A Star Is Reborn

InStyle (USA) - - The Life -

in­ter­nal­ize things, and I don’t per­son­al­ize things, and I don’t en­gage. I spend a lot of time fo­cus­ing on the work it­self, not the con­se­quences of the work or people’s per­cep­tions of it. LB: Have you al­ways been like that? RZ: Well, no. But I learned pretty early on. I was dev­as­tated about a breakup, and it was plas­tered all over the tabloids. None of it true, all of it hu­mil­i­at­ing. Never mind that liv­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence [of the re­la­tion­ship] was plenty. [laughs]

LB: Go on.

RZ: I was at a su­per­mar­ket with my brother. And he saw some of those mag­a­zines, and, un­be­knownst to me, he bought them. He opened one while I’m driv­ing down Sun­set Boule­vard, and I looked over, and his shoul­ders were shak­ing. I was try­ing to fig­ure out what was go­ing on. I was like, “Is he cry­ing?” He was in tears; he was laugh­ing so hard, he could barely breathe. Then he started to read it. LB: Just like that?

RZ: Yes, he’s the big­ger per­former of the two of us, for sure. He’s read­ing my quotes from this sup­posed in­ter­view I had done. Things I sup­pos­edly said about this per­sonal re­la­tion­ship that I have never talked about and never will. And he was read­ing them in a voice that he imag­ined this fic­tional per­son to be. And then we were both laugh­ing, be­cause of the tone of voice and the de­liv­ery of th­ese lines. Who­ever wrote the piece had done so late at night while watch­ing tele­vi­sion and eat­ing, you know? And I get it! When you go to New York or wher­ever and you’ve got to pay the bills and some­one tells you, “You’re go­ing to write about this. It doesn’t have to be true! Just make sure it’s not ac­tion­able.” [laughs]

LB: Words to live by.

RZ: My brother taught me that this is what it is. This is not a proper rep­re­sen­ta­tion of you and how you live your life. The choices you make, this is not. It is en­ter­tain­ment, and it’s funny if you look at it in the right way.

LB: When that first hap­pened to you, how did you han­dle it?

RZ: Well, it’s in­ter­est­ing be­cause I’ve watched some of my friends who have gone through it, and it’s a meta­mor­pho­sis. You wouldn’t choose it, and you have to re­sign your­self to cer­tain things that aren’t nat­u­ral, and to the fact that you will not nec­es­sar­ily de­ter­mine how you will be re­mem­bered in the world. That what some­one chooses to put out there about you has noth­ing to do with the truth of your life [or what that means for] your grand­chil­dren when they are ask­ing about who you are. That kind of thing. There’s that, and then there’s get­ting through the day if you’re be­ing hunted or what­ever it might be. Learn what you never ex­pected and find your way around it. That’s a good motto for [deal­ing with] it.

LB: A few years be­fore Judy, you took time off. Do you feel re­booted in some way?

RZ: Well, I mean, it was nice to have au­then­tic ex­changes with people for a while. When you’re not on the radar, people don’t clock who you are; you’re just a per­son at the coffee shop or­der­ing a coffee. You have con­ver­sa­tions that aren’t about work. And when some­one is having a bad day, it doesn’t change. They just have a bad day with you, and it’s a funny thing to ap­pre­ci­ate, but I do. [laughs] It’s nice. It’s real and not edited. We meet as hu­man be­ings.

LB: Did you know how you wanted to spend that time? Are you a plan­ner?

RZ: Ah, no. I just knew that there were cer­tain things I needed to pri­or­i­tize and if I kept go­ing, there would be just no way I could do it. LB: What did you pri­or­i­tize? RZ: Slow­ing down and work­ing on build­ing a life for my­self. Try­ing to not have a re­la­tion­ship when I’m leav­ing town ev­ery two weeks. You know, get­ting to know some­body. Falling in love. [I wanted] to learn new things, so I worked in a dif­fer­ent ca­pac­ity in this busi­ness. Tried to cre­ate some things, pro­duce some things, stud­ied a lit­tle bit. I stud­ied pub­lic pol­icy, in­ter­na­tional law. And I trav­eled a lot. I went to Liberia. I spent a lot of time with my fam­ily on the East Coast.

