Mena Suvari On 'Garden Of Eden," Filming Sex Scenes
Mena Suvari first turned heads in Hollywood with American Beauty and her comic turn in American Pie. Now she is playing the doe-eyed Eastern European princess is in The Garden of Eden, based on a posthumously released Ernest Hemingway novel, which hits theaters December 10.
The Estonian-Greek-American actress and model was born in Newport, Rhode Island, and has lived in the Virgin Islands, Charleston, S.C., and now California. While living in Charleston, she signed up to work with Wilhelmina Modeling Agency which came to recruit girls from her middle school, Ashley Hall. Her greatest accomplishment with Wilhelmina was modeling for Oscar de la Renta print ads. While living in California with her parents she made her television debut on a Rice-A-Roni commercial followed by appearances on Boy Meets World, ER and Chicago Hope.
Suvari’s film career has made great strides since her Slums Of Beverly Hills days. Whether she plays a prudish choir girl in American Pie, an intriguing seductress in American Beauty, a dirty mouthed cheerleader in Sugar and Spice, a sexually open artist in Six Feet Under, or a perky tennis player in Rumor Has It, Suvari is her own kind of It Girl.
Suvari’s latest character as Catherine Hill Bourne is a mixture of many of her previous roles, marking the evolution of her acting career. In our exclusive interview she gives her take on the production behind the adaptation of one of Hemingway’s raciest novels. “It’s very sexual, and people don’t necessarily know what to do with that, how to market it,” Suvari told Uinterview exclusively. But for Mena, filming the sexual stuff was nothing short of a day’s work. “I’ve done things like that before, and I don’t look it at it like that,” she says. “What captivated me was the story, as a whole, and this woman, [my character] Catherine’s journey.”
- Q: The movie's release was delayed by two years. What exactly happened? - SmartFree
- A: I have no idea. I’m just very thankful that it’s finally coming out. We all put our heart and soul into this project. I think that’s what you want most as an actor, is for people to see your work. The Garden of Eden, the book, is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read. It’s one of my favorite, favorite books. And I feel like everyone should just read that book. For me, it changed my life, changed my perspective on so many things. So it’s a good story to be told. But it’s unusual, especially with the business changing so much. It’s not a run-of-the-mill broad comedy or animation in 3D. It’s very sexual, and people don’t necessarily know what to do with that, how to market it.
- Q: Did you hesitate about the nudity and sexual subject matter? - Sandy
- A: I didn’t really. I’ve done things like that before, and I don’t look it at it like that. What captivated me was the story, as a whole, and this woman, [my character] Catherine’s journey. The sexuality in the film is just an expression of that journey — her trying to find her own identity, going moment by moment and trying to make herself whole. I think a lot of these decisions came out of her insecurity, really.
- Q: Was there a moment in filming that kind of stands out as being the most memorable for you? - peterwhite2162
- A: The scenes when we were in the bar — at the hotel with Marita — those were kind of heavy scenes for me. There was a lot going on, there’s like a tornado inside of Catherine, and trying to still function mentally and emotionally, and I just feel really grateful to have such an amazing director, he supported me 110 percent on this film. It was very important to me on this film that a lot of the language carried over from the book into the film, and I really worked with him on that and understanding where she was coming from every moment. He really worked with me on that.
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