The actress talked to about her new role in the film Nim's Island, co-starring Abigail Breslin and Gerard Butler

Por Isis Sauceda / L.A.
Updated Abril 03, 2008

What drew you to the project?
I loved that it was so basic. It doesn't involve lasers or guns. It's truly about animals, people, the planet, nature, and a young girl who finds the hero inside of herself and her independence, doing very natural things like taking care of herself, cooking and exploring volcanoes.

Is Abigail's Breslin character an Indiana Jones type?
I don't know if she's so much an Indiana Jones type, but she's similar in terms of the way she finds her heroic spirit by being independent.

How would you describe your character, Alexandra?
Alexandra is a little bit crazy. She is dealing with some of the same things that Nim {Abigail Breslin's character} is going through, like learning how to be alone; how to have a creative environment that's all hers, and dealing with the loneliness that comes with that.

Did you find it difficult to play this character since you're more of a dramatic actress?
No, no. I have made a few comedies in my life- not many. It was a great experience for me to be able to be simple, because my life is very simple and usually I don't play that kind of role in movies.

How do you think people will perceive your character?
I have no idea. I think that my character, interestingly, is tying to answer the same kinds of questions that many of my dramatic characters have, like, dealing with single life, facing fears and figuring out how to overcome problems-except that here, I laugh at myself.

Any personal phobias?
I am not crazy about snakes. I don't like snakes.

In view of that, how were you able to work on the island where the film is shot?
Fortunately, there were no snakes, but there were crocodiles, apparently. We were all scared of the crocodiles. And even though no one saw any, we were told many stories about them.

Tell us an anecdote about filming on the island…
There were many iguanas. In the beginning, every time you saw them in your way you jumped back because you weren't used to seeing these prehistoric creatures in your path. After a while, they kind of became your friends because they're familiar and the same every time you see them.

Would you like to play more funny characters in the future?
I would like to, but I like playing dramatic characters. I would be happy to combine them. The reason I don't do a lot of comedy is that, honestly, they need to be very well written and it is difficult to write a good comedy.

What appealed to you about playing Alex?
I was interested in her struggle. Probably for the same reasons that I am attracted to the dramatic roles that I do: her fear, her timid nature, her solitude, and her personal feeling of heroism.

Did your kids go to the island where you were filming?
They didn't go to that island; they went to the part of Australia where we filmed the exteriors. The island was too remote and there wasn't anywhere where they could stay there.

Are they afraid of snakes too?
No, they aren't afraid of any of that. They love animals. When they were in Australia, they were able to go to the parks where you can feed the crocodiles, play with Kangaroos, and see the animals in their own environment.

What has been your biggest accomplishment?
I think directing. That's where my heart is and I am a novice director. I have a lot more to learn, but it was marvelous directing two films, and of course, it will be very difficult to direct another one. But I am always trying. I think I have learned more directing.

Who would you like to work with that you haven't worked with already?
There are many people. Of course, Meryl Streep has always been a person with whom I have wanted to work. All actresses have said that I'm sure, but she truly is, for me, the most talented actress of our generation.

Some might say the same thing about you…
I don't know. I don't see it (laughs).