“It’s just fun being at home. I want to have a vacation in my house. I’ve been out twice in New York, and it’s always fun. But I always feel like I could have had the same amount of fun at home. Though, New York is the best place in the world to go out to eat.”

On working with Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt:
“It taught me that I want to go do more theater. I want that experience. Whether I succeed or fail, I want to know what that is.”

“I’m a tornado from the moment I walk in the door. Everything becomes disheveled and unhinged.”

On Frances McDormand:
“I pride myself on being someone who never keeps production waiting. I come from small theaters where you had to be on time. But every time I showed up on set, she’d already be there. So I asked her how it is that she continuously beat me to the set. She looks at me and says, ‘I never leave.’ She’s involved in the production, and she knows everybody’s name. She comes with her A-game every day.”

“I thought maybe I should move to New York, maybe I should do something else. It wasn’t that I was quitting or making a dramatic statement. It was more like maybe this just wasn’t a good fit. Maybe I should go refocus. And then at Sundance [in 2005], everything shifted.”

On working at the Gap:
“Whitney Houston came in. Someone dared me to do ‘the Gap act’ on her. You know, the Gap act. So I went up to her like I didn’t know who she was, and I said, ‘Hi, I just wanted to let you know about our sale items and make sure to check out our new colors.’ She looked at me like I was crazy.”

On why she’s in no gossip magazines:
“I’m not that interesting. I don’t do interesting things. I think part of it is that I’m a little bit older so I don’t have a nightlife that involves anything other than going to get Mexican food! I don’t know what it is. I would think that there are a lot of people in LA. who do not appreciate that attention, but who get it. So, in a way, its just luck that they haven’t found me that interesting yet, which is great.”

“Not at this point. Right now I’m just doing what I enjoy and I’ve done some different films, I’ve done some different types of roles. I’ve done drama this year, we had a film at Sundance (Sunshine Cleaning), but I enjoy playing upbeat characters, I really do because you take your characters home with you whether you intend to or not.”

“Moving to LA led me on a very different path than I had intended for myself. I think the idea of Hollywood didn’t make any sense to me. It wasn’t on my radar at all. Acting in films was like something that special people did. When I met people that were in films and realized that they were just people, it helped make it more of a reality. And having her saying I could work… It’s weird, sometimes you just need a little kick in the butt.”

On being called an ‘It Girl’:
“You know until this junket I didn’t even know about it. I always equated ‘It Girls’ to like having a certain type of sexuality. So, for me, I don’t think like that. I don’t associate that with myself at this time. I’ve been working, which is so grounding and you don’t sort of get a sense of the outside world when you working.”

“When I got to Los Angeles I was like, ‘I may try to be an actor.’ It took me a long time to say, ‘I am an actor.'”

“Well, it’s funny that you say ‘What is it about the business’ because ‘What is it about the craft’ is where it all started for me. I’d always been interested by human behavior and I think that acting has made me a more empathetic person. The other stuff that comes with it hasn’t gotten in the way. I’ve managed to exist in this world for about nine years now without having any sort of negative side effects. What keeps me invested is the people that I meet, the work that I get to do, and the life that I’m getting to live, which is pretty exciting.”

“When you get to a point where you’ve achieved things, it makes you say, ‘I think there’s more to be done.’ You see a turn in the road and wonder, ‘What would happen if I took that left?’ So I just yearn to know the truth about who I might become outside the path I set out on. And I think I share that with a lot of my characters.”

You’ve worked a long time to get where you are today. Are you ever afraid that it all might just go away?
“Well, it’s not as though I just stepped off the bus into this, so I kind of feel that the only thing that I have to be scared of is going back to where I was, and it’s okay there. I would hate for it all to go away tomorrow, but if it did, I would hope that I made the most of it while I was here. Look, I know there will come a time when people are going to be like, ‘Oh, what was she thinking?’ And in an abstract way I look forward to that, to see what that brings, because I’ve done the not working thing, I’ve done the sort of working/sort of not working thing, and then I’ve done the get a big movie and everyone expects you to do well and then after that you don’t work for a year thing. So I’ve had those experiences, and the one I’m having now is just a different one. It’s all very interesting, and fun. It has its downsides, of course, and I do get a little scared, but more about things like not having the money to send my future kids to college.”

“I see myself as optimistic, and I think that can be confused with being innocent and naïve.”

