Juliette L. Lewis is an American actress and singer. She gained fame for her role in Martin Scorsese's 1991 remake of the thriller Cape Fear for which she was nominated for both an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.
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I am Juliette Lewis, my new movie NERVE comes out on July 27th, Ask Me Anything!
UPDATE: Thanks everyone, for showing up and your questions! I take none of this for granted. Any time people are interested in my art or what I have to say, I'm truly honored. All your questions, even the ones I didn't get to answer made me smile. Even the smart ass ones. Keep on being you and love yourself. I'm out! Peace! ☮
What is your favorite memory of filming National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation?
I just want to say thank you as a teenager from the 90s for movies like Kalifornia and from Dusk Til Dawn. I have some fond memories from that time. "Put your titty back up, Adele". :)
Any scene with Chevy Chase and Randy Quaid. I mean... they're both icons. I loved filming all the family stuff. I'm glad so many people enjoy it every year.
You are my new spirit animal. Can not wait to see you Thursday at The Fonda. Fuckin' stoked.
Question: My wife's friend swears she saw you busking at a movie theater yesterday in Hollywood and has made me promise to ask your AMA if that was actually you. So, do you busk on Hollywood Blvd in your spare time, and if so, why isn't there some sort of schedule posted about such things? ;) Thx
That was me! I was doing a dare that my director Henry Joost dared me to sing in a public place. It was at the Arclight. And even though I do this professionally, nobody knew I was doing this and it was absolutely mortifying. Glad your friend was there to witness it!
She's answered that here. tl;dr She identifies as both a scientologist and a Christian but doesn't believe in the alien stuff.
>I’m not sure how to segue into this, so I’ll just come out and ask. You’re a Scientologist, right?
>I am, yeah.
>Do you celebrate Christmas? I’ve never been sure about that. Does Christmas count as a Scientology holiday?
>Oh yeah. We absolutely celebrate Christmas.
>So you have a tree with ornaments and eggnog and presents and Christmas carols that aren’t about Xenu?
>I’m a Christian! I think there’s so much confusion because people don’t understand a religion where you can be another religion but you can still practice Scientology. That’s why it’s completely progressive. It’s just tools for living. It’s about understanding one’s self and others and compassion and how to communicate better and how to live in this troubled society. It’s really basic, common sense stuff. It has nothing to do with all this funny folklore that surrounds it. You could be a Jewish Scientologist or a Buddhist Scientologist or a Christian Scientologist or anything else.
>Do you believe your ancestors were reincarnated aliens?
>That’s not been a part of my experience, no. (Laughs.)
>So... you don’t believe you came from aliens?
>I was thinking about where that idea came from, and I was like, “Oh, maybe it’s because [L. Ron] Hubbard was a successful science fiction writer, so they’re confusing his science fiction with his other studies that have nothing to do with science fiction.” It’s like you thinking I might punch somebody in the face because I played somebody who punched somebody in the face in a movie.
>That’s actually a pretty good analogy. I wasn’t expecting that.
>I’m used to misconceptions. And honestly, I don’t care to explain Scientology to people. You can investigate it on your own. It’s not that difficult. There are Web sites and all sorts of resources. The one thing that troubles me is when rumor becomes hatred and prejudice towards a group of people. That’s when it becomes scary, when you have people trying to take away other people’s right to practice a religion of your own choosing.
Thanks for pulling my accurate quotes on the subject! You nailed it. :)
Sending you a cyber-hug and good vibes...
What was it like working with Meryl Streep?
Everything you would ever hope it to be. She's down to earth, funny, and she's mesmerizing to act next to. She shows you how you can maintain grace and integrity in such a silly business.
My username's time has come!
With "Natural Born Killers", did you really grasp what it was saying in regards to the state of the media and violence in the media at that stage of the game? I feel like given the current situation of the US regarding violence and constant coverage thanks to social media and 24 hour news stations, Oliver Stone, and your characters, were well ahead of their time.
Also, I'm pretty much in love with everything you do! Thanks for being you, all the time!
1,000% think it was ahead of it's time. that's the brilliance of Oliver Stone at his best. He holds up a mirror to some really nasty elements. That movie was special in how he was shining a light on media sensationalism. I still think Killer's suicide notes, faces, and names should not be printed or put on magazines. Of course, we were doing a really broad version of that idolization.
