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On The Arts
(CBC - 1997)

Claire: Well, Juliet took alot of work and um, I had to get past the usual fear of Shakespeare and I had to learn the language of Shakespeare, which can be- which is almost a foreign language. I had to make an effort to decode every word, every line. Um, I had to embrace the poetry and that's something that I never had- or I should say, never forced to do, before. I think my class was reading, Native Sun or something, so I...I...I...I, negotiated with my teacher back at home, in ah, LA. I could focus on this. And so I wrote like three papers on Romeo & Juliet, which had nothing to do with my character, it was just different themes in the play. Or, like I studied Romeo's character and the male characters, and it gave me a sense of the story, and where my character fit in.
Interviewer: You have a great chemistry with, Leonardo DiCaprio. Was that immediate, or was it something that had to be worked on?
Claire: No, it was really sudden, our chemistry, the way we clicked, in our work, I think we click much better, when we're acting, than when we are hanging out together in our personal lives. And that's...I don't know why that is.
Interviewer: Was it a difficult movie, physically, to make?
Claire: Yeah. I mean, it was. We were shooting in Mexico city, and I think everybody had their turns in the bathroom... Actually, we were working so hard that I think my mind...ah, um, body sort of gave out a bit, so I think that my minds much stronger then my um, [pauses, and looks down at herself] body. But I would have done anything for this film. I would have, like, jumped though hoops in order to be a part of this production.
Interviewer: What was the hardest part of doing this movie?
Claire: The death scene... was petrifying. I mean, I was really terrified to have to face that. I'll never forget the feeling that I had, when I was on the death bed, I mean, at that moment I was convinced that the love of my life had died, and I was ready to commit suicide. Just being surrounded by the candles and that silence was overwhelming. I mean, the things that Juliet goes though, are extraordinary. Even when your living your life vicariously though her, it still affects you as a person. It still affects Claire as a person... And it's sooooooooo sad, and I remember shooting the death scene, and being like, "Oh, can't we just shoot like, another version? Have it in a can, just to know that a happy ending does exist, somewhere on a shelf."... It was just so, ahhhh frustrating!
Interviewer: Do you think people your age will, get it?
Claire: I think so. I hope so! I mean, we all put sooo much work into it. It's entertaining and meaningful. It's a cautionary film, really. It's fun to watch, too! It is very um...[laughs] um...'cool'....I think Baz, really cares about coolness, and so does Leo, cause Leo's a cool guy. Actually, I think everyone around us did...

Interviewer: Given the nature of the story, you had to cast very young actors...
Baz: [interrupts] Yes.
Interviewer: Were you worried about that going in?
Baz: Well, Leonardo was a given. I just saw him, and right away I thought, "What a remarkable young actor!" And I mean really, when you have a remarkable talent to act, you've just, really, been given, an sort of role, you've been given a sports car, when it comes to being given the dialogue of Shakespeare, then kind of something out of another, screen-play. So, you know, you've just given a great car to a really good driver... When it came to Juliet, I had to find someone, and I saw some great young actors, but, really it turned out, the really, Claire was the one who stood up to Leonardo, and said: "Hey! You wanna wanna have some sex? Meet me at the church tomorrow!" You, know? Great strength in her performance!
Interviewer: I've always been curious to the reverence, when the Shakespeare's been acquainted...
Baz: [interrupts] No.
Interviewer: When the fact is, that Shakespeare was a populist in his day...
Baz: [interrupts... again] Thank you! Finally! I mean, that's absolutely wonderful!
Interviewer: He was like Stephen King...
Baz: [interrupts, yet again] I mean, he's down there with the prostitutes and those 3000 drunk people. And some how, I don't think he was being particularly pressured. You have to read the play to know, that the one thing their not, I mean, they are violent, they are outrageous, low lifes, I mean the most pure, off-humour, you can imagine, and yet the highest drama. I'm all for that!

Originally transcribed by: Nancy Greenaway

© CBC 1997