“I’m optimistic, but I’m still a realist, so I tend to always go with the worst-case scenario, just in preparation.”

“I was always jealous of those kids in high school who were so cocky and acted like they were going to take the world by storm. I loved to perform, but I just couldn’t make that declaration.”

“I worry about things I shouldn’t worry about, that I don’t need to be thinking about, like, what will the world be like for my children? And I don’t have children! I think about my future children often.”

“I think it’s human nature to seek out positivity to balance out negative things. I don’t know if films are doing it as much as they used to, though, since people turn to magazines and other forms of entertainment for that kind of distraction.”

“I grew up loving old films, so I had this romanticized feeling of Hollywood. I thought it would be so glamorous to be an actress in that time. “

“I take responsibility for my characters, but I think its different in that I don’t have as much intentional responsibility.”

“It’s a very different thing being the director and being the actor. You have to take those considerations, relay them to me, and I have to execute.”

“My sister and my mom are in Atlanta. And I lived there for a while, I lived in Virginia Highlands. I worked at the Lenox Mall in the Gap. I wanted to work in the stockroom, but I was just too peppy. I tried, they were like ‘No you have to be at the front of the store. You are the only person who will literally talk to everyone who comes in the store.'”

“Have you seen that thing on VH-1, I’ve only seen it a couple of times, where it’s a sixty-second biography? That would be fun to make one of those… about somebody else. Well, I moved to Colorado and started working in dinner theater, I was a dancer so we’d do musicals, and then from there, I moved to Minnesota where I was cast in Drop Dead Gorgeous and that gave me to the chutzpah to move to Los Angeles, and then from there I’ve been doing everything from dayplayer roles now to Delysia.”

“Mormons are the most performing group of people you’ve ever met!”

“There were times when I was going to have to get a real job, but I’ve been very fortunate to always get either a job or a residual check when I most needed them – residual checks can be so important to the struggling artist! But sure there were those times, and it wasn’t just that I felt like it’s not going to happen, but also feeling like my best wasn’t enough and not really knowing what else to do.”

“I was fired from two shows my second year in L.A. One was because I was too young – I knew I was too young and I could feel it coming so that one wasn’t too bad. But the second one was sort of terrifying because of the way that it happened. It was right after a table read and they were like, ‘We’ll see you tomorrow!’ and then 20 minutes later I get the call. It was just that betrayal that I couldn’t overcome. The realization that someone could look me in the eye and have me believe something while executing something else. But after that experience my lawyer called and was very supportive and said, ‘Look, I know it sucks right now, but this happens and you’ve done such a great job in the year that you’ve been here, so just keep at it.’ And then I ended up working with his wife [Embeth Davidtz] in Junebug, so it was neat that when I did have a breakthrough, it tied back to him.”

“The characters that I’ve had the opportunity to play thus far do tend to be seeking something, and as humans that’s usually understanding and love. And love is such a strong force, especially in young women. Not to say that it’s not in young men as well, but it’s much more visceral in young women.”

“In Miss Pettigrew it’s ultimately the love of a woman that sees her through. That’s the most important relationship in her life thus far – the kindness and patience of that woman she meets for a day. I think because each of these characters is so needy, they’re picking up from the people around them. When you’re needy, that leaves you very open and vulnerable! So yeah, I do believe in the power of love.”

“I loved Vivien Leigh, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn.”

“I love a good debate… I like it when somebody makes me see something from a new point of view, so I’ll often say things with certainty, when really I’m just taking a side.”

“I’ll always stand up for what I think is fair. I’m open to other people’s points of view. And that’s true artistically as well, because often it opens up a whole range of possibilities.”

“I actually think the comedy came first – I’ve always felt more comfortable there because I was scared of drama. I didn’t really know how to access my emotional side without wounding my own person. Once I learned how to do that it opened up all these doors to me and I realized, You know what? Real life contains moments of laughter followed by uncontrollable sobbing. I love movies that combine the dramatic with the romantic. Because truth is funny – it’s the Ah-ha/moment.”

“I find that every film I do becomes a deeply personal experience and my own life starts to manifest these weird realities.”

“I find that recently I’ve been playing characters who have questions of faith. It’s been interesting to examine why that keeps popping up. And not just faith in God – faith in themselves, faith in somebody else.”

“I think tackling certain characters has definitely helped me in my life because I can’t come to the truth about a character when I’m lying to myself. As a result it forces you too look at things and sometimes it is painful and you don’t want to deal with it.”

