Gina Gershon, before her a.m. coffee
EW.com catches up with the actress to ask about ''Camp Creepy Time,'' her first young-adult book; her roles on ''Ugly Betty'' and ''Rescue Me''; and who's the best kisser -- Tom Cruise, Lenny Kravitz, or Jennifer Tilly
Gina Gershon has a hard time with probing interviewers (ahem!) before breakfast or her daily latte. ”My brain is too slow,” complains the actress, 45. She must have had some wicked reinforcements, then, while co-writing her first, just-out book for young adults, Camp Creepy Time, a werewolves-mummies-and-vampires tale that’s already been optioned for a film. Gershon — a part-time rocker who’s occasionally known as Ugly Betty‘s Fabia — can be seen as Denis Leary’s steady on the new season of FX’s Rescue Me. That character’s name? ”I can’t remember. I must be hungry.”
Let’s talk about Rescue Me and your role. What’s your character/role going to be like?
I’m going to be Denis Leary’s girlfriend. We’re still developing her, we’re making her up as we go.
What’s her name?
I can’t remember [laughs]. Uh, isn’t that pathetic? I must be hungry. The funny thing is, he asks my name [but] I actually haven’t said my name out loud and neither has he. So in the first two episodes you don’t know what my name is. At this point, her name could be anything. So we could change her name. In fact, I remember thinking, I don’t even like her name, we should change her name. The name at this moment is irrelevant. We kind of meet and do our thing and he has no idea what my name is. I’m nameless.
You’ve known Denis for sometime now, right. How did you two connect for Rescue Me?
We’ve known each other for a long time but we really connected through our friend Ted Demme who died a few years ago. I was actually surprised it took him so long to write something for me. Because I did his [Comedy Central] Roast, and his other show. He’s a really close friend of mine.
Any idea if Fabia is going to be back for Ugly Betty next season?
Who knows? People keep asking me that question. I think people want me to come back. I guess if they’ll pay me enough, I’ll come back. I’m just kidding. Don’t write that down. Actually…it’s a very Fabia answer.
And what about Camp Creepy Time? DreamWorks bought the rights and you’re going to produce?
I’m a producer on it…isn’t that crazy? And hopefully I’ll be acting in it as well. I’m just excited. I want the screenplay to be finished. I’m really, really excited. I can’t believe I’ll be working on a movie with DreamWorks and Nickelodeon. It’s just surreal when I’m talking to Steven Spielberg about the project. I just kind of start laughing, thinking, ”God, this is so amazing.” It feels like a dream. And Richard LaGravenese, he’s been working on the script and it’s all so good.
And what’s going on with your music? Are you coming out with an album?
Yeah, I’m coming out with an album on iTunes. It should be in July. And I changed the name. I’ve done all of this press, saying I’m going to call it ”In Search of Cleo.” I’m going to call it ”Midnight Girl.”
Oh cool. That’s the name of one of the tracks too right?
It is. Look at you with your research.
Got to do the research. I also listened to ”Pretty Girls on Prozac.”
Did you like it?
Yeah, it’s good. And hilarious.
When I first started singing that to my friends…they just start laughing, because there’s a truthfulness to it. That song was based on this actress who literally was upset about her boyfriend. This girl who has absolutely everything — she was gorgeous, but she was all kind of screwed up, and she was taking these anti-depressants and…blah, blah, blah.
So going back to your Pretty in Pink days, you played a bully. Now, you’re coming out with this children’s book. How do you reconcile the two?
Um, there are a lot of bullies in Camp Creepy Time [laughs]. The main character Einstein is a bit of an anti-hero. It’s not like your typical nice guy. Not everyone’s a nice guy in that book.
So which John Hughes movie would you say is your favorite and is there a character you identify with the most?
I’d have to say Pretty in Pink, and my character. Since I played it, I can identify with it.
Okay, this is silly. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror and what do you say to yourself?
I look as little as possible.
Do you ever do that all-angle, two mirrors approach?
I really try to avoid that. It just gets a little sad and depressing. I don’t think it’s natural to have mirrors. I think the world would be a better place if there weren’t any mirrors at all. I think people would be happier. I really do. I’m not even being funny about that.
NEXT PAGE: Gershon on Tom Cruise, Lenny Kravitz, and her ”porn name”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Do you remember the first movie you made out with somebody in?
GINA GERSHON: Cocktail.
Tom Cruise. Hello. My first kiss on-screen.
Which actor is the best kisser?
Hmm. That’s a tough one. I’d say Lenny Kravitz.
The ”Again” music video is really hot.
[Laughs] It’s sexy. It’s fun. He called me up literally: ”What are you doing tomorrow?” I’m like, ”I don’t know.” He was like, ”Can you come to New York and do this thing?” You know, you gotta support your friends.
Right. Come make out with me.
[Laughs] Yeah, that was a little weird. I was like, ”Yeah, we could do that.” I have to say Jennifer [Tilly] is a pretty good kisser. She was a surprisingly good kisser.
Do you think there’s a common thread in your filmography and if so, do you think there’s a vibe or a theme?
I think the randomness is the only thing that’s common. [in coffee shop, orders a latte] Don’t you think? My filmography is so random.
Are you at Starbucks?
No, I’m against Starbucks, unless they want to sell my album, then I think they’re the greatest. [Laughs] Isn’t that terrible? I realized I can’t say anything bad. They’d be like ”Oh no, look at this artist, she’s against us.” And I’d be like, ”Oh no, I never said that. The damn journalist, putting words in my mouth again.” What was the question?
How do you choose your roles and is there a genre that you’re just not interested in doing?
Well, you know I just kind of ask my trusty 8 ball, ”Should I do this part?” Not really but that’s what it feels like sometimes. You have no idea. It’s like one day you’re in the mood for something. I don’t really have a plan for better or worse. It’s like the tequila game, you just kind of drink whenever you want.
If you could erase an entry on your IMDB filmography, what would it be?
Uh, probably, Driven. I’d probably have to take that one off.
I didn’t see that.
Oh, God. Actually, that’s too hard to say. There’s too many of those. It was a racing car movie. I take it back, that’s my favorite. I don’t know, I’d have to look at it. If you’re looking at IMDB, which I certainly like to call Lie.com, half of those movies I haven’t even done. I’ll be like, What is this movie, I haven’t even done it. You can’t believe IMDB or Wikipedia for any real…I mean, they get everything wrong. They get where you were born wrong. When did we have five brothers and sisters? Sometimes you just say things in interviews, you know, you just get bored and just say whatever comes to your head. I used to change my age all of the time because I wanted to be older for a part. And that s— comes and bites you in the ass later on. Honestly, there’s like three or four movies on there that maybe we talked about doing it for a second, but I never actually did them. The Internet has been so great, but it’s so dangerous. I mean, look, you’re a journalist, I’m just saying, do me a favor: do go to those sources if they’re not accurate. I have my coffee now and I’m so happy. All right, what else?
What’s your porn name: that’s your childhood pet’s name + the street you grew up on.
Oh, no. I thought it was your mother’s maiden name.
No, it’s your pet’s name. Did you have a pet?
Yeah. But that’s such personal information. I don’t think I can give that out at this time. I don’t just like randomly give out my porn name that easily. I have to at least be taken out to dinner for that one.