Navigate: Main // INFO // Media // Interact // Links // Site Info

PRINT // << back

Perfect Stranger's Giovanni Ribisi Interview
By Nicole Porter

How well can you really know anyone? As quirky cyber geek Miles in the upcoming Columbia Pictures/Revolution thriller Perfect Stranger, actor Giovanni Ribisi proves that no one is exactly who they seem - especially when they’re online. We recently "plugged in" with Ribisi in Beverly Hills to talk about his new movie, his secret obsessions, and his very sexy co-star, Halle Berry.

UGO: We've already been told that you've been sworn to secrecy about the film's surprise ending. Without giving it away, could you tell us about Perfect Stranger?

GIOVANNI RIBISI: It's not a story where it's good versus evil, where it's black and white. Everybody is a human being and it's about how far people will go to get what they want or to cover something up and I think that that's interesting. I don't know if anybody is necessarily guilty in the movie. If you look at the context of their lives and what happens to various people and what they're ultimately trying to do is survive and get on. You know what I mean? Everybody has secrets. People are living their lives sometimes at their computer screens and carrying on relationships with other people.

UGO: What attracted you to the role of Miles, the Boy Friday with a dark secret?

GIOVANNI: The character was written as being this guy who was sort of frumpy, introverted, and overweight, the "classic" computer geek that you would see. I wanted to go in the complete opposite direction and try to make him to some degree witty, charming, and really winning over Halle's character or just thinking that he can. The idea of attempting this character-who'd ordinarily be portrayed by a character actor - who wants to be a leading man, wants to get the girl, and just fails is tragic. I think that anybody to a great or lesser degree has felt that sort of infatuation or obsession with somebody. I think dimension is what rings my bell at that moment, and mainly something that's going to be a challenge at this point. I think you have to do things that you're scared of.

UGO: Was director James Foley also a factor when you decided to sign on for this project?

GIOVANNI: I was such a fan of James Foley from At Close Range and Glengarry Glen Ross and when I was told I was going to be meeting with him on a movie I was over the moon about it. He is so great because he's so intelligent and so eccentric and has such a different viewpoint on things. By the same token, as far as being an actor's director, he's absolutely at the top. There were so many times when we'd finish something and we felt good about it and you'd hear this massive scream from behind the monitor. I think that's one of the important things that newer directors just don't understand their disposition really conducts the set's disposition on a day-to-day basis. Elia Kazan, who's in the canon of directors, said "85 percent of directing is attitude and the rest is talent."

UGO: In the film, your character has his own online persona. Were you drawing on any personal experience?

GIOVANNI: No, I don't type fast enough. It's kind of embarrassing because I'm not up-to-date. I'm old fashioned with my cell phone. I like that human contact and I think it's important.

UGO: Speaking of human contact, what was it like working with smokin' hot and extremely talented actress Halle Berry?

GIOVANNI: For me, what blew me away about her is how fearless she is. She's so f**king committed to what she does. She was just so willing to try things. I do things that some people might get offended by in the movie and she was just right there with it. It's not like acting with somebody who's just naturalistic and dead and just likes to talk and spout the lines out or something like that. It's somebody who wants to go to the movies and that's inspiring for me.

UGO: Halle isn't the only beautiful actress you get to work with in Perfect Stranger. Your character is also featured in some... ahem... racy S&M photos with Jeeper's Creepers II star Nicki Aycox. How difficult was that to shoot?

GIOVANNI: That was really just a closed down thing where it was just me and her and the photographer. It's nervous because so many times with sex scenes and sexuality in movies you already have your family back home and then it's, "Hi, I'm Giovanni! OK, here we go." That was a four day shoot and it was really intimate.

UGO: Do you ever get nervous watching yourself on onscreen?

GIOVANNI: It depends on what I've had for breakfast. With this I felt at ease, I felt like I was watching a movie and that's a nod towards the director as well. For instance, in Saving Private Ryan I saw the movie more or less at the premiere because I was nervous about it. I don't even remember seeing it because of the lights and there was too much going on at that moment you can't really concentrate. Then I saw it like last week on TV and was like, "Oh yeah, I was in that." It's a great movie, I think it's a really good movie and I'm really proud of the whole thing. It just brought back all of the memories. I just think I need a little time.

UGO: You said everyone has a secret passion. Could you let us in on one of yours?

GIOVANNI: I do want to direct. I have aspirations of making films myself one day.

Source: undergroundonline