“It’s harder today to have that mystery. Being a celebrity is about much more than having an image or a talent now, it’s about being seen, and letting the world really get to know you. And I think at some point you have to make the choice whether to keep going in that direction or to hold back and start defining your own life. You know, Meryl is someone who has her own life and still has a mystery about her as an actress – you don’t know what she ate for breakfast or where she went on Saturday night and that allows you to keep her separate from her characters. So I’m going to try to do that as much as I can. It’s definitely harder but there are actresses that do it – who are warm and available but still have a piece for themselves. I, on the other hand, always feel like I need to leave a piece of myself behind.”

“Oh, I’m glad I’m not annoying. I annoy myself sometimes in real life. I can be a bit chipper, a bit perky. And when I think what I was like in my early twenties! ‘Hihowyoudoin’…’ This burst of conversation would come at you.”

“I just love playing characters who are unabashedly, persistently cheerful. It’s so much fun.”

“Things have happened at the right time. I’m glad I didn’t become crazy-successful on moving to LA. Your twenties are brutal, a hard time. I would have been too self-conscious.”

On her religious upbringing:
“I can’t speak for everybody, but I know it instilled in me a value system I still hold true. The basic ‘Do unto others…’ – that was what was hammered into me. And love.”

“I thought, ‘My body is just wrecked from dancing all these years. Maybe I’ll just go to LA, focus on acting and see what happens.'”

“I tried going out to clubs and that didn’t suit me at all. Because I’d missed college, I wasn’t properly socialised. I was always surprised when people turned out to be nasty. It was, like, ‘What? You mean you kissed me and you don’t want me to be your girlfriend?'”

“One of the joys of playing Ashley was that she had faith. People’s relationship with God can be very complicated. There was a moment when that was taken away from her… It still kills me when I think about it.”

On Emily Blunt:
“She’s a great gal, she’s amazing, I can’t say enough, she’s the next whatever-she-wants-to-be. And so composed… Ah, enough about Emily! She’s fantastic, she’s gorgeous! And she’s younger than me, the hag!”

“I was quite shy. People thought I was very stuck up, which made me feel so misunderstood. I thought, ‘OK, if I’m silly, people will like me and think I’m approachable. I don’t have to be this timid blonde in the corner with shivering blue eyes.'”

“I think that helps me to be honest, because I’m not trying to protect something, I’m not trying to keep part of my life secret, I’m not hiding my face.”

“I’m silly. I’m a silly person. I can be ridiculous, like, annoying I’m sure. But what I like about both those roles is that there’s a little bit of pathos underneath, a place to center the characters because they’re both really out there.”

“Right now I’m just doing what I enjoy. I enjoy playing upbeat characters, I really do, because you take those characters home with you, whether you intend to or not, so playing depressed people, it’s just a bummer.”

“I had done Junebug and then after that I finished my obligation on a television show and I was really considering moving to New York and pursuing theater. Because I was like, ‘I don’t know if LA and I are a good match, I’ve been out here for so many years and I’m still not happy, I’m still not, sort of fulfilled as an artist, what can I do?’… Then Junebug premiered at Sundance and things changed.”

On her favorite classic film:
Gone with the Wind. I watched it when I was 13 and it changed my life forever…”

On being an “overnight sensation”:
“I’m overnight to them so I’m not going to complain.”

On being the middle child:
“There’s a lot of stuff about not getting enough attention, but the truth is, with seven kids, no one’s getting enough of anything.”

Her family’s response to her wanting to be an actor:
“They knew I was serious so they were definitely supportive, though when I moved out to L.A., I think they were like, ‘Do you really understand what you’re getting into?’ Not that they necessarily understood what I was getting into, so it was a big mystery to all of us.”

On paparazzi:
“If you go to an event there’s usually some, but I don’t go to that many events. They don’t follow me home, they don’t follow me out to dinner. They don’t follow me down the street, thank goodness, because I walk out in my PJ’s. I have a puppy where you if don’t take her out first thing in the morning, and I mean first thing in the morning, you’re picking up stuff in the house.”

When asked if she is recognized often:
“It’s starting to happen a little but it’s more just kind of curious double-takes. Several times people have said to me, ‘You look so much like Amy Adams -have you heard that before?’ And I’m like, ‘I actually hear that a lot.'”

