Excerpts from a Roundtable Interview with Marisa Tomei
                        Co-Star of ďThe WrestlerĒ
                        Dallas , Texas , November 20, 2008
 
Outlook:  You had to walk such a tightrope in this film.  You were playing a part, you allowed him to see a little bit of the real you, you were so vulnerable, and yet so tough, as well.  Did you enjoy the complexity of the role, and how did you go back and forth like that?
MT: Well, Darren (Aronofsky, the Director) and I talked about it a lot.  We talked about ďWhere is she in her head?Ē  But I think mostly itís an amalgamation of emotion coming out.  I donít think that itís very clearly drawn.  I donít think itís human nature to really know yourself that well.  I think all her mantras, of ďIím a Mom, Iím not just a stripper,Ē itís her trying to convince herself.  And also, she wears a lot of masks for her work, so that makes it even harder, as he starts to touch her heart, and it awakens so much fear, and itís kind of pushing her off her track, because sheís just on this one track, and sheís protected.  And sheís going to change her life.  I donít think she knows how she did it.  I wasnít really that conscious of it.  I think itís just written in the script.
Outlook:  Did the other girls say anything to you, about, ďThis really represents us,Ē or ďIt doesnít really represent usĒ?
MT:  Well, I donít think any of the girls have seen it yet, so I havenít really talked to them about it.  But I really like in that first scene, where Iím talking with him, and Iím chatting with him, and then I ask him for my money.  And thatís just the normal course of it.  That just shows, mostly, how quickly her mind will change. (snaps fingers) Like that.
Outlook:  What was it like, working with Darren?  How did he instruct you, or try to guide you?
MT:   Well, we went line-by-line through the script, through my scenes.  And we talked about everything. I told him kind of what I had in mind.  I donít really like to over-articulate.  I just like to show up and do it, which actually matched really well with Mickey (Rourke), because he doesnít like to rehearse, and he certainly doesnít like to talk about it.  And Darrenís OK with that.  We just showed up and trusted.  It was an intimate relationship---he hung around us a lot---which is great, because itís always great when someoneís right there, and when something comes to mind, you can talk about it easily.  Itís not like, ďLet me go and have this big conversation, let me go and find the Director, and heís probably working with other departments, and I donít want to bother himĒ----he was always around.  And it just made it a very easy, communicative, set.
Outlook:  The accessibility was really important.
MT:  Yeah, the accessibility.  Thank you for making me sound more articulate! (laughs)
Beforehand, I went to a lot of clubs on my own, just to soak up the atmosphere.  I thought about this character, and sort of made up this place in my head where I could go find her, but Darren doesnít know any of that.  It was working for him when I got there.
Outlook:  What worried you about doing the club scenes?  And after you did them, did those worries prove to be unfounded and you had other problems you didnít anticipate?
MT:  Oh, Iím the kind of person thatís like, ďI canít, I canít, I canít---------OK, Iím ready, get out of my way.Ē  (laughs)  So at first it was like, ďIím scared, Iím scared,Ē and then it was like ďCan I do it again?Ē (laughs)  So my only frustration was that I learned all these really good tricks on the pole, and he never even filmed them all!  (laughs) So when they were done, that was the only regret.  The hard part for Mickey was when we were singing at the bar.  He was cute once he did it, but he just did not want to sing.  We all had to sing with him in order for him to do it!
Outlook: Thanks for your time.
MT:  It was very nice to meet you.
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas