Latina caught up with Cameron Diaz while she was promoting her new comedy Bad Teacher yesterday in Miami. It was a whirlwind day of interviews for the leggy blonde, who at one point even showed off her salsa moves during Univision’s Despierta America! We chatted with our favorite funny girl about so many things—including, of course, the making of the film (which had us laughing from beginning to end), working with ex Justin Timberlake, and what she thinks about breast implants!
Your character, Elizabeth, is obsessed with finding a sugar daddy, which seems like the complete opposite of you. Being successful on your own—is that something that’s always been important?
For me, it’s never been about, ‘I’m a woman and I can do this on my own and I will not lean on a man.’ That never crossed my mind because my parents were partners. They contributed equally to the family in every way—from my father [Emilio Diaz, who was Cuban], who worked a full-time job, doing housework, to my mom [Billie], who worked eight hours a day, cooking dinner. It was a partnership and the idea of somebody just doing nothing and letting somebody else do all the work never even occurred to me. So whether the other person in my life, you know, my partner, contributes more or less financially, doesn’t make a difference to me, as long as the partnership is strong and that we’re both contributing to the life that we build together.
Some of the teaching methods that Elizabeth uses aren’t all that bad, like forcing the kids to watch classic movies such as Stand and Deliver.
I think that movies are stories that are being told so we understand who we are better, who other people are better, to understand about our heart or our culture. That’s why I think it’s such a privilege to make movies because it’s something that’s about humanity. It’s a necessity for human beings, though sometimes those movies are just to entertain.
With movies like Bridesmaids and Bad Teacher, is there a better time to be a female in comedy?
Apparently, it’s our time! None of us got together and planned it that way, but that’s what happens with trends. You see an opening and you see what’s being made, you see all the other products, and you say, ‘We’ve seen that before, and people are kind of tired of it, so let’s look for something different to see how that catches on.’ Even for myself, you just don’t find scripts like this.
How does it feel to play someone who’s not necessarily bad—more like bad-ass—when we’re so used to seeing you as the nice, girl-next-door?
I’ve played characters in other films like Vanilla Sky or even My Sister’s Keeper where the characters aren’t totally sympathetic, but in comedy I certainly have done that [play nicer characters] because those are the ones that reach people more. People want to laugh more than they wanna cry. But I don’t want to play the same character all the time.
What do you think about what Reese Witherspoon said during this year’s MTV Movie Awards about not needing a sex tape or a reality show in order to make it in Hollywood as a woman?
It’s really all about hard work. This is the thing that young girls don’t understand. Just because you’re pretty doesn’t mean that you’re going to be successful. You may for a second— people might be like, ‘oh, she’s hot’ and want to like, hit that, but you cannot survive in Hollywood, period, if you’re not willing to do the work, because this is a business. Look at girls like Kim Kardashian, who doesn’t act, but that girl works hard. You have to give her that. Whatever goods she’s selling, and not everyone agrees or would say that selling your life is a great thing to do, but how hard she does it, you have to admire that.
In the movie, Elizabeth wants to get a boob job but figures out she doesn’t need one—that she’s beautiful just as she is. Did you ever face pressure in Hollywood to change your looks and did you actually ever consider doing it?
Well, for Elizabeth, that’s a business investment for her; it’s not about aesthetics. It’s not about what she looks like. In her line of work, which is to find somebody to take care of her, this is what gives her a competitive edge. So you have to admire that and her values. Girlfriend is driven. But for myself, I wasn’t looking for any shortcuts, or I never thought that that really would serve me. In The Mask, I used a push-up bra from Frederick’s of Hollywood and that worked fine. It was only $36 as opposed to [surgery]. [Laughs]. And it was really for the character, it’s not like I wear that bra in every movie I’ve made since; it just suited that character, so I never really felt like I needed it. It never really crossed my mind. I’m not saying it won’t later on [Laughs]. I never say never. And that’s why I never judge any woman who has—they make the decision for themselves that they think is the best one for them at that time and that’s their choice. I don’t care; it’s not my life.
Who was your favorite teacher growing up?
All of my elementary school teachers were my greatest teachers because you spend so much time with them before you start changing classrooms.
I had one teacher in particular, Mr. Fujikawa, who spent most of the year with his feet up on the desk. He would tell these really funny stories about his two-year-old son and he was so entertaining. They were so twisted and dark and none of the other kids really got it, but I laughed so hard.
How did Justin end up in this movie?
We were casting the film and there were some really great guys, some really talented, funny guys, but there was just something missing and we were like, what is it? The director, Jake Kasdan, and I were sitting there and going over the guys that were possibilities and we looked at each other and said, ‘You know who would be really amazing in this part?’ And we were like, ‘I think I do!’ And we basically said his name at the same time. He’s just so brilliant on Saturday Night Live and I know him so well, I know his humor, and I just knew he would do something completely unique with this character. And he’s a total weirdo in this movie! The character is so creepy. If someone were to play that character as you’d expect him to be, it would deflate the film, but because he is so weird, it works perfectly.
I don’t know how you kept a straight face during the dry-humping scene with Justin.
Well, that was our intent— to make the least sexiest sex scene ever put on film [laughs].
I think you succeeded!
I think we did, too!