On the singing live at the Oscars:
“I haven’t done it recently enough to feel comfortable doing it, but it’ll be a fun challenge. You gotta do things that scare you and that are outside your comfort zone, and that’s definitely outside my comfort zone, but I’m going to have fun no matter what.”

On the singing live at the Oscars:
“I get through the first one I think I should just count my blessings. But, Kristin Chenoweth is singing the second one so, no pressure. I was like ‘Did you have to pick the best singer in musical theatre?'”

On dinner theatre:
“I started, we waited tables and then we would get up and do A Chorus Line. The problem was, of course, that the show is performed without intermission, so when are people going to get their dessert? This was always a big problem. I was a really bad waitress, but I had the time of my life there. That show lasted for three months, and then I went to another theater which has since closed. Eventually I ended up in Minnesota at a theater company where you did not have to wait tables.”

On the Vanity Fair cover shoot:
“It was so much fun. I love Annie Leibowitz. I’ve always loved Annie Leibowitz. As long as they’ve had that Hollywood cover, that’s sort of been, for me, that was always “Oh, that would be so much fun.” And it was. And I was really happy—I have so much respect for all the girls that I was on there with. Emily Blunt and I worked on a film together, so she’s like a sister to me. That was really special, to get to do that with her. I think the world of the other two girls as well. It was a really fun shoot.”

“I’m still idealistic enough to believe that even if we all have different truths, it won’t take something awful to get us all on the same page. Because the truth is that as much as we debate and fuss and pick at other people’s ideas and viewpoints, really we all want the same thing. I guess I’d say I’m hopeful because I can’t exist any other way. If I lose hope then what am I doing here? Why would I continue to live and work and be part of a country that I love if I didn’t think that it was a place where hope could thrive?”

On what makes her American:
“I think it’s my sense of possibility, which is what this country was founded on – what’s possible and what will happen if we try this? I think that that’s a part of the American spirit that’s still alive today: a sense of freedom. I’m so grateful to have that when you look at the rest of the world. Nothing’s perfect now, nor was it ever, but we always have a choice and that is huge. It’s like what Gandhi said: ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ As Americans, each of us has that opportunity.”

On theatre:
“I’ll never get my dream roles. I’m wrong for them. Elphaba in Wicked or Dulcinea in Man of La Mancha. I always want to play these dark, complicated roles and I don’t think I’m the obvious choice. Not just physically, but my vocal abilities are much more light.”

On Ellen Page:
“Ellen’s tougher than I am. She could take me, man. Unless I’m scrappier than I appear. Which I might be.”

On fame and staying grounded:
“I wouldn’t say that I’m Hollywood royalty but I feel like I’m now part of the court. I can go and watch the royalty, and that’s fun. But at the same time, it can be a little like the zoo versus a safari – a safari can be a little overwhelming so sometimes it’s better to see it from a safe distance.”

“It’s still so abstract. I mean, what is a movie star? It implies this singular vision.”

“You know, what can you do about it? I’ve been nominated for an Oscar and still managed to live in relative anonymity and did Catch Me. Right now, I guess I’ll have to deal with it all as it comes.”

“I don’t know if it’s the nomination or the attention that it brought to Junebug, but it also I think brought people’s attention to my previous work. I got a long time without people making the connection to all my different films and all my different acting things so I think it’s the firs time where I was really identified. I think it absolutely has brought amazing opportunities and introduced me to so many people and it was just a really wonderful experience.”

“I’m so busy. I also just surround myself with people who are pretty honest with me. I’d like to believe they’re honest with me. They’re not afraid to tell me no and that’s to me the most important thing or to let me know when I’ve stepped out of line and I have a really great support group. I think that’s the key.”

“Well, as Delysia (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day) would have learned, there’s no such thing as stability and security. I think sometimes when you get what you want, you realize that maybe what you wanted isn’t what you needed. I think that’s what Miss Pettigrew showed her. I always consider, is this really making me happy? I don’t think any one thing can make us happy. Singularly focusing on career cannot make us happy. What I’m trying to do is achieve balance in my life, and I’m doing a pretty good job. I fall short sometimes.”

“I’ve been working so that keeps me grounded. The act of getting up every morning and going to work, creating characters and being present keeps you from thinking about it all in an abstract way. I’ve had a great distraction in work.”

