Thursday, October 10, 2013

TV Store Online talks with Say Anything's Ione Skye

"Caring, spacy and smart,'' are the first words that flash from Ione Skye's mind when she's asked to describe herself.  If you ask Ione Skye whether or not she's fine with being remembered only for her work in the Cameron Crowe film SAY ANYTHING (1989) she says, "I'm OK with it, I don't mind."     But maybe she should mind, considering the fact that she's given us twenty five years of incredible work and all.   Skye has shined brighter than a diamond in films like RIVER'S EDGE (1986), A NIGHT IN THE LIFE OF JIMMY REARDON (1988), GAS FOOD LODGING (1992) and FOUR ROOMS (1995) for example.    Hell, Skye even went "Grindhouse" before anyone else with her work in the Sam Fuller scripted girl-behind-bars GIRLS IN PRISON for Showtime back in the mid '90s. There's a lot of great work here and why hasn't the mainstream media picked up on that about Skye yet?

Why hasn't the internet paid more attention to Skye the great actress?  There seems to be a disturbing amount of attention dedicated to Skye's fluxing up and down he-said-she-said personal life than to her actual work in front of the camera?   Doing a basic Google search today yields little notice about Skye's great work and more about who she's been married to, who she may or may not have been dating at one time some years back, and whether or not she is fashionable.    There's a decades old interview with Skye online, and literally hundreds of websites showcasing  her at a premiere with husband Ben Lee.  Yet, there are no articles about her incredible work online to date.  

Anyone remotely familiar with Skye knows that her father is '60s legendary psychedelic folk rocker Donovan, and there are certainly those that remember Skype merely for her connections to former Beastie Boy Adam "King Ad-Rock" Horowitz or Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers pre "Under The Bridge,"  but hasn't anyone seen THE RACHEL PAPERS (1989)?  Ione Skye is incredible in the Damian Harris directed '80s teen dramedy, and that's just the tip of the iceberg post SAY ANYTHING.  She's the dictionary definition of the quintessential underrated and under used actress in Hollywood today.   One only need take a look at Allison Anders must see 1992 indie Gas Food Lodging to see a truly brilliant Ione Skye at work. This is the place to start for those not in the know.

Skye on Arrested Development
In recent years Skye's been busy. She was in David Fincher's ZODIAC (2007).  She was on Arrested Development.  She's become a mother of two.  She's involved in several Los Angeles charities and she's also become a director and a accomplished painter.    Check out her website HERE:

TV STORE ONLINE:  Where does your first name "Ione" come from?

SKYE:  My first name comes from my mom actually. There were two Scottish sisters that my mom knew. They were called Fiona and Ione. My mom really liked the name. There’s a more common “Iona” as well. But “Ione” has a cool Celtic background, and it also has some Greek background to it as well.

TV STORE ONLINE:  How many people have come up to you and mispronounced your name?

SKYE:  A million. I just got back from doing a project over in Ireland. And everyone was calling me “Iona.” Although it’s a rare name in the states, it’s very common over there.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Where does your initial interest in acting come from do you think?

SKYE:  As a kid I loved musicals. I would dance around the house to WEST SIDE STORY (1961). Then as I got older I started watching the Z Channel in Los Angeles. They started showing these really cool somewhat obscure films, and I loved watching all of those. My mom, had very good taste in film as well. So as a teen, I was really into like artsy really cool films. I’ve actually always been kinda shy though. My brother Donovan Leitch has always been very outgoing, and as we got older, he started going out for auditions. And it was through him pushing me that I finally stepped out and got into acting. But it took a lot of pushing cause I’m just not a natural extrovert in any way.

TV STORE ONLINE:  Want to name any actresses that have influenced you?

SKYE:  Influence wise...I love Vivian Leigh, Esther Williams, and I like Diane Keaton, Shirley MaClaine and Debra Winger. I even loved the Doris Day movies when I was a teenager. Those really stand out for me.

TV STORE ONLINE:  How did you get involved with RIVER'S EDGE?

SKYE:  My mom had some photographer friends. And they came over one day to take pictures, and they were taking pictures in our living room, and I got caught in one of the pictures. It was in the L.A. Weekly.  My brother actually auditioned for the movie first. The project had this great buzz about it. All the teen actors in Los Angeles at the time really wanted to be in the film because it was a hot script. So my brother told me that I should go in to audition because he talked to the casting director about me. They had connected us as brother and sister. The casting director had saw the picture of me from the L.A. Weekly. I was not happy in high school. I went to this big high school that I got lost in. All I could think about was getting out of there. So I went in for the audition and got it.

