The Secret Life of Courteney Cox
[from Jane, 2/98]
"I´m speechless,"Courteney Cox sight, "All...day...long, the same questions about Scream 2-"When´s the weirdest thing than happened to you on the set?" ect., ect. Thank God you´re not going to ask me any of those questions?´´ she asks hopefully. Courteney has arrived at the Italian restaurant wearing jeans, a little black sweater and rimless eyeglasses; consequently, I almost don't recognize the star of Friends, and Scream one and two. It kind of makes sense since, despite her popularity, I also don't know very much about her. For the past few years, stories about her have focus solely on her breakup with Ex-Batman Michael Keaton, her indefinable relationship with Counting Crows singer Adam Duritz, and constant allegations of eating disorders (the mere mention of which makes her eyes roll in their sockets). Consequently, the 33-year-old actress has become adept at being genially evasive. "Very seldom does an actor interest me to the point where I want to read about every detail of their life," she says. "I want to hear about the last they worked on, I don't feel about what they do. I don't think that people want to hear every detail of what's going on with me." Fortunately, you'll all have seen Scream 2 by now, so no, I don't have any questions for her on that subject. Instead, we stick to things that might allow Courteney, who is really open when asked things indirectly, to give it up.
Courteney's life as a tv miniseries.
While we wait for our salads, we start scripting Courteney´s life story, the TV version. "Our story starts in Birmingham, Ala, Ohhh... do we need to get into the whole divorced parents stuff? No? Good. So we have a young girl from Alabama who never really felt like she fit in. Everyone else around her talks slowly, and she wants them to catch up to her speed, so she talks faster. "She hates high school-not the work so much; it's just the clique. She feels very out of place. See, the girl had been in this clique since eighth grade. It's the "in" group, but it's no a nice group. One of them started dating her boyfriend, so she's ousted. "She finds that so disturbing that at one point, her mother talks to the principal about these girls in the clique. The girl even wants to move away, at one point, and live with her father, but then she realizes that there are cliques everywhere. "So she joins this work-study program at school from 8 to 12, called Distributive Education, and she goes to school from 8 to 12. She gets all her major subjects in, and to skip lunch and gym. And she doesn't have to of to the smoking area, back when they had one. "Then," Courteney smiles, "she graduates high school and moves to New York."
Dropping the miniseries schtick after I suggest that Claire Danes play the mature Courteney ("Claire Danes? You think Claire Danes should play me? What a compliment... to me, not to Claire"), Courteney continues: "I went to New York for two weeks before I graduated and met with Ford modeling agency. I went with my step-cousin (Miles Copeland Jr., brother of Police drummer Stewart), who walked me in and slipped them a couple of tickets for the Police at Shea Stadium. He greased 'em up pretty good, because let me tell you, I was only 5-foot-5 and no beauty," she laughs, no longer making eye contact with me.
"Alabama´s great, I´m not cutting the state down, but there´s a time lapse from what's in up north, I went in there wearing the jeans tucked inside my cowboy boots, an aspiration for me, but I wanted to get out of Birmingham. It's a great place to grow up and a grate place to settle down. But I had to leave. The south is very social, and I'm not." The postscript to this story is that she landed a part in a Bruce Springsteen video and become the first person to ever utter the word period in a U.S. tampon commercial, and for whatever reasons, these two things launched her career.
Courteney's perfect day: fantasy
"On a perfect day, my call time would be at 11, so I can sleep in, I wake u up at 8, and the coffee's already brewing. I play with my dog and have a good 45 minutes to an hour relax. "Than I'm like, 'Hey, I want to work out-wouldn't that be fun?' I sprint to the gym, get on the treadmill and jog for a half-hour, loving every minute of it. I do another cardio, I do the weights. I look at my watch, and it's only 9.15-I have another hour and a half till I have to be at work! "I take the shower, put on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt that, though simple, look perfect. Than even though I don't really need to, I get in my car (which is full of gas) and head to work, singing along with my favorite song, 'Sex and Candy', by Marcy Playground. I'm driving as fast as I want to, I'm singing so loud, and my voice sounds really good. I'm like, 'Is this real!?' And I play the song again and, yes, it's true-I sound as good as the singer! "When I get to work, Craft Services has my favorite breakfast: egg whites, turkey bacon and tomatoes. There are flowers in my dressing room from a wonderful person who couldn't make me happier. The note says, 'I just wanted to tell you I love you. No strings attached. I'm committed to you, you're not committed to me, and that's okay. You don't even have to call.' "Than I do my scene, and for some reason, everyone is laughing at every word that drops out of my mouth. I'm feeling great about myself, I'm the best actress in the world. The producers are like, 'Courteney, we don't have one note for you, you were fantastic! Go home!' I look at my watch-I've only been at work for two hours! "I go home and look on my desk, and there isn't one thing for me to do. I check my machine, and everybody's left a message that goes 'Hey, just thinking about you, but please don't call back, because we won't be home. "Later, the guy who sent me flowers picks me up, and we go to this really nice restaurant where I order-and finish-the biggest bowl of pasta in the world. With cream sauce. And, for some reason, my stomach is not sticking out at all. "we go back to my house; we make out, fool around. Than he says, 'I know you have to wake up early, and I understand. I'm going home, and everything´s just fine," I get in bead. And my teeth are already brushed."