On the biggest downside:
“I’m homesick. I’m really homesick. I try to make the most of it, but you never know how long of a run you get. I’m really trying to make the most of it, and I love working.”

On giving up ballet:
“I wasn’t good enough and that I didn’t have enough natural talent. I probably could’ve danced with a company, but I would have always had to work really hard just to keep a position.”

On selected roles:
“I’m sure somewhere in the back of my brain that’s why I’m responding, because I’m feeling something while I’m reading this, whether it’s joy or some sort of simpatico relationship. That’s usually how I choose it—what do I feel when I read that, and is that something I want to explore?”

On singing:
“I won’t be doing an album. I would love to do musicals. I’m realistic about where my voice sits and it doesn’t sit in the pop world. I could try but it would not do well.”

“I sang before I acted. I was a dancer in musical theater. It’s just sort of by chance that two films where I sing are coming out back to back.”

“I love singing on stage. I don’t have any plans for an album because me singing pop music is just shockingly bad.”

On growing up in Castle Rock:
“It’s very different now, but when I was growing up there it was a lot of land. I belonged to something called ‘humanities,’ which was a theater hot spot, and the kids there taught me how to smoke, which I no longer do but we would sit at the Village Inn and drink coffee and smoke cigarettes and try to be really cool. I never really belonged to any one group in high school, though. I wanted to but I sort of fell through the cracks. It’s not that anyone was mean to me; I just think that for the most part people were indifferent, and sometimes that hurts worse. You know, ‘She’s nice enough but …’ And I didn’t have time to do much of anything outside of school because of ballet. I did that from about 12 to 17, and then I stopped and started training in musical theater and I ended up doing that until I moved to Los Angeles when I was 24.”

When the kids you went to school with watch “Enchanted” – do you think they can see the Amy that they knew?:
“I left the safe world of Castle Rock and went to a bigger environment, and then left that to go to a still bigger, more perilous place. I think they’d also find plenty in common with the choir girl Amy who was always breaking into song.”

“Well, it didn’t use to be boring. When I was there — when I graduated — it was nothing but open land to get in trouble with your friends, it was awesome! It was such a great place to grow up. We would hike up behind houses, sneak our cigarettes down at Village Inn and drink coffee. I sort of had an indie-film upbringing! Lots of dysfunction and teen angst. I had a long-blonde-haired boyfriend who drove a Camaro. He was the perfect high school boyfriend.”

“I was completely obsessed with pop culture growing up.”

“I was super into Dirty Dancing and the song “She’s Like the Wind.” It was like, ‘That’s the best romantic song ever written.’ I wasn’t introduced to a more artistic reality until much later.”

“I love nachos, burritos, enchiladas – I like it all. But I go for the chips, salsa and guacamole, so I’m usually so full by the time the food comes that I have three bites. It’s a bit of an issue.”

[“We Belong to the Night” by Pat Benatar] is a really good karaoke song for me. I sang it at the wrap party for Doubt.”

“I just took my first grown-up vacation, where I just went somewhere and it wasn’t for a wedding or holiday. I spent about three weeks in Italy and ended up at Hotel Caruso. It’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been. It was so romantic, and so simple, and so lovely, and the food was delicious. It smelled like jasmine and lemon blossoms. It was just heaven.”

“I love The Nutcracker because it’s part of a tradition – I love Christmas – and it was the only ballet I did as a professional ballerina. I quit before I got to do much more.”

“Silly is my middle name”

“I like it when you can laugh while you cry at the same time.”

On Meryl Streep:
“It was at a Vanity Fair Oscar party, about six months before I was cast in Doubt, and I made a fool out of myself. I’m not starstruck often, and it’s safe to say I was starstruck meeting Meryl Streep. Suddenly, I was a 12-year-old who wanted to let her know how much I liked her. Meryl handled it very graciously.”

“I grew up in a small town and you could run around and get lost all day long. When I was a kid, I would always climb to the top of the trees; I’d be up there by myself. I was one of seven kids, so it was always pretty chaotic and that was a place where I could be alone and nobody could find me. I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to embrace finding freedom with others as well. When I was younger my freedom was when I was alone.”

“Getting caught up in someone else’s identity provides a lot of freedom but I know that when I was onstage, I felt a bigger sense of freedom than in film.”

“It sounds so Miss America but I think that if we had compassion for one another, it would create more freedom because everybody would just feel a little more secure. Security creates freedom.”