LB: What does am­bi­tion mean to you? And it could be for any­thing.

RZ: I’m cu­ri­ous. I’m not ea­ger for ac­qui­si­tion. I don’t have a fan­tasy about ar­riv­ing somewhere. I chal­lenge my­self to grow with the ex­pe­ri­ences I take on. I want to do bet­ter.

LB: When did you first feel you made a de­ci­sion that you were proud of? It could be pro­fes­sion­ally, but it doesn’t have to be.

RZ: I think I felt like I had it together at 24. I look back and go, “Wow.” I had to rec­og­nize that that was naïveté.

LB: Fast-for­ward a few years to 2001, when you were do­ing the first Brid­get Jones film. You were ob­vi­ously very es­tab­lished in your ca­reer. That era has been so key to the sub­se­quent Time’s Up and #Metoo con­ver­sa­tion. You weren’t at the epi­cen­ter of it but around it. What’s it like to have the per­spec­tive of see­ing it all un­fold now that you’re back?

RZ: It’s in­ter­est­ing be­cause there are things I never rec­og­nized as be­ing ques­tion­able. I just un­der­stood how to nav­i­gate them. And I don’t live in it. I don’t ex­ist in it. I step in to do my job, and I’ve been re­ally blessed with the people I work with. I mean, the list of just the greatest guys!

LB: You were the main thing, so you were able to carve out that real es­tate rel­a­tively early. And those movies were you, and how grat­i­fy­ing to know that they de­pended on you, so you had to be re­warded fi­nan­cially.

RZ: Well, I was re­ally lucky that I had great part­ners who could make those phone calls on my be­half. And who, you know, would un­apolo­geti

cally sug­gest what might be a good idea. I mean, Brid­get was an in­de­pen­dent film. It was a tiny lit­tle film. But in terms of the life gifted, I’ve never thought about it from that per­spec­tive.

LB: You just go and do it and then go home and not get your head turned.

RZ: Yeah, I guess so. I’m sure there was a lot I wasn’t privy to and be­hind closed doors there were con­ver­sa­tions I didn’t know about.

LB: It’s nice when I can talk to women and they’re like, “Yeah, ac­tu­ally, I’m lucky not to have a story.”

RZ: Yeah, in terms of phys­i­cal ag­gres­sion. I mean, in [fi­nan­cial] equity or what­ever, there might have been. It would be naïve to think it didn’t ex­ist somewhere along the jour­ney.

LB: What’s your ideal day when you’re home in L.A.?

RZ: No alarm. About 16 cups of tea. [laughs] Sit­ting out­side in the morn­ing with the two dogs.

LB: What are you most and least se­cure about?

RZ: What am I most se­cure about? The qual­ity of my friend­ships. I’m least se­cure about my de­ci­sions re­gard­ing ge­og­ra­phy. I don’t know if I have found the place where I’m sup­posed to be. I mean, I feel peace­ful, but that may just be a con­di­tion of my per­son­al­ity or my up­bring­ing since my par­ents had wan­der­lust and now I do too. I don’t know.

LB: Do you have any­thing fun planned af­ter the Judy world press tour?

RZ: I’m talk­ing about a cou­ple of things, but noth­ing is set in stone. I just started this pro­duc­tion com­pany [Big Pic­ture Co.], and we’re do­ing some projects, so I’m mov­ing that along.

LB: How do you see your­self as a boss or man­ager? How res­o­lute are you?

RZ: Well, I learned that no one’s go­ing to in­vite you. Hon­estly, if you be­lieve in what you’re do­ing and if it’s qual­ity ma­te­rial, then why wouldn’t you be ag­gres­sive in who you pur­sue to part­ner with on a par­tic­u­lar thing? Great ma­te­rial doesn’t just show up. You have to de­velop it and make it hap­pen. LB: What makes you feel like a kid? RZ: Oh, be­ing 50! I feel en­er­gized and full of won­der and ex­cite­ment about what’s ahead. And, of course, driv­ing down the Pa­cific Coast High­way with the win­dows down and the mu­sic loud! There’s that! [laughs]

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