Thursday, March 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Julia Stiles!

Table Dance

Picture Legend
1. Ms Julia
2. "I Love You, I Love You Not"
3. Julia and Claire, Longtime Friends
4. "The Devil's Own"
5. "Wide Awake"
6. "Wicked"
7. Love Child
8. "10 Things I Hate About You"
9. "Down to You"
10. "Hamlet"
11. "O"
12. "Save the Last Dance"
13. "State and Main"
14. Bourne
15. "The Omen"
16. Homewrecker
17. "Silver Linings Playbook"
18. Pretty Mets Fan
19. Don't Screw It Up!
20. More Bellybutton

   It's my great pleasure and honor this morning to give a great big happy birthday shout out to one of my very favorite actresses, Ms Julia Stiles!
   Julia O'Hara Stiles was born at a very early age as a small female infant in New York City. Well one has to be born somewhere I suppose.
      She is the oldest of three children born to Judith Newcomb Stiles, a ceramic artist who owned a shop in Greenwich Village (40° 44′ 2″ N, 74° 0′ 4″ W), and John O'Hara, who is, or was, either a businessman, or a second grade teacher, depending on which source of information you choose. Perhaps he was both, as it is said he helped sell his wife's artwork, as did Julia by and by.
   Here's some more confusion, depending on what source you choose, Julia is of Irish descent (just like me) on her father's side (duh!), and either English and Italian, or English and German, on her mother's side. Perhaps Julia will comment and clear up this very important matter.
   She grew up in a loft apartment in New York City's SoHo neighborhood (40° 43′ 23″ N, 74° 0′ 3″ W), which boasts the greatest collection of cast-iron architecture in the world. Imagine that. The loft served as both the family home and her Judith's art studio, so the place smelled like wet clay all of the time.
   Julia described her parents as 1960 liberals, and took part in political discussions at the dinner table at a very early age. So also helped her mom at her store beginning at 6 years old. She liked to chat up the customers I'm told.
   She developed a love for the theater also at an early age, especially the plays of some guy named Shakespeare, and kept a ceramic bust of the playwright in her bedroom, rather than a poster of David Cassidy like my sister. Perhaps her mother made the bust.
   Julia took modern dance lessons, just like me, and taught herself how to act by watching the TV series "The Honeymooners," and acting out different parts along with the show.
   "One of these days, Alice... POW!!! Straight to the moon!"
   Uuhh, I assume she was watching reruns.
   She is also a natural born writer, just like me (we have so much in common). At age 11 she wrote a letter to then New York City mayor Ed Koch suggesting he place more trash bins along the streets. Baaamm, it was done! She also wrote to the director of New York's experimental off-Broadway La Ma Ma Theatre Company, demanding an audition. Baaamm, she got it, and soon began acting in its avant-garde stage productions there, and New York's the Kitchen Theater.
   Again depending on the source, some say she began work in commercials, some that she worked exclusively on the stage. I don't know which is really true, but I don't think it really matters. What does matter is that she soon began working in movies, which is probably why we know her today. When she was 12 or 13 she was considered for the child vampire role of Claudia in "Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles," (1994) with the Cruise and Pitt boys,  but lost out in the end to that bitch Kirsten Dunst (just kidding Kirsten, we all love you here at Joyce's Take... bitch).
   She continued studying at New York's Professional Children's School and got a gig playing Erica Dansby in 5 episodes of the television show, "Ghostwriter," which was about a group of teens who go around writing books for other people. Then at age 15, she made her cinematic debut with "I Love You, I Love You Not," (1996) with Jude Law and childhood friend Claire (The Bomb) Danes. To be honest, reading the plot notes, this sounds like a thoroughly depressing film.
   She got some small parts in both a Harrison Ford movie, "The Devil's Own," (1997) about angry Irish people, and with that Pitt guy again, and "Wide Awake," (1998) starring our lovely friend Dana Delany, and written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, you know, that guy who makes movies with surprise endings, like "The Sixth Sense." But this was waaaay before he became a famous director (1 year).
