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Quotes from 2011

I was just happy that Matt [Damon] and I spent about the same amount of time in the makeup chair. It’s the only time that’s ever happened in my life, that my leading man and I came out at the same time.
– On her natural appearance in We Bought a Zoo

The city is very kind to me. It wraps its big, warm arms around me and keeps me safe. I feel good here.
– On living in New York

It’s lovely to be compared to somebody as sort of effervescent and charming and fragile and I think kind of an underrated actor, really,
– On being compared to Marilyn Monroe

I’ve had a lot of really great on-screen romances, but Hugh Jackman was wonderful. They call him the mayor of Hollywood, he’s so old-school and kind of reminds me of, I don’t know — he’s got that Cary Grant quality. He can sort of do anything.

If I’m doing a red carpet, I’ll usually look to the golden age of Hollywood a little bit, whether that’s Rita Hayworth or Lauren Bacall or later, like Brigitte Bardot. I like to kind of give a nod to that era; I feel like the red carpet deserves it.

I’ve always wanted to work with Tim Burton, I love the world he creates and I hope that I can work with him someday. It’d be my dream come true.

My favorite actors are actors who are enigmatic and mysterious and never make the obvious choice in terms of the projects they do or who they work with or their craft. But I think that the less I know about an actor, the more chance I have of allowing their own persona to kind of slip away so I can get completely lost in the character they’re playing, and the more that people think they know about your personal life, the more difficult it becomes to preserve that. So when I’m not working or promoting something, I try to be as under-the-radar as I can.

Working with these incredible hair and makeup teams, you go in looking like a schmoe, and you come out like a movie star. You go through the works, and then you’re like this perfectly prepared sausage… no one ever sees what goes in.

It had been a while since I made a film where I wasn’t elbowing someone in the face. I went into We Bought a Zoo and I didn’t know how to do it, exactly. I had ideas and things I wanted to do, but I was a little bit raw. I felt out of practice and a bit exposed. I was feeling very protective of myself. But Cameron’s [Crowe] world was very welcoming.

As a person in the public eye, I have always felt that if I have the good fortune of being able to shed a spotlight on different causes that I feel passionately about… I never tell people whom to vote for. I’m not telling people where to give money, but if there is to be a spotlight shed on me, then I’d like to direct that spotlight onto causes I think are worthy or onto interesting, progressive figures.

The roles that are really available for young women most of the time are the ingénue, the other woman, the girlfriend of someone, and as I’ve gotten older, it’s nice to be able to move into territory where the characters that I’m playing and looking at are women who are established. It’s nice to be kind of transitioning into that phase of my career.

I loved Avatar. I caught it at the IMAX 3-D. Wow. It was so incredible. I sat there with my humongous popcorn, giant soda, Raisinets, and those ridiculous glasses. I practically got a bladder infection because I didn’t want to leave my seat the whole time. It was so amazing. I love that moviegoing experience. I love it.

One of the best things I learned this year was to not read any tabloid, gossipy, you know, garbage. It really keeps you on the straight and narrow.

I don’t have a Facebook or a Twitter account, and I don’t know how I feel about this idea of, “Now, I’m eating dinner, and I want everyone to know that I’m having dinner at this time.” or “I just mailed a letter and dropped off my kids.” That, to me, is a very strange phenomenon. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do less than have to continuously share details of my everyday life.

For me, it’s like, I used up all my subway tokens. It’s a privilege to not have to take the subway. I like the subway. It gets you places fast, but I’d rather hail a cab. Or walk.

The only reason why Woody [Allen] and I are still friends is because I’ve diagnosed all kinds of his skin tags, lesions, ailments. I’ve prescribed things for Woody that he’s then asked his doctor to prescribe for him. I would have loved to have gone into diagnostic medicine.

You have to be careful about advertising, but I chose particular brands that made sense for me. I wouldn’t be selling you shaving cream.

I’ve become a little less snobby about the budget of a film and what that means to me as an artist. I guess I learned not to judge projects based on how big the craft-service table was going to be. I think you have to be aware of your own value in some sense, but not to the degree of compromising your idea of what kind of film you want to be a part of. I would never knowingly go into a film that I wouldn’t pay to see, or something that didn’t challenge me. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to do that.