Any chance of putting the Licks back together?
Those albums were fantastic and not a bad song to be found. I saw you guys at the Rock and Roll Hotel in DC, it had to be 10 years ago and you were fantastic. The club was a shit box but the show was amazing.
Thanks for the great music and memories!
Thank you so much for your love! I play my first show July 28th in LA at the Fonda Theater with a new band that is my dream band. We're playing some old Licks sons but a lot of new songs. The Licks was a very specific guitar driven rock, My new music is more blues inspired and inspired by The Kinks, The Zombies. I'm touring all over the US. I promise you'll love it.
Were you surprised by the controversy surrounding Natural Born Killers ?
I think so! At the time I had never seen journalists be so mad. I wish you would have been there at the press junket with me and Woody. They HATED us! That was the magic of Oliver Stone-- he was directly antagonizing them and every journalist I talked to was greatly offended.
Hi Juliette. I loved you in Kalifornia. How creepy was Brad Pitt while making that movie? Did he stay in character the whole shoot?
That movie was so fun. It was mine and Brad's first characters that were totally different from ourselves. The director, Domenic Sena, it was his first big movie. He went on to do huge movies like Gone In 60 Seconds and he gave us a lot of freedom with dialogue and with our mannerisms.
Hi Ms. Lewis, can I ask; what is the best thing a director can do for you on set?
Validate your instincts and encourage truing new things in a take. I'm sorta anti-repetition. I like living dangerously though my characters which means doing things in a fresh, exciting, pure way.
What do you look for in a screenplay?
A story that really resonates and that I haven't seen before. That's what Nerve was to me when I first read it. A really fresh and exciting take on our social media culture.
What book inspires you in your life?
It's called "Life Loves You" by Louise Hay and Robert Holden. I love all kinds of spiritual self-help books. Especially as I get older. I wanna read "The Happiness Project" next.
Do you ever see yourself doing something drastic for a role, like shaving your head, undergoing 4 hours of makeup, or gaining 50 lbs, etc.?
It could win you Oscars...
The funny thing about me is I'll go to the deepest, darkest places to be as honest as possible to find a truth within a character in the scene, but I'm not big into wanting to change my body and feeling unhealthy. For Natural Born Killers, I learned street fighting, shooting every kind of gun, and I love learning new skills. And for Secrets and Lies (coming out September on ABC) I interviewed detectives because I play a detective. I love studying for a role.
If you could portray any historical figure in their biopic, who would you choose and why?
Janis Joplin. Watch the documentary Little Girl Blue and you will know why she was a one of kind force in male-dominated rock 'n roll at the time. And she had so much powerful and good energy. And was quite a character. I relate to her because she was in a band for a long time. But normally I don't like to play actual, living people. Too much pressure.
What was it like working with Martin Scorsese?
Totally liberating. I consider Scorsese the man who gave me my creative wings in that he let me try things totally different each time and encourages me when I needed it. Which is everything for a young artist.
What was it like doing the Gap commercial with Daft Punk? Get to talk with them at all or were they in costume the whole time?
That Gap commercial was so fun because Daft Punk was so new. I've since seen them on the road when I was touring with my band, Yes, I've seen them out of costume and they are so bad ass and originators of great music.
Is your new music available anywhere?
iTunes and go to JulietteLewis.com.
Have you ever thought about using the voice you do for your dog Teddy in a cartoon? It would be perfect for a cartoon character!
It is my dream to be discovered and someone make me and Teddy into cartoons. And I will of course voice the characters. Please tell someone.
You have worked with some of the funniest actors of our time, who in you opinion is hands down the funniest person?
Zach Galafanakis in Due Date. He was the only actor I could not keep a straight face off-camera when he was doing his take. I was already a crazy fan of his and the to work with him in person he's just so beyond and special. Louis C.K. of course is the same in a whole other way. But I gotta say Rodney Dangerfield is a huge highlight and he would be telling jokes in between me pretending to murder him.
Damn! I'm never here fo a live AMA for someone I know! I don't even know what to ask. Shit!... Um... How are you?