   That same year Julia won her first lead role in the film "Wicked," playing a teenage girl who may, or may not have murdered her mother so she could have her father all to herself. You decide. How did she get this part? She got it by writing a letter to director Michael Steinberg, asking to be cast, and Baaamm! He agreed to cast her.
   The film was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival, but was never shown in theaters, and went straight to video. I don't know why. What it did do was to get her some notice from casting agents and film critics. Once Julia's career took off, "Wicked," was re-released on video in 2001.
   In 1999 Julia did a whole bunch of things, but three of them were to play the female lead in the TV movie "The 60s," with Jordana Brewster and Jerry O'Connell, graduate from the Professional Children's School, and be cast as Kat Stratford, opposite Heath Ledger, in Gil Junger's "10 Things I Hate About You," which is where I first became aware of her... and Heath for that matter. The film is an adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew," set in a high school in Tacoma, Washington. She won an MTV Movie Award for "Breakthrough Female Performance" for the role, and the Chicago Film Critics voted her the most promising new actress of the year.
   In "The Taming of the Shrew," the lead female character name is Katherina, or Kate for short. In "10 Things I Hate About You," the female lead, Julia's character is named Kat. Get it? Kate... Kat. It all fits so well.
   In "The Taming of the Shrew," the male lead's name is Petruchio. In "10 Things I Hate About You," the male lead, Heath's character, is name Patrick, which has absolutely nothing at all in common with Petruchio. The name Patrick in Italian (Italy is the setting for "The Taming of the Shrew") is Patrizio. However the sneaky writer of 10 Things made Patrick's last name Verona, which is the name of the city Petruchio came from. There's the connection! Isn't it wonderful?!
   I enjoyed "10 Things I Hate About You," very much, especially the performances of the two stars, and at the end when the band Letters to Cleo sang Cheap Trick's "I Want You to Want Me," on the roof of the high school. I used to have my very own VHS copy of "10 Things I Hate About You," but I no longer own it.
   I no longer have a VHS player either.
   Here's a compilation from "10 Things I Hate About You"
   Julia was a big time movie star now. Her next film was opposite Freddie Prinze, Jr. in "Down to You" (2000), a romantic comedy which also starred Ashton Kutcher in his 2nd film role (he was working "That 70s Show," at the time) and the lovely Rosario Dawson. The movie was panned by critics and didn't do well financially, but Julia and Freddie both earned  Teen Choice Award nominations for their on-screen chemistry.
   Julia, the Shakespeare devotee, would star in two more adaptation's of his plays, playing Ophelia in Michael Almereyda's version of "Hamlet" (2000) set in contemporary New York, with Ethan Hawke as Hamlet, and with Liev Schreiber, Bill Murray, Steve Zahn, Casey Affleck, and Tim Blake Nelson. Then the very next year that wile Tim Blake Nelson directed "O," which is a lose adaptation of "Othello," which Julia starred in opposite Mekhi Phifer.
   Here's a clip:
   Those films didn't do very well at the box office. Julia's next commercial success was 2001's dance film "Save the Last Dance," with Sean Patrick Thomas. In it she played a high school student who likes to dance, and who eventually is accepted to the famous Juilliard School after Sean teachers her Hip Hop.
   Here's a clip of Julia dancing like a mad person:
   Females liked the movie and made it a success. I've never seen it, although it was on TV just the other day, and I'm sure Julia was very, very good in it. I don't like dance movies... except "All That Jazz."
   I do practice synchronized Hip Hop though.
   Julia won  the 2001 Teens Choice Drama Award for her role in "Save the Last Dance," and during her hiatus from the film she signed up with Habitat for Humanity International, an organization that builds homes for the needy. Isn't that wonderful?! She helped build houses in Costa Rica.
   I would live in a house if she built one for me.
   Julia has also worked with Amnesty International to raise awareness of the harsh conditions of immigration detention of unaccompanied juveniles, again... just like me!
