IT tortured teen I
WHY HER? As the flames-of-hell-haired Claire on HBO’s Six Feet Under, Ambrose transcends moody-teen cliches, suggesting bottomless depths of confusion, despair, and life-affirming black humor.
CLOSEST BRUSH WITH CAREER IMMOLATION Appearing in Psycho Beach Party (2000). role model ”Sissy Spacek, for the way she’s had a real life outside of show business, but can reenter it, like a spy or something, and come up with the right role and the right life experiences to draw upon.”
DREAM COLLABORATORS Directors Robert Altman and Kenneth Lonergan.
Best Advice ”From my grandmother, who’s 93. She told me, ‘If you feel yourself starting to get in a fight with someone you love, go to the bathroom.”’
WORST ADVICE ”A DP once told me, in shooting a close-up, not to move my face at all. I was too young to disobey, but later I thought, Hey, I’m not a freakin’ ventriloquist — how can I express emotion without showing anything on my face?”
CAREER SHE’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE ”Shirley MacLaine. She’s a singer, an actress, a dancer — she can do everything. The way she uses her body in Sweet Charity — it’s inspirational. She gave herself over completely to that role.”
CREATIVE CRUTCHES Nina Simone and John Coltrane.
NEXT The feature Swimming, out this summer.
IT tortured teen II
WHY HER? The Once and Again girl broke hearts with her angelic voice, warming smile, and her character’s struggles with anorexia and her budding, confused sexuality. Why did they cancel this show again?
CAREER HIGH Working with Al Pacino in the upcoming flick Simone. ”It’s Al Pacino, and he’s this guy with a rough voice who’s being so nice and sweet to you.”
ON HAVING ”IT” (OR NOT) ”I went out for this movie, Digging to China, and they told me I didn’t have ‘it.’ I said to myself, Oh no, I’m so screwed, I don’t have ‘it.’ [She must have had something, because she got the part.] When I got Once and Again, I figured I had ‘it’ back.”
ROLE MODEL Child actress-turned-director Jodie Foster.
BEST ADVICE ”Don’t make the business make you grow up too fast. Mom, who was it who told me that? Oh yeah, Henry Thomas at Sundance.”
WORST ADVICE ”I had to do a scene in a terrible movie, and my best friend was supposed to have drowned. I didn’t know how sad I should be, and the director said, ‘Act like you just lost a baseball game.’ I was like, ‘What? I don’t play baseball.’ So I had no emotion at all.”
MUSIC SHE’D TAKE TO A DESERT ISLAND Alanis Morissette, No Doubt, Nirvana.
NEXT Feature films Simone, Little Secrets, and Thirteen, with Holly Hunter.
WHY HIM? Because his quasi-autobiographical, one-guy-against-the-world HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm offers the most entertainingly self- defeating, irritable character since, well, another of his creations, Seinfeld’s George Costanza. And because we wanted to give him something to be happy about.