  Crispin Glover was pretty incredible in RIVER'S EDGE.... As an actress starting your career on a film with such a cast.. How was it working with Glover, River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves? Were they giving actors? Was there any type of ego flare-ups happening on set?

SKYE:  Well, all of us involved were just blown away by Crispin Glover. He had just come off of BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985), and he was really into the whole process. So all of us would just stand around with our mouths wide open just watching him at work. He was fearless, bold, and over the top. Keanu wasn’t famous yet. He hadn’t really done anything yet . So after Dennis Hopper, Crispin Glover was the biggest star of the film. We all bonded on that film. We were all teenagers that became friends.

Crispin Glover was into his own thing. He wasn’t a diva, he was all about the art. River was very warm and very sweet. He had no ego. But he was also a little eccentric. He was also very interested in the art of acting. Everyone was so great to work with.

Keanu Reeves & Ione Skye in RIVER'S EDGE
TV STORE ONLINE: In doing the sex scenes with Keanu Reeves... How did you approach those going into them being so young? Were you nervous about it?

SKYE: I was only fifteen when I made RIVER'S EDGE and I was very precocious. Growing up in Hollywood, I had already been exposed to so many things, so the content wasn’t anything shocking to me. When it came to making out with Keanu Reeves I was really shy, and I was very conscious to not allow myself to be exploited. The set, and the crew on RIVER'S EDGE were very respectful of me. It wasn’t what I thought it would be. I really thought going onto that set was gonna be an experience like you read about. or something. You know, someone offers you cocaine or something, and it wasn’t like that. It was a movie that was made by very smart people.

TV STORE ONLINE: Do you ever Google yourself? It seems like there is more written about your personal life than your actual work. Is that discouraging to you?

SKYE: Sure...I do Google and Wire Image myself, but only to see like how I look. But not often. Like if I’ve been out to a premiere or a party or something, and I’ve got on a special dress, then I’ll Google myself to see how I looked in the pictures that people took of me.

Skye and husband Ben Lee
Also, I do wish that I would’ve done more films that I could be more proud of. I mean, I’m not a one hit wonder in any way. I’ve done a couple movies that are well known. I did RIVER'S EDGE and SAY ANYTHING. For sure, I wish my career would have gone in a bigger direction. I think it’s me butting up against my very shy side, and also my very rebellious side in a sense. Back then, when I was in my 20’s when the iron was hot, I wasn’t interested in that type of work ethic. I was flaky, and I was more interested in going on tour with my then husband who was in the Beastie Boys. But now, I’m very different. I’ve got that work ethic now and I make myself available to projects that are interesting to me.

TV STORE ONLINE: Do you consider yourself a private person?

SKYE:  I am very open. I am not private about my personal life with people I feel comfortable with. I’ve always been afraid of putting myself out there though. I do wish I was bolder, and less fearful. It’s something that I’m working on. I have to always push myself into being an extrovert. A lot of things I’m interested in, I do alone, painting and such. But I do love performing it just takes a lot for me to convince myself to do it!

TV STORE ONLINE: Do you remember doing that Howard Stern interview where you talked about your dad a few years ago? 

SKYE:  Sure. 

TV STORE ONLINE:   Channeling a inner Howard Stern.....From a psychological standpoint... With all of the dating and marrying musicians that you've done in your past...Do you think that that has anything to do with the problems that you've had with your dad in the past?

SKYE: Sure...But my mom has a lot to do with that aspect of my life too. She was everywhere in the 60’s. She dated this musician, and that musician, and she lived in London in the 60’s. It was an important time in her life. She talked so fondly about those days, that I’m sure that it has had an influence or an imprint on me totally. I mean I’m married to a musician now...laughing

TV STORE ONLINE: How did you get involved in THE RACHEL PAPERS?

SKYE:  I loved Martin Amis the writer. When I heard that they were doing the movie I went and met with the director Damien Harris. I charmed him. There are three Harris brothers: Jared, Jamie and Damien. And they’re all brilliant. They are Richard Harris’ sons. So going in, since I knew that I was so bad at auditioning, I knew I had to charm him. Now, I don’t mean sexually charm him, but I mean just charm him with my personality. It was a project that I really wanted to do.