Quotes from 2012

We always kept our story private—how we met, our wedding, everything. It was about us.
– On her marriage to Ryan Reynolds

It was horrible. Of course it’s horrible. It was devastating. It really throws you. You think that your life is going to be one way, and then, for various reasons or whatever, it doesn’t work out. This was something I never thought I would be doing, and there’s no way to navigate it. Nobody can give you the right answer. It’s never anything you want to hear. It’s a very lonely thing. It’s like the loneliest thing you’ll ever do, in some way. It was a beautiful thing, the falling in love and getting married and making that commitment. I think it’s nice to know that you’re capable of loving somebody in that way. I think it’s a rare opportunity. I don’t feel on the other side of it completely, but it gets better. It’s still there. More than anything, it’s just that not having your buddy around all the time is weird. There’s no rule book. I think it’s just time.
– On her divorce

It wasn’t just me, it was others. I don’t want to be a victim and say, ‘Oh, well’ and just hide my head in shame. Somebody stole something from me… It’s sick. I don’t want people like that to slide. When all those photos came out, of course I go out to dinner and think, Goddamn it, these people have all seen my… That’s terrible. You know what I mean? You can’t not think that. Even if they haven’t, you’re paranoid.
– On her nude personal pictures surfacing online

I’m a big believer that when something feels right, you should do it. I’m a big believer in instinct. Getting married was the right thing to do because it was natural. It grew out of romance and love and a desire to have a future with somebody who turned out to be the person I thought he would be.

I felt extreme vulnerability over the last few years, more than I ever had, and no longer wanted to keep rushing into movie jobs or a play just to escape how I was feeling. Once I wanted to work again, I wanted to start playing adults — tough women who knew what it took to survive.

I’ve spent most of my life being rejected, but that has only made me more ambitious and competitive. But with some roles I have to learn for myself that it’s not right.

After my first time on Broadway I decided I wanted to keep doing projects that I didn’t know how to do. I’m finally at a place in my life where I feel comfortable not anticipating the result. I’m comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I think all little girls are aware of their sex appeal, I think probably more so when they’re pubescent. I mean I remember being an extremely flirtatious little girl. I liked boys. I think I was also inspired by certain films I watched when I was a girl. I loved Judy Garland and I loved these Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals and I had this idea of romance—the dream girl getting the dream guy—and all that stuff.

I’ve always loved Louisiana and loved that Cajun culture. I love Tennessee Williams and I think I always felt somehow like I was supposed to live in New Orleans. Maybe I’m nostalgic for a time I never lived through.

Am I happy I’m not 20 anymore? Yeah. Nineteen? I don’t want to be that age. It’s incredibly confusing.

Quotes from 2013

I remember a female interviewer being really interested in what kind of underwear I wore under my outfit in The Avengers. At first I was giving her sort of, “Well, you’ll just have to wait and see” type answers. But eventually I was just like, “You’ve got to be f***ing kidding me.”

My relationship with the camera is a very intimate one. I remember when they switched to digital and I missed the sound of the film. I continue to be even more interested and stunned by the relationship between an actor and a camera—that high of everything clicking and that it has been captured and that it’s there forever. It’s very profound.

I sang my little heart out. I auditioned with laryngitis. I did everything I could to, like, not have laryngitis. I think, looking at the film now, there’s no possible way I ever could have topped Anne’s [Hathaway] performance. It was perfect and I think fateful and meant to be.
– On auditioning for the role of Fantine in Les Misérables

Everyone has a different concept of marriage. I don’t think that because we’re in the 21st century we should have evolved past our connection to marriage, whatever that is. People have all kinds of ideals, traditions, romanticisms—all those things play into marriage and modern families. I don’t feel because we’ve grown in other ways we shouldn’t do it anymore.

I’m small. People don’t notice me straight away.

We get these mainstream slasher movies where people get anally raped and people are watching this perverted stuff and it’s seen as totally normal. And kids are playing these crazy video games where their guts are splattered everywhere, blowing each other’s heads off, and yet you see someone’s sideboob and it makes front-page news.

I come from a politically active family. To be an active member of the community, to be a responsible citizen and to engage politically have always been part of my awareness and part of my life. More than anything else, I believe that if everyone exercised the right to vote, the right choice would be made by the nation as a whole.

I’ve stopped Googling myself—nothing good ever comes of it. It gives you an inflated sense of yourself too. It makes you feel like everyone is paying attention to you and they’re not.

I’d love to do another record, but it takes a lot of time, and, of course, you have to be inspired.

I think any woman who is curvy and who wears a gown to an event is suddenly super-sexualised. I mean, at the time I was 18, 19. I was young. I’ve always been curvy. It runs in the family. Throw on an evening frock and suddenly you have boobs and everyone is like: bombshell! Instantly it was: ‘the new Marilyn Monroe’.

