OK! (UK) – 2003
February 4, 2003 (issue #352)
AMY ACKER REVEALS ALL ABOUT WORKING WITH LEONARDO AND HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT
Life is looking good for Amy Acker. The rising star appears with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks in the current smash hit film Catch Me If You Can, directed by the great Steven Spielberg. And, since 2001, she’s been starring as Winifred ‘Fred’ Burkle with David Boreanaz in Angel, the sci-fi spin-off of the cult hit Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Amy’s personal life is also looking rosy. The 26-year-old Dallas-born actress is about to move into her dream home and she’s getting hitched in April. Amy spoke to OK! about working with Leo, the party scene in Los Angeles and the terrifying ordeal of being bitten by a spider…
What are you up to, Amy?
[Laughs.] Not much, I just woke up! My fiancé and I are moving into a new house just down the street from the apartment we live in now. It’s a tiny house but it’s our dream home.
Who’s the lucky guy?
His name is James Carpinello. We got engaged in July and we’re getting married in April. It’ll be a small wedding at a winery in northern California. We were introduced through our best friends. I saw him on Broadway and he’s very talented, he’s very funny and very, very cute.
Do you like Los Angeles?
Yes, there’s not much to dislike about it. Although I’m not really into the LA ‘scene’ – I don’t go to cool bars or premieres. Everyone is an actor and everyone talks about acting, which can be a bit overwhelming. Star spotting is fun, sure. The other day I saw the wrestler Hulk Hogan at the airport – he was huge.
Did you enjoy the OK! shoot?
I loved it! My sister came along and helped me choose what to wear. It was fun to be a model for the day. I used to model in Tokyo when I was a teenager so I hadn’t actually done it in a while.
Tell us about your new film, Catch Me If You Can…
It’s a great movie and I play an air stewardess. Leonardo’s character [a con man based on a real person] goes along to Miami University to pick eight girls to be fake stewardesses who will help him sneak through airport security. It’s a really funny scene.
Was it intimidating meeting Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg?
Yes, it was nerve-wracking. I mean… he’s Leo! But he was very charming and ran the room. I walked into a room to play an improvised scene. Leo and Steven were there. They said ‘Hi, I’m Leo’ and ‘Hi, I’m Steven’. They asked questions which we had to answer on the spot. Steven hid behind the camera but I could hear him laughing every now and then. I didn’t meet Tom Hanks, which was a shame. Those guys loved making the movie and they’re very passionate about it.
Had you always wanted to be an actress since childhood?
No, I wanted to be a ballerina – I studied ballet for 14 years. But after knee surgery I took a theatre class instead and decided that I liked acting.
Why did you need to have knee surgery?
When I was seven, I was bitten on my knee by a spider in my backyard which paralysed me from the neck down. I’m in the Medical Journal as I’m the only person in the world to have this injury! I didn’t even feel the bite. My knee swelled, then I couldn’t move my leg so I went to hospital. By the time we got there I couldn’t move any part of my body. It was pretty scary. It was during the Christmas holidays so my dad had to open all my Christmas presents for me. The feeling came back suddenly after two weeks. I try to avoid spiders now. Maybe I’m like Spider-Man and have spider powers that will come out later!
What’s the situation with Angel?
We had a break over Christmas and we’re back shooting now. This is the last year of Buffy… but we’re hoping they’ll let us go on with Angel for another year. There are more stories that we can tell. I love doing Angel because anything can happen.
Do you enjoy the stunts and the fight scenes you do in the show?
Yes. At college I took a year of fighting classes – hand-to-hand combat plus rapier, dagger and quarterstaff lessons. I have a certificate from the National Fighting League, so I’m a certified fighter! I enjoy it when it’s choreographed but I wouldn’t enjoy it in real life. If someone threw a sword at me in real life, I’d probably freak out. I wouldn’t defend myself because they might come back at me and then I’d be in trouble.
You seem far too sweet and gentle to be such a fighter!
I’m not that tough at all, but I can pretend I am. I’m always the one who gets hurt when we’re shooting Angel. In my first-ever scene on my first day on the show I flew off a horse. David [Boreanaz] grabbed me and fell on top of me.
Is is true that your parents organise Angel parties?
Yes – they invite friends round, cook dinner and watch the show on a big-screen TV. Now they’re all hooked on Angel and would probably watch it even if I wasn’t in it. I’ve never sat and watched it with them – that would be too embarrassing.
Have they seen you in Catch Me If You Can?
Yes, on Christmas Day we all went to see it together. The cinema was packed and when I came on screen they screamed: ‘There she is!’ It was a little embarrassing.
We also understand you’re a keen golfer…
I don’t know about keen, but I’m learning to play. Everyone in my family plays golf except me. I worked on a movie in Arizona where I was pretty much the only girl on set and all the guys would go off to play golf. Then I met James and he plays golf, so I decided it was about time to start learning.
Are you any good?
[Laughs.] I’m horrible at golf! It’s pretty stressful if you’re missing putts and hitting the ball all over the place but I suppose it’s nice to be outside. I don’t mind that I’m bad at it, I still enjoy myself.
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