What was it like working with Kevin Smith?
Edit: You are awesome in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, by the way.
Love Kevin. He is a gentle, sweet soul...underneath a crass exterior. Was fun working with a fellow Jersey guy.
Thank you for doing this AMA! Just curious what your favorite acting role has been for you so far, and why?
I have been very lucky to have roles that have created incredible times in my life, from my first movie (Varsity Blues) to working with Reese Witherspoon on Legally Blonde to the Heroes pilot.
I'll be very surprised if it isn't the whipped cream bikini.
That's definitely up there. Let's just say shaving cream isn't quite as tasty as whipped cream.
Just curious what your favorite movie and TV show is?
From someone in the industry, I'd be interested to know what you like to kick back and watch when not working.
Truly obsessed with Breaking Bad. I was blown away they didn't get recognized at SAG awards and Globes. I thought the last season was one of the best things I've ever seen on TV. Took me a while to get into it but ended up loving Boardwalk Empire...I like to watch it late at night in bed, it slows down my heartbeat. Modern Family is always an easy watch. Very excited for Mad Men to come back. Oh - and Downton Abbey...Mary, enough said.
Hi, welcome to Reddit.
Are you working on any cool projects we should know about?
I'm developing a TV show. I love the brainstorming and creative process...exciting to be a producer, help guide the show, and be an actress.
I've also been working on a cookbook about entertaining. I started traveling at a young age, and cooking/entertaining was a way to create a familial environment everywhere I went.
What's the TV show going to be about? Can you give us any details?
It's a dark comedy based in the charity world...it's about doing bad in the name of good.
Did you attend this camp as a 10-12 year old? Never in a million years did I think I would get to confirm what I remember. I've held this in for 6 years with no real way to confirm if my memory is true.
If no, you can stop reading here, as I am about to make a fool of myself. If yes, you can stop reading here unless you want to read me making a fool of myself.
I went to a camp a couple of times as a kid. My mother was a very poor single mom and somehow got me enrolled into a welfare program in which I got to go to camp. The camp had an Indian tribe theme and I was in the Cherokee tribe.
So I got to go off on my own for a week. I thought I was the man. I might actually be cool because these were a totally different group of people.
Well on one of the nights there is a dance. I got dressed up as best someone could with no clothes at the age of 11.
No girls wanted to dance with me. I got depressed and I went down to the lake to cry like the little wuss I was at 11. (okay I admit, this was a tactic I used up until I was like 25) One of the counselors saw me and came down to talk to me. She brought me back and I guess she made some girl dance with me.
The girl was smoking hot, as smoking hot as an 11 year old could be. I still remember the hair, red outfit, and falling instantly in love. After all, she didn't protest to dance with an extremely growing awkward prepubescent me. So it was definitely love.
My confidence shot through the roof. I was walkin' high.
I asked her name. She said, "Ali". I said "what?" She said "Ali". And I said "what?" and she then shouted "Alison!" At me.
Then something bad happened. I turned to find her dancing with Jon Davies. Jon Davies was the only kid at camp that went to my school. So he knew how much of an unpopular kid I was, His mother once made me eat a grilled cheese sandwich and I did not like her.
And now he was dancing with my Alison.
I was immediately hurt.
At the end of the night, I wrote up on a pad of paper a letter to my love Alison. I remember writing about how Jon was dumb and he goes to my school and how mean he was.
How could you Alison?
I planned on giving her this letter before we left camp in attempt to sweep her off her feet. I hope she would write me and be my girlfriend in a weird crush only an 11 year old boy could have.
Sometime in the next few days we ended up at the same lunch table. Somehow we got into a fight over who should clean the table because it was both our tribes turn to do so. I remember protesting and my beloved Alison was mad at me.
On the last night, we have a meeting with an adult dressed as a tribal chief. We are supposed to do feats to impress him. I tried to put both my legs behind my head and failed. It was almost as humiliating as walking into the female counselors bathroom accidentally while they were taking showers(something I did that year too, I was a stupid kid). So I again humiliated myself in front of my dear Alison who I could no longer speak to and who I never gave my letter to.
So my question is this, are you the little girl whose name I carved into my bookshelf? The girl who until the age of 20, (what can I say-I was/am a loser) that I thought about as the one who got away?
As a side note, when I first saw Final Destination, there was something else very remotely "different" feeling. I never made the connection. Just like every other male, I thought, "wow she is attractive".
Until one day in like 2006, I looked her up on IMDB, and I saw she was from Cherry Hill, NJ, and her given name was Alison... She is the same age as me, so that fits... holy shit... could it be?