Quotes from 2014

When you’re in a relationship with somebody and you’re communicating with them, you want to be as clear and concise as possible. We try to speak French a little, but it’s mostly like, ‘I like this sandwich.’ ‘That’s a nice color.’
– On her relationship with Frenchman Romain Dauriac

I associate that name with, like, pop stars. It sounds tacky. It’s lazy and flippant. And there’s something kind of violent about it. There’s something insulting about it.
– On the ScarJo nickname

There were actresses that were a few years older than me, like Kirsten Dunst. She was a great kid actor and continues to be a strong talent as an adult. She was very natural, and even as an adolescent, she had a commanding presence.
– On young actresses she looked up to when starting out

I literally have half the crew in the back of this van that I’m driving down a street in Glasgow, and I have this earpiece in where Jonathan is saying “Pick up that guy, pick him up!” And I’m going no, I’m not going to pick him up, he’s clearly smoking crack on the corner! I mean, he’s directing me to every hardcore ruffian he sees.
– On working with Jonathan Glazer in Under the Skin

We’re very protective of each other. I think that has to do with us being twins but also our upbringing: My parents got divorced when we were 13. There was a lot of movement. A lot happening. And I was working. My parents were on either coast, and our next older sibling is five years olden than us and was in college while we were still at home. We had to stick together and be each other’s constant in an environment that was really changing a lot.
– On her twin brother, Hunter

I was uninspired by my job for a period of time. I didn’t really understand what the purpose of it was, other than to stay relevant, which is so not what it’s about. But doing the play, I realized I could still own my own performance, that it was mine to present however I wanted to.
– On appearing on Broadway in A View from the Bridge

I didn’t really have a mentor growing up other than my sister, but when I was a little girl I wanted to be like Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis. She had both a fragility and a strength that I was in total awe of. Other than my mother, I think she was the picture of femininity to me.

My favorite type of sandwich. Oh man, that’s difficult to answer. I live in New York, so I’m surrounded by different sandwiches all over the place. I would say my favorite type of sandwich is probably… maybe a tuna sandwich.

I never take pictures with fans. I’m not the Statue of Liberty. I will always sign an autograph, but never take a photograph. I think it’s rude to ask that if you don’t know me. It makes you suddenly very conscious of yourself. I don’t see myself as being a role model; I never wanted to step into those shoes. I don’t profess to know more or less than anybody else. If that’s a by-product of whatever image is projected on to me, I don’t feel responsible as an artist to give anyone that message. It’s not my jam. We hold celebrities at this impossible standard. I still struggle to adjust to, you know, being recognisable.

The nice thing about being in Paris is that you know everybody’s looking at what you’re wearing: You have an audience, you know? New York is about street style that’s functional. A Paris look is not functional! It doesn’t matter if your shoes are comfortable. Here [in New York] you can still wear your Nikes. In Paris you suck it up. You hobble around.

I like the idea of the television. I like the long format of it. I don’t know. There could be a time that that could be something I explore. I’ve thought about it. It depends on if that was brought to me or created by me. But I like the idea of having the time to really imagine a character in a much more in-depth way. Having that freedom sounds kind of fun.

I think of myself as an actor for hire and I think of my career as being freeform. I haven’t properly mapped it out. I like it that way. It gives me more choices. I don’t have any expectations.

I was very competitive as an actor, as a kid. I remember having a temper tantrum in the subway because I was going to some commercial audition, and I hated commercial auditions, because I was terrible at them, and my mom said to me, ‘You have to want this. I can’t want this for you. I don’t want to be dragging you all over to these things if it’s miserable for you. It’s a waste of my time, and yours.’ And I think I was eight years old, and I realized, O.K., I’ve got to get serious about this.

There are several directors with whom I’ve had kind of a creative relationship, but have never worked with. We like to imagine that we will, but who knows?

I’d rather take the chance of a film not working than be stuck in a pattern of making the same movie over and over. I don’t want to be the ingenue anymore. It’s nice to be glamorous, but I don’t want to always be an object of desire. Because it doesn’t last.

I don’t think my generation of actor was picked apart like they are now. We came away unscathed. It wasn’t like now, when you look at actors like Kristen Stewart or Jennifer Lawrence, and it’s crazy for them, it’s awful.

I like holiday parties. I probably like them even more now because I never go out anymore. I’m like, “Whoo-hoo!” any time there’s an opportunity to celebrate. I put on every piece of clothing I own, and all my jewelry—I’m like a frickin’ Christmas tree. I love the festive holiday spirit. I love to stay at home in pajamas, too, but that’s what my family Christmas is like. We’re very cozy and casual. Everyone is taking naps—that sort of thing. And I have friends who throw ugly-sweater parties, and I love that.

I remember Laurence Fishburne once asking me at eight years old if I wanted to be an actor or a movie star. I said, “Both.” It took me several years to understand what he was trying to help me to think about. Of course, a kid wants it all, but I later realized that I wanted to the work. The work is what’s important.

I’ve learned the importance of having open communication with myself and in my relationships with people. As I get older, I see the value of being up-front and honest about the way you feel, even if it’s painful to admit. The truth is really the best way to strengthen your relationships with yourself and others.

I never really had a crazy beauty routine. I’m not one that goes out to spas and gets treatments. If anything, it’s just about trying to find time to go to the gym. You just have to make whatever time you can.