Hey! You sound like me! I'm doing pretty good. After this I'm going to band practice and I love my rhythm section. Actually, I love everyone in my band so that makes signing and playing music really fun. Although, I do tend to stress out before a show. Thanks for asking! Have a beautiful day. Drink lots of iced tea.
What was it like working with Woody Harrelson on NBK? Did you ever see Rampart?
I fucking love Woody. Every time we see each other, it's like seeing someone you were in combat with He's a really, really special, courageous, out there dude. No I didn't see Rampart, I gotta see it!
Do you have any more plans to work with Omar Rodriguez Lopez on new music?
Not yet, but I a playing some of our songs from the Terra Incognita in the JLUS Tour dates. I am lucky enough to be playing with bass player, Juan Alderete from Mars Volta. So come to a show!
Who's the best and worst people you've worked with? In any capacity.
The best? It's crazy because I've been so fortunate to work wth some of the most passionate, down to earth inspired individuals. from George Clooney, Leo DiCaprio, Oliver Stone, Kathryn Bigelow, Lasse Hallstorm, Uma Thurman, Robert De Niro, I could go on and on.
The worst types of people... of course I will not name names, are those who sit in some delusional rarified air of entitlement. It's something my parents raised me without and something I've fought to avoid.
Any fun stories from Christmas Vacation the public might not be aware of?
Here's a fun story you may not have heard of. I was in a full Jimi Hendrix & Steve Miller Band phase at 15 so she we were on the Warner Brothers Lot, in between shoots I was rocking rocking out Purple Haze.
What is your favorite food?
Anything with butter. I probably need to go to 12 step for butter or Butter Anonymous. European butter is the best! The farming is more natural and organic.
What is your best memory from working on Nerve?
Working with all the actors in the film toward the end of the movie. I can't say what the scene is, it'll give the plot away. I just loved working with people who are inspired, good at their job and who are really giving their best. That was Emma Roberts, Emily Mead, Miles Heizer, and Samira Wiley that night.
You played a DJ in Grand Theft Auto IV. Did they approach you to play another character in the game? Would you like to be a playable video game character?
How twisted is that? No, they have not approached me again and I've heard it's a pretty dark game. Would I want to play other video games? sure! It was to follow my criteria of coolness and amazingness.
What's a hidden gem of a place to experience in LA?
Something kinda gnarly and underground. I'm heading back there soon so want to do some cool stuff. Might even catch one of your shows!
I'm gonna say watching a movie in The Hollywood Forever cemetery. They'll play movies like Grease. It's such an event you can bring wine and food and friends.
Hi Juliette! Big fan here ever since I saw, the imo underrated Aurora Borealis.
Question: Are you prouder of your notoriety in the music industry or the movie industry? Why?
I gotta say, any time I see joy and curiosity in a person's face when they tell me how I affected them through a live performance, song or movie, it lights up my life and I am so proud of both but probably music because I did that all on my own without any big business and I wrote the songs and everything is an extension of my creative voice.
So what was actually eating Gilbert Grape?
Your guess is as good as mine, but I think the longing to be set free of his home-bound responsibilities.
What do you enjoy doing the most in your spare time?
I'm a big lover and believer of walking in nature. I really love going to places without cars and taking in trees, the flowers. In LA there's nice places like Griffith Park and strolling in the neighborhood with my parter ad dogs. It's the simple things.
First, I'm super excited to be seeing your live show again after like... 7 years? Can't effing wait! Do you have an opener lined up yet and will you be playing mostly new music (love Hello Hero!) or a good mix of new and older stuff?
I wanted The Kenneths to open up. They're from London, but they couldn't do it. I don't know an opener yet. You have to come to a show. Everyone who does always leave elated. Haha! Me especially. Here are the dates: juliettelewis.com/live - The set is so good its a mix of ferocious rockers, dance shit, and blues.
What is the best advice you've been given?
My dad, who never gave advice, once told me "Take your foot off the gas when you're going downhill." Another one was "Always give a really firm handshake and look the person in the eye."
Who was the most memorable person you have worked with?
I gotta say, I mentioned a lot of amazing actors in other answers but Robert De Niro and the scenes we did in Cape Fear will always go down as the most electric and transcendental.
I loved Hellion. Why decide to do such a tiny little independent film like that?
