Q&A with ''I Heart Huckabees'' Lily Tomlin -- One of the existential investigators from David O'Russell's flick discusses working with Dustin Hoffman and her one-woman show

By Tom Russo
Updated February 21, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

As an existential investigator in David O. Russell’s I Heart Huckabees, Tomlin acts as a MacGuffin for the film’s extended hyperphilosophical exercise.

What do you say the film is about? It’s a loving, funny picture of people trying to figure out being human — with the help of detectives who have complete access to your life.

Your character and her partner, Dustin Hoffman, say everything in the universe is connected. Your rival, Isabelle Huppert, says it’s all random. Why so diametrically opposed? There was a backstory that established us as a love threesome. (We didn’t do any sex scenes, though.) Dustin and I abandoned her, pitching her into the random, cruel world.

So which is it: connected or random? Personally, I buy loving and connected. [My one-woman show] The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe was about the connection between all of us. Not that that solves anything, or makes things easier! [Laughs]