June 23, 2010 - Rick Chatenever
We can all be forgiven falling in love with movie stars. That’s their job, after all. Case in point, Malin Akerman. The actress known for starring in films including “Watchmen,” “The Heartbreak Kid” and “Couples Retreat” was on Maui last week, giving the breathtaking sunset a run for the money at Saturday’s Taste of Wailea.
The Stockholm-born artist who grew up in Canada was attending the Maui Film Festival premiere of “happythankyou- moreplease,” written and directed by its star, Josh Radnor.
In the wry romantic dramedy set in modern Manhattan, she plays the role of Annie, a woman suffering from a rare syndrome that prevents her from growing hair. This, in turn, leads to self-esteem problems —hard to believe when you’re in her presence.
“Josh had come to me with a different role in the film, which I appreciated but I felt I had already played,” she said. “And I had just fallen in love with the role of Annie, which had already been taken. So I said, thank you but no thank you, but let me know if for some reason that role becomes available.”
Two weeks later — “I’m in France, of all places, at the film festival over there” — when the role opened up.
So she flew to New York, spent hours with Radnor going over the script, talking about what it would require — “shaving the eyebrows, totally fine — and doing everything she could to convince him.
“It still took him two days,” she went on. “He had never seen me do anything like that role, but I tried my hardest, and really made a point of let me do it!”
“I’ve done a lot of comedy, and was getting stuck in a genre, a comedy genre,” she explained. “I wanted to do some well-written scripts, characters that are more complex. This was the perfect opportunity.”
Her instincts paid off. “happythankyoumoreplease” went on to win Maui Film Festival’s Audience Award for Best Dramatic Feature.
But she’s still funny. “I grew up in a really sarcastic family, and my mother’s been very good at embarrassing me. It just kind of seemed natural to be kind of goofy and not take myself so seriously.”
She’s got a bunch of things happening in coming months — “Catch 44,” with Bruce Willis and Forest Whitaker, that starts shooting in Louisiana in July.
“It’s an indie with great characters, with a little bit of a ‘Kill Bill’ or ‘Pulp Fiction’ feeling to it. It’s dark, definitely not a comedy.”
“happythankyoumoreplease” will be released at the end of August. September marks the release of “The Romantics” with Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, Elijah Wood and Anna Paquin — “It’s a great cast, something like ‘The Big Chill.’ ”
This all follows that other phase of her career —singing in a rock band.
“I did that … for about a minute,” she laughed. “I had been in LA for about a year and hadn’t gotten any jobs acting and was approached by the guitarist of this band to help him write songs. They’re all Italians and needed an English-speaking person to sing, because they all had really heavy accents.
“That’s how I met my husband — he was the drummer in the band.”
The lucky guy, Roberto Zincone, was sitting next to her as she did the interview. They were celebrating their third anniversary the following day.
“Everyone has a fantasy of becoming a rock star. I definitely did. And I got to live out my dream for a minute. We did the whole LA circuit, we put out an album ... nobody ever heard.
“So I went back to acting and decided to give it a last shot before going back to Toronto to finish school. But then it worked out, so I never went back.”
Speaking of finishing school, Maui Scene is about to lose its own movie star when Lehia Apana leaves in July to go to graduate school at Australia’s University of Sydney.
Being a kangaroo-chasing, bungee-jumping, marathon-running, fearless kind of person, Lehia has also demonstrated a wonderful way of writing about her — and your — adventures over the last few years.
Besides bringing hundreds of you into these pages in her weekly column, and illuminating all facets of island life in her features in Sunday’s Currents section, hers has been the cheerful, helpful, caring voice the public has dealt with on the phone as she tirelessly maintained our various arts and music calendars.
Our sadness at seeing her go is balanced with the knowledge that life Down Under is going to get infinitely better once she arrives.
Aloha, Lehia —you’ve made the Scene a joy.
• Rick Chatenever will be on vacation for the next four weeks. His column will return in late July.
No comments posted for this article.
You must first login before you can comment.
WireImage.com / Randall Michelson photo Malin Akerman