I never discriminate, I'm always looking for new exciting directors to work with and fresh stories to tell, both big and small. And I felt Hellion was that and I loved working with Aaron Paul and director Kat Candler.
What was it like working with Johnny Depp? Do you still remain friends today?
I loved all the movies you have played in, and look forward to watching Nerve. Thank you for taking the time to read and answer questions for us today. You are a true inspiration and role model!!
I remember me and Johnny used to listen to the Pixies together. I really liked making that movie. Johnny remains super unique, down to earth, and true to himself. I respect that.
I think you're really gonna love Nerve. Bring your friends! Hahahaha
What's your favorite piece of memorabilia you've been able to take from one of the sets you worked on?
You're not going to believe this, but yearly, I kind of kick myself for not saving my scripts from Natural Born Killers, Cape Fear, Whats Eating Gilbert Grape, with my personalized notes, lines I had made up, because at the time at 19 I had no idea how meaningful these things would be and when I was moving my apartment, I just threw them away. To answer your question, I have some pictures that are cool.
So when's is the next season of Secrets & Lies coming out? You were seriously fierce as Det Cornell by the way. Absolutely loved the show & can't wait for more.
I'm so excited to say the second season is finally airing on ABC on September 25th! I love this cast. It's all super dramatic and unpredictable. Thanks for your interest. Have a beautiful day!
Hi J. I'm Andrea from Italy
you recently played here with your band: how was your experience?
(forget that terrible driver, a friend of mine.... ahahah)
Italy totally blew my mind. In Milan our crowd sang the most songs back to us and were off the charts wild. I have to do more shows in Italy and will next year!
Why do you still look like you're in your twenties? Do you drink the blood of virgins? jk
But seriously, exercise routines? Avoiding certain foods, alcohol, etc.? What do you recommend to stay healthy and youthful?
Wow! I so appreciate you saying that! That's really sweet. I love Barry's Bootcamp. But honestly, I gotta say youth is from the inside and I find as I get older I still work on letting go of and/or accepting pain as a part of life and try to nurture and give love and light. As cliched as that sounds, it's real. If that translates to looking young, so be it, but that's not my intention.
Oo I'm see a prescreening of this tonight!
What was your favorite project that you thought had a real chance never quite made it out the gate?
Edit: Why the downvotes? I asked a good question and she answered it. Reddit, you really confuse me.
The Other Sister that Garry Marshall directed is super close to my hear. The role was the most challenging I've ever played and had so much purity and goodness of heart. And I took it after a two-year break from show business. Garry Marshall was one of the kindest most loving directors who just wanted to make everyone feel good. He will be missed.
Holy Crap you responded! Thank you! Garry Marshall is a legend. What a cool thing you got to work with him. I'm a huge fan of yours. Can't wait to see the movie tonight. Thanks again for the response! It looks like it's available on Amazon. Adding to wishlist :)
You're welcome! Enjoy the movie. Have a beautiful day. :)
I have honestly loved you in everything ever.
Which movie had your favourite wrap party, uh, party? Was there ice cream and if so what flavour did you choose?
Hi Katie! You're making me laugh. The best wrap party was From Dusk 'Til Dawn. It's caught on video in the documentary Full Tilt Boogie. Basically I did karaoke and I sang "What's Going On." We all danced and sang and drank and were merry of course.
You were young when you emancipated yourself from your parents. On the other hand, I'm 29 and I still live at home. Do you have any tips on how to become independent?
Get the fuck out of the house! Haha I was a weirdo, but I always loved my parents.
I'm so excited for Nerve...Big fan of the book and seeing the movie TOMORROW! Tell us, what did you see in Emma and Dave that you think cemented the decision to cast them as Vee and Ian?
Well I didn't cast them but if I had that power I would have. Their chemistry is perfect. It was fun to watch dave be super charming but a little bit dangerous at the same time. And Emma does a beautiful job playing the slightly repressed Vee who finds her wings and enters a world of danger.
Hi Juliette, other than dancing on stage, how else do you get in your exercise? Do you lift? Run? And what music do YOU listen to while you exercise?
Barry's Boot Camp. I live for and love the Barry's Bootcamp workout. They trainers are the best. The music is really good. I like Prodigy, Outkast, Diplo, anything super beat driven.