“I like men who are complex, although a foot rub here and there isn’t bad either.”

On Old Hollywood:
“I think I’m more suited to that period. I don’t look very modern, that’s for sure. I love older films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Vertigo. I wanted to be Kim Novak. I’ve watched Gone With the Wind about 40 times and was so into Scarlett O’Hara. I relate with the survivor in her, that feeling of doing what it takes to make things work. She’s also who I learned my temper training from, so be careful!”

“My younger brother jokingly called me The Emasculator. It’s because I come from a long line of powerful women. We’re nice and sweet, but that can be deceptive. The nickname comes from my tendency to help. It’s not that I don’t think you can do something yourself. I just want to help you do it.”

“I love doing stuff that you haven’t seen before. I’m bound to fail. But as painful as it would be in the moment, I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be a relief to get it over with.” And to think, most princesses — and actresses — only want to live happily ever after.”

“Sorry, I went into my own head. I was thinking about one of the days where the cameras stopped rolling and I just could not stop crying [on the set of Sunshine Cleaning]. It was a point at which the character was being honest about herself and what she was and wasn’t. It really struck a chord. Am I doing it right? I don’t think all success and failure is judged by a career. I’m not married. I don’t have children. Sometimes I wish I read more books than scripts. Did I choose the right road?”

“I think there are elements of my personality that are very cartoonish.”

“I’m having insomnia. It’s not the falling asleep. It’s the waking up, and then you’re up.”

“I need hobbies. I’ve been so focused on my career up to this point that I just read scripts and I really became a very uninteresting person. … I’m going to spend some time researching what my true interests are outside of this, because I really do love what I do.”

“As a dancer, you sort of aren’t encouraged to speak. It took a long time to be brave enough to say I wanted to be an actress.”

“I like to be uber-focused. I’m not good at the balancing act of working and then life. I tend to get a little self-absorbed when I’m working.”

“In an ideal world, I’ll just be able to achieve balance. I don’t know if that’s possible. We’ll see.”

“When I first came to Los Angeles, I was the go-to bitch. I mean, if you needed a slutty bitch, I was her. Now it’s quite the opposite. Oh, that’s nice language, huh? Sorry!”

“I love being a redhead. It’s all about public perception. I have a really upbeat personality, and as a blond, people are like, ‘Oh, there’s Amy, that dingy blond.’ But as a redhead, words like ‘dingy’ get changed to ‘quirky,’ and words like ‘hyper’ become ‘spitfire.'”

“I drew a picture of myself in the third grade of what I would be when I grew up. I had red hair, and oddly enough, I was in a very nice gown. Oh no! I’ve got red hair and wear nice gowns. I’ve fulfilled all my childhood dreams. Now what?”

“Being that joyful and that good is its own type of dysfunction. It’s just not usually illustrated in film, which is generally more concerned with people’s ulterior motives.”

“I would love to [play evil]. But at the same time I don’t like evil for evil’s sake. I had an opportunity to play a woman who had killed these two men. But I couldn’t find anything redeeming about her. I didn’t like her. I kind of didn’t want to be her.”

“I’m really a jeans and T-shirt girl.”

“I think for women, it takes a while to take control of decisions. You think that everything is fate or destiny, you don’t really make your choices. I think that summer was the first time I was able to say that I didn’t want to follow through with it and deal with the consequences. It was really empowering. At the end of the summer I was unemployed but I was happy and I was proud. I was like, you know what, I’m done with being pushed around.”

“I love it when people I respect get a role I was up for. Like, my goal in acting is to lose a part to Samantha Morton.”

“Well, it’s funny because even now I’ll read stuff about me, and it’ll say ‘newcomer’ or ‘relative newcomer,’ and I’m like, ‘Six years later!’ [laughs] I don’t think people understand how much work goes into being a newcomer.”

“I want to work. I want to do good work in films that I care about…. I just want to always be able to represent myself honestly and to be proud of the work that I’m doing.”

“Cutting bangs is going to change my whole personality, I’ve decided. People will finally see the darker girl inside.”

On getting recognized now:
“It’s really nice. I was in the store yesterday and a man came up and said congratulations, and as I was leaving another man was like, ‘Good luck!’ I feel like I have the support from the community in West Hollywood. My neighborhood deli is behind me.”

