Interview Date: 05/18/2011
Run Date: 05/26/2011
Sophie Monk may have begun her rise to fame fronting the Australian band Bardot, but in recent years, she’s set her singing career aside in favor of the dramatic arts. She’s gotten pretty good at them, too: when I watched her latest film, “Hard Breakers,” Monk completely fooled me into believing that she was American. (Granted, there were a couple of occasions when I may have been focusing less on her accent and more on the fact that she spends a considerable amount of the film wearing nothing but a bikini.) Bullz-Eye had a chance to chat with Monk on the occasion of “Hard Breakers” hitting theaters, and we asked her about working with Cameron Richardson, Tom Arnold, and her other co-stars in the film, but we also got the scoop on her efforts in such motion pictures as “Click,” “Date Movie,” and “The Hills Run Red.” And…what’s this? We have to talk to her about her new lingerie line, too? Oh, if we must…
Bullz-Eye: So I watched “Hard Breakers” yesterday…
Sophie Monk: Oh, you did? Oh, good, I love it when interviewers actually watch the films. It makes such a difference. (Laughs) You can tell when they haven’t. They usually finally say, “Oh, I haven’t watched it.” So I appreciate that you did!
BE: As I watching it, I was thinking that the timing couldn’t be more right for a film like this one, given the success of “Bridesmaids.”
SM: Yeah, that’s very true, actually. It’s a fun girlie comedy for once, because it’s usually men having their spotlight. I love women comedies. It’s very rare nowadays.
BE: Was that was attracted you to it?
SM: Absolutely. I love comedy, but for some reason, unless you’re really awkward-looking or, y’know, you’re funny-looking, they don’t really want you to do comedies. Women are usually just supporting roles in comedies. But, yeah, this one…it’s girls in bikinis acting like men. I loved it.
BE: I had no problem with it, either.
SM: (Cackles) Yeah, I’m sure a lot of men would like it if women actually acted like that!
BE: Was there any hesitation on your part to have to spend something like 90% of the movie in either a bikini or some form of underclothing?
SM: Yeah, of course! I don’t think any woman loves wearing a bikini. (Laughs) Some days…the shot was about three or four months, and some days you just don’t feel like being in a bikini. You might’ve had a big meal the night before or something. But, yeah, I pretty much think our whole wardrobe consisted of about 40 bikinis!
BE: So was it your decision to go with an American accent for the film, or was it yours?
SM: It was theirs, I think. An Australian accent is apparently quite hard for Americans to understand. I’m a lot funnier with my Australian accent, to be honest…but no roles I’ve ever done have been with an Australian accent!
BE: So it’s not a challenge for you to go American, as it were?
SM: No, not at all. I’ve done Southern before, and that was trickier for me, but I’ve got that nailed now, too. But I was a singer originally, and apparently singers pick it up a lot easier.
BE: I can see that. A lot of times, you can’t hear the slightest trace of an accent when somebody’s singing.
SM: No, you can’t! It’s funny: I did an entire album, and it sounded like I had an American accent! I don’t know why we sing with an American accent…
BE: So had you ever met Cameron Richardson prior to working on the film?
SM: Actually, no, but I knew of her through…her boyfriend knew one of my really good friends, and so it was a really small world. Really nice people. She’s so lovely and so easy to work with. So fun. It was a great time. Women can be really difficult in this town, but she wasn’t. It was great.
BE: Did you find a pretty easy chemistry because of that?
SM: Yeah, totally. She’s just really fun. She’s a lot like she is in the film, you know? That kind of character. Very easy to work with, yeah. And the director, Leah (Sturgis), was just so down to earth. I think it was based on her and her friend that was the producer, on their life, kind of. I was, like, “Really? You hit guys over the head…?” (Laughs) So it was based loosely on how they are. But they’re very much like that.
BE: There are several familiar faces in the film, but I think you probably got the most time with Tia Carrera.