Then a wave of nostalgia flooded back and I remembered my Alison was from Cherry Hill. I remembered the "Ali" "Alison" conversation. It hit me like a ton of bricks.
So I've been going around telling my friends about how, I, a really fat and unappealing man may have once danced with one of the most beautiful women in the world. Am I delusional?
And fuck Jon Davies.
edit: I'm confused. She said she was at camp when she was a little girl. Yes, this would have been around both our ages of 9, 10, 11, 12... I think it was 11, but not positive
So close... haha
Oh jeeze people, I'm not a stalker. You have one 25 year old memory and all the sudden peop.... ok yeah, it is a bit weird.
For reals, I just wanted confirmation that my memory was that good. That is all. Nothing more,
final edit: http://i.imgur.com/vvBGP.jpg
It wasn't her.
Thanks to Ali for being a good sport about it. :) Ya'll can downvote me to hell now for making a fool of myself... haha
This is an awesome story...but I haven't been to camp since I was a little girl, and I don't think it's me. But sometimes fantasy is better than reality.
So I've been going around telling my friends about how, I, a really fat and unappealing man may have once danced with one of the most beautiful women in the world.
I changed my mind, it was me. ;)
EDIT: Sorry, I don't recognize/remember that structure.
What has been your favourite piece of work been and why?
As a professional actress what's your view on SOPA/PIPA?
Working in a creative industry, I am obviously concerned about piracy and copyright protection. I just don't think the laws, as written, truly address that...we shouldn't trade piracy for censorship. It's a slippery slope.
Did you have any trouble with working with so many different versions of yourself in Heroes?
I did not initially know I was going to play someone with multiple personalities (or multiple characters). It was like playing a new character every day, and I got to dive into Jungian theory. Win/win.
I like personal questions. What is your favorite meal to cook?
What do you think about the way Heroes ended?
Hi Ali, I've been looking forward to your AMA so I can finally find out the answer to something I've wondered for a while: which one of us is older?
I was born around 6pm EST, you?
I was born at 9:18am, whippersnapper.
One question that was always intriguing me is how you deal with your fame. In particular, the part where star-struck people on the Internet publicly fantasize about you. Are you amused, disgusted, or do you simply ignore that?
I ignore it. I have a fantasy world/life, too.
Are you a gamer? Do you play any games from time to time?
Scrabble. I bought my husband a backgammon set for Christmas and promised we would learn. Don't really play video games.
Ali, from a fellow New Jerseyan, how do you feel about the stereotypes of New Jersey? Thanks so much for the AMA!
I laugh at them. I am so proud to come from New Jersey. I grew up going to Stone Harbor and LB Island, the cranberry bogs and the Pine Barrens, plus there's the beautiful Jersey corn and tomatoes...and I love that people speak their mind and have a sense of humor.
How did you get into acting?
It is a creative way for me to express my feelings and comment on life. I've worked with different coaches...different classes...I feel it's ultimately the study of one's self.
Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?
Duck-sized horses, FOR SURE.
best on-screen kiss?
1) What's your dream role? (Is there any character or character-type you would like to have the opportunity to play that you haven't? Or any existing character you'd love to be able to inhabit?)
2) If you could have a Heroes superpower in real life, which one would you want?
I respond to work that bisects human psyches. I want to work with filmmakers that have a comment on the "hero's journey." I love Jessica Lange in "Frances" and "Blue Sky" but she inhabits those roles so completely I would never dream of tackling them. It's more about inspiration that wanting to take over a role.
Tell us something we probably don't know about Heroes, and what was your favourite moment working on the series?
I adored working with Bryan Fuller, one of the writers. He's great at developing female characters.
I just finished Hunger Games trilogy, Wanderlust; The Psychopath Test is next. Ultimate favorites include Shantaram, She's Come Undone, Madame Bovary.
(Many years ago I was traveling through London with a boyfriend. He was busy with work so I went off to Bath, England, and I sat in the lavender gardens and read Madame Bovary. And I felt such despair for this woman, and the expectation of how she was supposed to live her life. I spoke to my parents about it and my Dad asked "why would you respond to that whore?" and I just didn't see her like that...I felt sorry for her, and responded to her passion to seize/live life on her terms.
what is your favorite movie/tv show that you starred in or worked on? and why is it your favorite? P.S. You are one of my favorite actresses
Heroes is the only TV show I've been a regular on, so that's my favorite...by default.
