Jacki has an­i­mal mag­netism

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is a fan of Aussie ac­tor Jacki Weaver, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

ACKI Weaver doesn’t like to name­drop, but when US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama says he’s a fan, let’s face it, the pint-sized Aussie ac­tress has ev­ery right to.

Hav­ing en­joyed a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in Australia for more than four decades, 64-year-old Weaver is now in de­mand in the US, fol­low­ing her Os­car-nom­i­nated per­for­mance in 2010’s An­i­mal King­dom.

She’s spent the past 18 months in the US – with 11 re­turn trips home – and is lov­ing it over there, say­ing she never thought she would meet so many amaz­ing peo­ple.

Press­ing her for names, she ad­mits di­rec­tor Pe­dro Almod­ovar has spo­ken to her, while di­rec­tor Quentin Tarantino ‘‘told me he thought I was pretty hot’’.

‘‘He didn’t mean ‘hot’,’’ she laughs, ex­plain­ing that he was re­fer­ring to her per­for­mances, in­stead of her looks.

‘‘(But) the best one I think is prob­a­bly when I was mak­ing The Sil­ver Linings Play­book play­ing Robert De Niro’s wife and Bradley Cooper’s mother – there’s a name drop – and the pro­ducer, Bruce Co­hen, had made a char­ity doc­u­men­tary for the (US) Pres­i­dent’s wife, Michelle Obama.’’

Weaver says Co­hen was in­vited to din­ner at The White House as a thankyou and was seated next to the US pres­i­dent. When Obama asked what Co­hen was work­ing on, he replied he was mak­ing a film with De Niro, Cooper and Weaver.

‘‘And Obama said, ‘I love Jacki Weaver in An­i­mal King­dom’,’’ Weaver says.

‘‘I don’t tell that story, but some­body told it on the ra­dio the other day, so now I feel I can tell it. It’s a pretty good brag, isn’t it?’’

Weaver’s other cur­rent brag is that she’s star­ring in Ja­son Segel’s new com­edy, The Five-year En­gage­ment, in which she plays Emily Blunt’s posh English mother.

She says she didn’t base her char­ac­ter on any­one in par­tic­u­lar, but has met a lot of ‘‘snooty old Pom­mie women’’ in her time. I’ve met a lot of toffy tossers,’’ she says, gig­gling.

Weaver ad­mits she wanted to do a com­edy be­cause af­ter An­i­mal King­dom there was a worry she would be type­cast into roles like the crime fam­ily ma­tri­arch, Ja­nine ‘‘Smurf’’ Cody.

‘‘There were quite a few of­fers of re­ally nasty women like in An­i­mal King­dom and I was tempted by them,’’ she says. ‘‘But when it came down to mak­ing a choice, we thought a com­edy – I think they say screwball – would be an in­ter­est­ing way to go, to show that I can do more than one thing.’’

As fate would have it, Weaver was sent a script of The Five-year En­gage­ment to read (‘‘it was hi­lar­i­ous’’), met di­rec­tor and co-writer Ni­cholas Stoller for a chat and got the part.

Her role in The Five-year En­gage­ment may also dis­pel some of the er­ro­neous as­sump­tions in the US that she’s sim­i­lar to her An­i­mal King­dom char­ac­ter.

‘‘Some Amer­i­cans I meet are re­ally ner­vous,’’ she says, laugh­ing.

‘‘Isn’t that good? And I think even if they don’t think I’m a mur­der­ing cow, they still ex­pect me to have some kind of for­mi­da­ble per­son­al­ity.

‘‘And, of course, I haven’t.’’

opens to­day

Aus­tralian ac­tress Jacki Weaver (left) and her

co-stars Emily Blunt and Ja­son Segel.

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