SM: Yeah! And we actually became really good friends afterwards as well. I still see her. That was lovely, ‘cause strong, intelligent women are hard to come by in L.A., so when you find them, you hang on to them. So, yeah, it was really nice to work with her. She’s a pro, obviously.
BE: And you got at least a few minutes with Tom Arnold, too.
SM: Yeah, he was sweet. Kind of. (Laughs) His character, I mean!
BE: Well, he does get a tiny bit of sweetness at the end.
SM: Yeah, but just that one bit! (Laughs)
BE: How was he to work with?
SM: He’s lovely. Very open, loves to chat, and loves to be on set. I love people like that, who love what they do. Otherwise, don’t do it. But he definitely loves what he does.
BE: Were any of the scenes particularly difficult for you to shoot? I guess you and Sticky Fingaz got, uh, relatively close…
SM: Yeah! (Laughs) No, because it’s comedy, so it doesn’t matter. I mean, that wasn’t a sex scene. That was just ridiculous! Most of the roles I do, if I end up naked or whatever, it’s usually something funny or it’s a strong character or something. I tend to make it comedic if I can. So I’ve never done a serious sex scene. It’s always been joking.
BE: I did notice that…well, unless I missed it, and I don’t usually miss these things, there was no actual nudity in the film. Was that a conscious decision by Leah?
SM: Well, none of us wanted to do that. (Laughs) No one really wants to be nude. The closest we had was when they ripped my top off and I fell out the window…which is online, for some reason. “Sophie Monk Naked!” (Laughs) But, no, no nudity. I think there were enough bikinis going on that we didn’t need nudity as well.
BE: As far as the tone of the film, it’s a tightrope walk to have you feel somewhat sympathetic for them being unable to find love yet then accept them hitting guys over the head…literally!...to find boyfriends. Was it hard to find that tone?
SM: Well, it’s just so fun, and you just have to go really hard. Even Cameron was, like, “Oh, I don’t know if I want to do this scene,” but I was, like, “Look, if you’re going to do comedy, you’ve got to really just go for it and not just half do it. If you half do it, you can’t pull it off.” It’s not spoof comedy. It’s just a little bit over the top. But it’s a very light and fun movie.
BE: I wanted to ask you about a few of your other roles. First of all, in “Date Movie,” you got to swordfight with Alyson Hannigan.
SM: I did! I love her. She’s cool! That was one of…well, I say this every movie, but that was one of the most fun movies to do! (Laughs) Great fun, definitely. We didn’t know how successful that one would be – it was quite a small budget – but it ended up being #1 in Australia for so long.
BE: Would you consider that to be your breakthrough role, as it were?
SM: Not really, because it’s a spoof comedy. I think if I did a #1 film and it was a drama, it probably would’ve done a bit more. It’s definitely affected where my career’s gone, though. I’m known as the go-to girl who’s funny in bikinis, really. (Laughs)
BE: Can you speak a little bit about the experience of being in Bardot, and what made you transition from music to acting?
SM: Well, I was in that group in this competition and then won that, then did two albums with the girls, then did my own album. And I was just touring so much. It’s such hard work. And I needed to have a break, I wanted to try something different, and I had always wanted to do acting. I loved comedy. And I host the #1 radio station in Australia, “Breakfast Radio,” when I can. If I’m not shooting or something. I was meant to do it today, but I’ve got a photo shoot. So, anyway, I thought I’d try some acting. So I came to L.A. and booked my first pilot, which didn’t go. But after that, I booked “Date Movie” straight away.
BE: You also managed to score a nice role in “Click” with Adam Sandler.
SM: Yeah, that was the next one. That was pretty exciting!
BE: I’m sure. You don’t get much more high-profile than Adam Sandler.
SM: No, you don’t! And I love him and his movies, so that was an absolute dream. He was even more down to earth than you’d expect. Unbelievably down to earth, and just so nice. I love anyone who’s loyal, and he always works with the same people, which is such a rare thing in this town. I’ve done much the same thing – I’ve stuck with my same people for 13 years – so, yeah, it’s just really nice. It was such a nice environment. Everyone was just so loving.