“There are so many actresses I admire. I love Samantha Morton and Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet. I’m not gonna move to London and adopt an accent, but I do love British actors. I love Holly Hunter, she’s very American, and Jodie Foster. Rachel Weisz… Oh! British.”

On her Junebug costar, The O.C.‘s Benjamin McKenzie:
“I haven’t seen the show! But I have seen Ben and I just adore him. Physically he reminds me of my little brother. I have a great affection for Ben; he’s just such a nice, smart, sweet guy.”

On kissing Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can:
“The horrible thing about that is that there was no romantic staircase or beautiful dress. Like, I had pigtails. It was not how I envisioned my moment with Leonardo DiCaprio when I first saw Titanic. That was not my Leo fantasy.”

On turning 30:
“I love it. The twenties are confusing. For me, there’s just been a change as far as embracing being a woman and understanding that you can be a woman and a girl at the same time. It’s all about your spirit. We’re all girls. You never lose that.”

On how friends would describe her:
“I know I’d get silly; I tend to be a little silly. My boyfriend (of three and half years, actor Darren De Gallo) says I’m sweet, and I’m like, ‘No, I’m not!’ Feisty, I’ve gotten feisty. (Being a middle child) maybe that’s why I’m feisty. Like, ‘Excuse me! I will not be ignored.'”

“Even in high school I was so frustrated because I felt like people expected me to be one way based on looking a certain way. Like, looking wholesome.”

“I was just not fitting in with the cheerleaders. And I was doing ballet, so I was always gone from school. But I didn’t fit in with the theater people either because I was in the real theater. I think people thought I was a snob. But I’d say people would think my personality is exactly the opposite of my face, if that makes any sense – even though at the same time I’m a really optimistic, upbeat person, and I’m for the most part happy. There’s just a lot of yin and yang.”

“There’s no halfway with me. I ain’t got time to pretend I don’t want a job.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with playing your cards. I mean, is there something wrong with wanting to do your best?”

On working at Hooters:
“I was a waitress for short period of time. I had to buy a car. I was sick of taking the bus.”

On working at Hooters:
“It’s like, I worked in dinner theater for seven years and nobody cares. At the time, I was a dancer, so I was used to running around in tights and a leotard – but it took me a while to figure out that Hooters was a little different. But it was two months, and it was to buy a car.”

On working at Hooters:
“It was a short enough period of my life. I always find it fascinating that it’s become my entire press career a while.”

“As an actress in LA., they’re so many people trying to do what you do, I try not to plan for success, you know what I mean? Or plan that stuff is going to happen for me and get all like [excited], because like how in a way would that be? And on top of that I don’t like to be disappointed. So I do believe that this is a great opportunity, but a lot of the opportunity was actually working on it, and everything else is just icing: getting to come here; you know, anything else. It’s nice to know that I have support from Steven Spielberg and from DreamWorks. I really feel supported by them in my performance. And at this stage in the game, and that’s a real gift. And I’m very happy about that.”

“You know what? [Not eating is] never a problem. If I had the flu, I might not eat. But other than that, when I’m nervous: I eat. When I’m upset: I eat. I’m one of those nacho girls; like fat Mexican food is the only thing that’s going to fix it.”

“The way that I work is: I never work from Amy, because I don’t think that for myself I can create a real character. And working from myself, I’m much more… I don’t know… I guess when I use my own stuff it’s like I’ve already dealt with it, so I can’t work with like being broken-up within this because I’ll get upset about it for a second and be like, “Oh yes that was really sad, he was a jackass but it was the best thing that ever happen to me.” So I can’t use all that. It’s like this falseness. Like I force it. So I build the character. I build her own life. Like her experiences are completely different from mine, so that I have reason for all my reactions and a reason for everything. It sounds so manipulative, but I build a full character so that I can move freely within a person’s life and you never have a question like: what do I need to motivate this with? It’s always like it’s there because you know who the person is and you know how she thinks.”

On her favorite Steven Spielberg film:
“Of course there’s Jurassic Park, but my introduction to Spielberg was E.T., so that will always be how I perceive him.”

“I always knew I wanted to perform. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a singing nurse.”

“Yeah, I like to consider myself a nice person. I think that everybody actually has that dark side, though – I think that everybody has that ‘wicked wit.'”

“I give and take, but I try. Like I never want to hurt anybody’s feelings. But don’t get me wrong. I’m a very generous taker, too.”

“I’m mischievous but I’m not evil.”