Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Hey, It's That Actress!

You’re cool enough to know Judy Greer’s name, but not everybody is; the perennial sidekick, 38, talks about her far-flung onscreen career, her funny new memoir, and the weird looks she gets in public

Posted on

What’s the story behind the book’s title?
“I don’t know what you know me from” is my fantasy of what I want to say to people in a very loving way almost every day. At Starbucks a few days ago, the barista asked, “What do I know you from?” And she wouldn’t drop it — “Just tell me one thing you were in!” — even though it was the morning rush and there was a huge line behind me. I said, “I totally am in movies, you’re not crazy, but I kind of just need my coffee and so does everyone else.” I felt so bad!

You write about ”fan-profiling” — and how you can sometimes guess what strangers will know you from by looking at them.
In the beginning, I could tell an Arrested Development fan from a mile away — they were the twentysomething überhipster-nerds. When girls come up to me, I can usually say 27 Dresses or The Wedding Planner. Boys right now are into Arrested and Archer, and men of a certain age are usually going to be Two and a Half Men. Sometimes people will really throw me off. This big tattooed Hells Angels guy came up to me at a barbecue place and said he loved me in 13 Going on 30. I was like, “Do you have daughters?”

What has it been like to keep being cast as ”the best friend” and other supporting characters?
When you’re an actor fresh out of theater school, you tend to think you can play any part. In theater school I played a 9-year-old boy with AIDS, a 50-year-old eunuch, a dead body in Antigone. But then you’re dumped out in the real world, and a casting director decides who you are. You basically get cast based on how you look. When there’s a camera in your face, you can’t really play a 50-year-old dude — well, maybe people in Tyler Perry movies do. And I’m playing an ape in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, so maybe I shouldn’t speak so soon!

You’ve costarred with the same actors multiple times.
I love that! I just finished a movie with Jennifer Garner, and working with her again was like the first spring day in New York City after a winter of pain. On the set of Three Kings, I took a picture in front of George Clooney’s big ol’ trailer so I could tell my family back home it was mine. Cut to years later, I’m crying my eyeballs out in front of him in Hawaii for The Descendants.

Would you like to see your book adapted for the screen?
If someone were interested in developing this, I’d love to sit down with them, especially if they’re paying for lunch. I’m curious who I’d cast as myself. [Arrested Development creator] Mitch Hurwitz suggested that Sandra Bullock could play me and I could play her best friend.