BE: You also had a role in an episode of “Entourage.” Had you been a fan of the show, or was it just a case where it was just there, so you went for it?
SM: Actually, they were considering me for a lot of roles, and…usually you don’t get a lot of auditions. Generally, it’s one and that’s it, and, “Right, you’re off!” But they were waiting for the right role for me, and that happened to be the one!
BE: You said that much of the arc of your career has followed from your having done “Date Movie,” but you did get a shot at a horror film: “The Hills Run Red.”
SM: Yes, that’s it. I loved that one, ‘cause it was so different from anything I’ve ever done. It was serious, and she was a…well, you know, she was into drugs and that kind of stuff, and there was such a switch at the end. That’s what I loved about it. It was a bit of a challenge.
BE: “Murder World,” or “Lifeblood,” had a similar tonal feel as well, correct?
SM: Yeah, it did. But “The Hills Run Red” was more of a challenge, that one.
BE: What was it like filming in Bulgaria?
SM: Oh, my God, it was scary! You know, in the middle of the night, running through the forest, and seven men are actually following you. They said, “You’ve got to look scared,” and I’m, like, “I am scared! Jesus!” There were dead dogs everywhere and…well, it was quite scary!
BE: I find it funny how Marilyn Monroe has kind of followed you throughout your career.
SM: I know, she has! It’s funny, yeah. That was my first job ever – a Marilyn impersonator – so it’s been quite funny that I went up for a movie (“The Mystery of Natalie Wood”) where I played her. I used to play her as joking, as comedy, but to get a chance to play her serious, that was great! And working with Peter Bogdanovich, that’s quite a big deal!
BE: Plus, you got to sing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” on “Popstars.”
SM: Oh, that’s right, I forgot about that! That was pretty crazy, too. She is haunting me! (Laughs)
BE: Lastly, do you anticipate a return to music at any point? You did a solo album in addition to Bardot, so I didn’t know if you’d consider going that route again.
SM: You know what? I won’t say no, ‘cause it was my passion. I was an opera singer growing up. It’d definitely be down the track. I do sing in “The Hills Run Red,” actually. If you hear at the beginning, that’s me singing! But to me, acting, singing, dancing…they’re all in the same vein, really. So if you can do all of them, I think it’s fantastic. But you want to be taken seriously during all of them, so I’d want to make sure the budget was there and not half do it. ‘Cause I’ve done that before. It’s a lot of work, music. But, then, so is acting! (Laughs) But with music, you’ve got the touring and everything.
BE: And speaking of acting, what do you have in the pipeline? “Spring Break ‘83” seems to be stuck in an eternal holding pattern, but…
SM: Well, I have two movies… (Hesitates) Let me think. There’s a movie that was called “The Loft,” but I think it’s been changed to something else. It’s with Sara Rue…?
BE: Oh, right, it’s called “Dorfman” now.
SM: Yeah! Good job! (Laughs) I knew you’d know my stuff! Yeah, I’ve got a role in that one where I play a…well, a supermodel, apparently! It’s a very funny role. It’s not a major role like this one, but it was fun to shoot.
BE: Anything else in the pipeline?
SM: Well, I’m working on my own lingerie and clothing line in Australia. I’m also up for a radio award for Best New DJ. Lots of things going on internationally. I’m also working on…well, it keeps changing, but it’s a reality show, and it’s kind of about how I’m really famous in Australia and get followed by paparazzi here, but in the States no one really knows me. They think I’m a socialite, except I don’t really go out. (Laughs) So they’re talking about doing a show about that, and we’ve been working on that for a long time. Also, I’m up for a lot of roles. So, yeah, it’s very busy! It’s crazy. Never a dull moment.
BE: Well, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you get some of those roles, and – joke completely intended – I’ll keep my eyes open for the lingerie.SM: (Laughs) That’s cool! Thank you so much! Very nice talking to you!