She had this weird dream.
"In the dream, I'm working on a really dark, interesting, weird movie. It's a great script, and I really have to stretch. I love the director, and I love the other actors. I'm having the best time of my life. When they say 'Wrap for the day,' I wash off all this black eyeliner, take a shower and go home. "And there is this wonderful man-god. And I go, 'What are you doing here? You've been here three days in a row!" Actually, I say, 'Well, hello, honey,' because in my dream, I have no commitment problems. We cook dinner together, have great sex and go to sleep. And I wake up, and I feel exactly the same way; not looking at life and where I'm going, thinking 'Oh, I'm in too deep.' That's my biggest problem: I have a fear of commitment." "What's that all about?" I ask her, having one of my "Oh! Celebrities are people with good and bad days just like you and me!" moments. Courteney sighs. "I'm so afraid that they're trying to control me," she says. "I have a problem with that, I know I do."
A soul-baring moment.
You may have noticed a similarity in those last two segments, i.e., a fear of commitment. In between the salad and the main course (a dinner portion of spinach salad for her; you don't care what for me), over bread and a couple of sips of red wine, Courteney and I share one of those very female moments where you reveal the biggest crack in your armor-without getting specific, so you don't have to feel you're a huge loser. Consequently, you speak so theoretically that it barely make sense. Example: She: "All the things that have happened repeat themselves. First you don't know why you feel a certain way . And then you go, 'Oh, I know why I feel this way, but I'm still feeling this way-why?' You never stop the felling, and I really hate that. It's like, now we know what it is, why are we still feeling it?" Me: "I know exactly what you mean!"
Courteney's awful day: another fantasy.
You'd think she would have put a halt to these ridiculous conversation-making tactics by now. But she's kind enough to humor me.
"My idea of a day from hell: I'm supposed to be at work at 9 o'clock, so my alarm goes off at 7.45, I push the 'sleep' button and don't wake up until 8. I have to be in the car by 8.15, so now I have 15 minutes to get up, take a shower, etc. "There is no time for coffee, and I go to feed the dog, but there's no dog food. No, there is dog food, but only dry, no canned. And I can't bear to give Rags just dry food, so I 'm looking through the refrigerator for something else-some bologna, heat it up with some bouillon cubes and give her that. "I get to work, and somebody reminds me that I have a lunch meeting. I hate lunch. I hate the food that they serve; I don't want to eat in the middle of the day-I just hate it. Plus, I'm wearing the ugliest think I've ever worn in my life. I didn't have time to blow-dry my hair, and I have no makeup on. Terrific. "Finish work at 6, and it takes an hour and a half to get home. Now, while I'm sitting in traffic, is a good time to knock off all of those calls I needed to return, but no one's there, so when I get home, I have all these messages on my machine. I thought that was my time! But it's not. "And I forgot to pick up dog food."
A moment about Monica.
"I don't want to be the Dirt lady," Courteney says suddenly of her Jane column on helpful hints. "I want to be Jane's Friend or something. Otherwise, it's too much like Monica." Courteney has often fended off accusations that she's exactly like her Friends character; is that why she did Scream? Because fighting off serial killers was the most un-Monica-like thing she could do? "That is my top priority when I read scripts," she says. "I wouldn't say that I wouldn't play someone like Monica, because she has a lot of sides to her. But it's important for me to play someone who challenges me." Fast-forward to the final Friends episode ever: Where would Courteney like to leave Monica? "I don't know, but I hope the last episode is something that you would never imagine. Like, Joey and Chandler finally get together, Ross and Phoebe take their kids and move to the country... and Rachel and Monica starts dating, fall in love and realize they're had it with men."Back to Courteney Cox Arquette Articles