any awkward moments on set? Did you meet co-stars and one minute later someone's naked?
I had more scenes with Diane Farr than James. I think when we first started, Diane was kind of like, "Wow." She was maybe more freaked out than me, but I think we were both wondering what it was going to be like. Overall, though, we had a fun time.
What did you admire about your character, Margaret?
I like that her story is that she used to be a porn actress and then she became a director. In my own life, I've written scripts that I want to direct, so I would love to take my own creativity in a way where I could tell my own story. That does inspire me, the idea of becoming a director.
Do you have ideas of what you would want to direct?
Yes! I wrote a script and I'm raising money right now, so I'm pretty excited about it.
What kind of movie is it?
It's a comedy. It's light. It's a story about three women and their friendship and their sex lives and stuff like that. I kind of want it to be a story of female empowerment through these three women who are searching for good sex. It's not super graphic though like "About Cherry." It's more like "Sex and the City."
Do you have any dream role you haven't played yet?
I would act in the movie that I wrote, so I guess that's a dream role — to write it, act in it and direct it! I also like the idea of playing a character over a long period of time, like over a 20-year period, so you can play the same character younger and older. I think that would be fun.
You have so many other films coming up as well. How does it feel to be back for "The Hangover Part 3?" Were you surprised to get that phone call after not being in "The Hangover Part 2?"
I was very surprised! Yeah, I mean, it was nice. It was cool. I was excited.
Can you give us any hints of what Jade might be up to this time around?
I feel like they might kill me if I do! They are so weird about it. I don't want to get this angry call where they're like, "Why did you tell blah blah blah to so and so?" I'm scared of that.
You also have "Feed the Dog" coming up.
Yeah, "Feed the Dog" is just a really fun, teenage movie with Nat Wolff and Selena Gomez, and all these other great people. It's just so silly funny and my character's super-fun.
You've had such a successful career. When you're around young actresses like Selena, do you feel any sense of mentorship? Do you give them advice?
Sometimes I feel a little bit empathetic. It's so hard when you're that young. I mean, it's so exciting, but it's kind of scary and, sometimes, when they get really excited and happy, I'm like, "Just wait, baby. You think it's so great, but you just wait."
No, I mean, of course I feel like I want to be supportive to them and make sure they're having a good time and feeling good about their work, but there's only so much you can do when you don't know someone that well. But it was nice to be around such talented young actors who really have it together.