Dear Ali, How did you like being able to portray Clear Rivers in the first Final Destination film, from 2000? Could you describe how you felt about her character in your own words?
I only ask because I think you brought such a unique and captivating character alive in that movie, and I can't help but find myself mesmerized by her every time I see it. Your character was just so perfect, and that's more than I can say for any other fictional person I've come across.
I just really wanted to let you know. :)
I thought it was an edgy, interesting script when I read it. It was fun to get to play against type.
Have you played any of the Resident Evil games?
No. Not really a video gamer.
What was your experience working on the 2007 movie Marigold? Whats Salman Khan like in person??
He is amazing. Just saw him last week and had a Marigold reunion with him and Ian Bohen. One of the best adventures of my life. It was unforgettable living in Bombay and Jodhpur for a month.
I am sorry to inflict my singing and dancing on everyone.
What would you say your worst habit is? (e.g. talking during movies, biting your nails, badly timed jokes)
Use five words to describe yourself. (e.g. a leader, loud, timid etc.)
Can you give Canada a little shout out?
My worst habit is being self-critical.
Adventurous, decisive, curious, loyal, passionate.
What's up, Canada!
How big into music are you? If at all, who are some of your most notable artists/bands?
I love Pit Bull, Billie Holiday, Coldplay, Rihanna.
I don't have time to stay on top of music as much as I'd like...any suggestions?
A couple of years ago, myself and a group of friends were in a cabin and somewhat intoxicated. We were quite bored and decided to attempt to film Varsity Blues from memory. Do you have any desire to see our interpretation of your whip cream bikini scene?
If you could play any role in the history of film, who would it be?
I would rather try something that's never been done.
Hi Ali! A good few years back I sent you a fan letter which you signed for me, it was just after you did the first final destination film, would like to thank you now for this as I never had the chance to before! Boring question I guess but what is your favorite movie and genre of music? I'm trying to go volunteer working for a few months to CA come this summer, pros and con's of CA? Thanks :D x
I have a handful of favorite movies:
In LA, the Santa Monica's farmers market, oysters on the deck of Shutters at Sunset, Sunday afternoons @ The Abbey, Mozza Pizzeria.
Ali, will you go to the Air Force Ball with me? :D
Where and when?
And: are you really in the Air Force?
EDIT: Proof. Thank you for thinking of me. Someone reached out to you this morning from another acct....
Who have you worked with who is very different off-camera than you would think?
Amy Smart! She's a horrible human being. Just kidding...she's my best friend. :)
Hi Ali! You often played roles in horror films - House on Haunted Hill, Resident Evil, Final Destination, etc. As an actress, how do you get into the mindset of a horror film? What's your process? Thanks!
I approach it through character, not genre.
Will you admit once and for all that you are also the jazz singer Diana Krall?
How's being married to Elvis Costello? Does it ever get weird having the double life as a Canadian Musician / Jersey Actress?
We were just cast to play twins in the Heroes movie!
(That's a joke.)
Are snail-mail fan letters still common for celebrities? Do you read and respond to them? What's some of the craziest stuff you've been mailed?
I don't and never will respond to anything that comes to my home.
Someone brought me a Heroes lunchbox when I did Regis & Kathie Lee, that was pretty neat.
How were you approached for the initial Allegra Coleman article, and how long did you manage to keep the charade of Allegra Coleman going for? That's one of the most creative ways to break into hollywood I've ever seen.
It was a photographer I was working with, and he "cast" me in the part and it ended up being a really interesting comment on the industry's desire to manufacture stars.
Did not encounter any backlash.
I would love to hear about how you balance such a demanding career with being a mommy. Any tips?
Welcome to Reddit, btw!
From stay at home moms to corporate ladies, I think there's always some sense of guilt in the choices you make for yourself. For me, I have been so lucky being able to be at home with my son for his first year. I'm also a working mom, and to be a great mom I need to honor my creative desires.
Also important to take time to be with my husband. I believe how you spend your time together is more important than the amount of time you spend together.
I've always wondered this, and now seems like an appropriate time to ask since you're an actual celebrity (huge fan by the way). Whenever you need something, say like groceries or like batteries or something, I don't know, do you just go out and buy it? I'd imagine at least some people recognize you. Does that bother you or keep you from venturing outside sometimes?
It definitely makes me think twice about about whatever outfit I'm wearing before I run out to get something @ Coffee Bean or run errands. The paparazzi are why you'll usually see me wearing huge dark sunglasses when I'm out doing that.
[Very long question]
Thank you for taking the time to compile this...I added a couple more answers. :)