TV STORE ONLINE: On that note..Did you have to audition for SAY ANYTHING?

SKYE:  Yes. Many times. But before that, I got in with Cameron Crowe because I was good friends with Moon Zappa and Cameron was really good friends with the Zappa family. So way before he was even casting for the film I had met him. I think part of my appeal for him was the fact that I was Donovan’s daughter. You know because he is so into musicians. Even after that though I had to audition for James L. Brooks several times and then finally after all that they had these discussions about whether I was even really very good or not. So it was a long process to get that role.

TV STORE ONLINE: How was Cameron Crowe as a director? How did he compare in terms with other directors you worked with prior?

SKYE: He was very nice. His thing is is that he is a nice guy. He was always confident, and he had great energy. He’s passionate and you feel like you’re being taken care of when you’re working with him. He’s this whiz kid that has this friendly and wholesome quality to him.

TV STORE ONLINE: Where does the character of Diane Court come from for you?

SKYE:  I think she comes from inside me. I think she’s got the same qualities as me. Also, I think she comes from an aspect of Cameron too. Same thing with "Lloyd Dobler". I think he’s another aspect of Cameron. You know, Lloyd’s not classically good looking or whatever, and he’s not really in a scene or click at school but he’s very popular. He ends up not doing what everyone thought he would do. He ends up doing well. I think Diane Court is like me, and Cameron too, in that sense that we both have that very innocent side. And at the same time, we’re both precocious as well.

Skye & Cusack in SAY ANYTHING (1989)
TV STORE ONLINE: Do you have a favorite SAY ANYTHING scene?

SKYE: I really love the scene were he has a broken heart and he is asks for advice from his friends. I love that and I’m not in that scene. Making SAY ANYTHING was such a big experience for me and it’s hard for me to even look at it objectively now. It’s easier for me to like the scenes that I’m not in.  It was just such a big part of my life and I have a hard time watching it now because I can’t watch it as just a movie. SAY ANYTHING is more like I’m watching my personal experience of making it.

TV STORE ONLINE: Can you watch your own work after you've finished with a character?  Some actors can't....

SKYE: I can. But it takes me like a good year or two after the work is done before I’ll do that. I will, but usually the first time I like to watch something alone.. It takes me a couple times before I can get past my own experience of doing the film before I can see the actual film and it’s story. Some things are easier than others though. As I get older it gets easier for me.

TV STORE ONLINE: How many times have you been approached by a fan about the boombox scene in SAY ANYTHING? Do you ever get sick of being asked about it?

SKYE: Forty times...laughing...I don't know...a lot! I don’t get sick of it actually. I mean, I appreciate it. Having someone come up to you and start talking about that scene or SAY ANYTHING in general is great. At this level, it’s amazing. It’s just enough fame to keep your ego going and at the same time it’s perfect because I still get to have a totally private life.

TV STORE ONLINE: How did you get involved with Allison Ander's GAS FOOD LODGING?

SKYE: My brother auditioned for it. He said that I would love the project and that  I should audition. At the time, again, I was just being flaky.  I didn’t really care about doing it. But I went in and I guess Allison Anders just saw something in me that she liked. I think she liked my other work. I’m sure I gave a horrible audition though.

TV STORE ONLINE: How was that whole experience for you? Is Allison Anders one of your favorite directors that you’ve worked with in your career?

SKYE: The whole experience was very in tune. I felt the most in sync with that character. It wasn’t the first time I had worked with a female director, but I was very conscious that I was. She was great. It was easy to get into that character because we were on location and that makes it easier for an actor to get into the role then if you’re living in a city. The whole experience was amazing. Everyone was on the same page. Everybody was wonderful. It was just great. And the most important aspect of it all was that during production I really felt so confident in that role. Where as, when I did SAY ANYTHING I felt very insecure. I took to ‘Trudie’ like a duck to water.

TV STORE ONLINE: Where do you think you channeled Trudie from within? Did you feel any kind of kinship with that character?

Skye as "Trudie" In Anders 1992 film
SKYE: Well, I grew up with just my mother. And Trudie did that too. So I could really relate to that single mother raising two kids alone aspect. We’re both precocious. And you could just tell that Trudie didn’t feel as good as she looked. But I think I could really relate to her on a lot of deep levels.