   Back in 2000 she appeared in David Mamet's "State and Main," a film I enjoyed very much. In it she played a teenage girl who seduces poor Alec Baldwin.
   Poor Alec.
   And she continued work on the stage, appearing in "The Vagina Monologues," "Twelfth Night," and Mamet's "Oleanna."
   In 2000 Julia enrolled at Columbia University to study English literature. She later said that, at first, it was difficult to be a celebrity on a college campus: "In the beginning, it was a little hard, because ... I wasn't even really fully aware of what people were saying. ...I would get people coming to my door, and knocking on it in the middle of the night. But it pretty much died down." She took time off from school on occasion to pursue her film career, but graduated from Columbia in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
   One of her classmates was the lovely actress Anna Paquin, who is the 2nd youngest actress to win an Academy Award (1994's Best Actress in a Supporting Role, for her work in "The Piano." She was 11 years old). The youngest person to win an Academy Award is Tatum O'Neal, for 1973's "Paper Moon." Also Best Supporting Actress. She was 10.
   In 2001 Julia appeared in "The Business of Strangers," with Stockard Channing (Ms Channing said of her co-star, "In addition to her talent, she has a quality that is almost feral, something that can make people uneasy. She has an effect on people." Indeed).
   The next year Julia had a small but crucial role as CIA operative Nicolette "Nicky" Parsons in "The Bourne Identity," (2002), a role that was enlarged in "The Bourne Supremacy," (2004), then greatly expanded in "The Bourne Ultimatum" (2007). They actually tried to kill her in that last one.
   Here's a clip from "The Bourne Supremacy"
   And an interview for "The Bourne Ultimatum"
   The three Bourne films Julia appeared in remain her greatest grossing pictures each making $214,034,224, $288,500,217, and $442,824,138 respectively (please notice that the one film that featured Julia the most made the most money).
   In her personal life, Julia has a thing for the Prince of Denmark, having dated him in two movies... "Hamlet," and "The Prince and Me" (2004).
   In 2005 she was considered for the role of Susan Storm/Invisible Girl in "Fantastic Four," but the part was given to Jessica Alba instead... bitch.
   In 2006 she appeared with Liev Schreiber again in a remake of "The Omen," in which she gets killed by Mia Farrow... bitch.
   In 2007 she made her writing and directorial debut with the short film "Raving," starring the lovely Zooey Deschanel. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival of that year.
  In 2010 Julia returned to television in the serial killer romance, "Dexter," appearing in 10 episodes in the shows fifth season.
   Just recently Ms Stiles appeared in my favorite movie of last year, "Silver Linings Playbook," as Jennifer Lawrence's sister, along with Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro.
   She's been in, and done a whole bunch of other things as well. She's a busy lady!
   And still going strong.
   She is a reformed vegan, but began eating meat again after she lost all of her blood iron. Just like me... when I was six months old.
   She likes the New York Mets, a lot. They like her too, and asked her to throw out the first pitch at Shea Stadium during the Memorial Day game between the Mets and the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 29, 2006. After a 39-minute rain delay, dressed with a Mets cap, she finally did it.
   "I was gonna throw the first pitch at a Mets game, but there was a rain delay. So I'm waiting for it to stop, and the team's manager, Willie Randolph, comes by. Now he's already intimidating to begin with. But he comes over to me and says, 'If you screw this up, they will boo you.' And I said 'Thanks.'"
   As far as her love life goes, no one knows anything about it. She may still be a virgin for all we know. She's never married, has no kids, and may or may not have dated. Who knows? I certainly don't.
   Wait a sec. While searching for photos I've discovered that Julia broke up her "Dexter," co-star, Michael C. Hall's  2 year marriage.
   In any case all of us here at Joyce's Take really like her a lot (I'm single Julia!), and wish her continued good health and fortune, and success in anything she may choose to do, and of course a very happy birthday!
   Happy birthday Julia!  

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