TV STORE ONLINE: Nudity question...Does it come easy for you?  There is that big scene in GAS FOOD....

SKYE: I’ve always taken the stance that if the film is good, then it’s OK. That’s my mindset. In America we’re so weird about it. We’d rather show violence than nudity. And in Europe it’s very different. What I find offensive is when I see things like “Girls Gone Wild,” where girls are using their sexuality to get attention and get noticed. But if the nudity required in the film is important to the character or the film I don’t have a problem with it.

TV STORE ONLINE: Do you hear about a project or an casting opportunity now on a film or television series and go after it and audition for it, or are you approached for projects?

Tim Roth and Ione Skye in FOUR ROOMS (1995)
SKYE: Usually I’m approached. But sometimes if I like a television show or something, I’ll ask my agents if I can get in to do work on the project. I’ve had a few times were I’ve met a director or producer and they’ve told me, “I really wanted you for my project, but you never came in.” So I’m really conscious to make sure that my agent is following through with the right people for me now. In the past I wasn’t so aware of these things but now I’m trying to be more hands on about it. I’m keeping my eyes open more.

TV STORE ONLINE: Do you ever feel like you're underrated in the truest sense of the word as an actress?

SKYE: Sure. Of course, I’d love to be used more. Occasionally I’ve felt that there has been a few projects that I really wanted to do, but didn’t get to. These were projects that I really thought I was right for. Then at same time, I understand there are just some things I’m not right for. Other times I’m told “We really wanna see you more...” So it evens itself out.

TV STORE ONLINE: How did you get involved in that fun Showtime Channel John McNaughton / Sam Fuller GIRLS IN PRISON project back in the 1990's?

SKYE: I was just offered it. I am a big fan of the films of Sam Fuller. So I thought this could be really fun, and similar to one of those great old B movies.

TV STORE ONLINE: You've been directing recently...I know you just shot a new short now long ago... But what about the first short film you shot a few years back called BED, BATH and BEYOND? What's it about? Where can people see it?

SKYE: It’s about a Euro type director / producer that Roman Coppola plays. He was making a movie about the Latino singer Selena that was killed. It’s a weird, trendy version of a soap opera with a lot of crazy things going on in it. We’ve got S&M and lesbians and it’s very low-res. We all really directed it. It was myself and Roman and Sofia Coppola.  Spike Jonze worked on it too. It’s not available to see, but I’ll try to get it up on the web, because it’s kind of a cult film I guess now.

Jennifer Aniston and Ione Skye in INSOMNIAC
TV STORE ONLINE: I'm a big fan of your work in DREAM FOR AN INSOMNIAC (1996). How did you get involved in that project?

SKYE: Well thanks...There was a Production Assistant that I worked with on the set of Allison Anders segment of FOUR ROOMS. She was a fan of mine and one day she walked up to me, and she said, “One day, I’m gonna direct a movie and I want you to be in it.” So eventually, I think with the help of her dad she got to make her movie and I did the film.

TV STORE ONLINE: Can you talk about that film you did a few years back RETURN TO BABYLON that still hasn't come out yet?  Did you research Virginia Rappe?

SKYE:  Yes, I read about it actually. I didn’t go crazy in depth or anything in my research. But I did do some research. That was a while ago. I read some books about the Fatty Arbuckle story. I love that time of Hollywood, but it’s kinda creepy to me, for some reason. I also think that when I did that film I was in a weird place in my life.  I’ve still never seen the finished film. It was a weird character to play, and it kinda creeps me out now.

TV STORE ONLINE: You're a mother of two now. How is that for you? Does it change your perspective on things?  Is working as important as it once was to you?

SKYE:  Yes, but motherhood really focuses you. As a result of that, it's made me really focus on work. It’s really fulfilling to be a parent. After my first daughter was born, I really noticed that I was a more compassionate person. I’m re-married now and I’m very happy. As you get older you really figure out what you want in life. Re-marrying, I knew I wanted someone that was going be very supportive, and someone that was gonna be good with my daughter. Our relationship is really fun, and I really admire him and he’s light and has a great energy to him.

Check out Ione Skye's official website HERE:  Also watch for her in the new movie DEAR ELEANOR slated for release in 2014.  The film is directed by Entourage's "Eric Murphy" himself, Kevin Connolly.