Five Favorite Films with Amy Adams

“I have so much affection for David [O. Russell],” Adams says of her sometimes-notorious director, who sought her for the role. “I’m so appreciative that he met me and he was able to see Charlene. So many times in the past a director’s been like, “Can you play tough?”, and I can’t really answer that, because if I answer politely then they’re gonna think I’m not tough, and if I answer like, “Hell yeah I can play tough!”, it doesn’t really work. David got it.”

Playing tough meant Adams was well-matched against her co-stars, who’re being touted as Oscar contenders this awards season. “What’s great about this is that, in playing Charlene, I was as tough as they were; so I was able to come to set and really feel like I was toe-to-toe, just because she’s so ballsy. I’m definitely the scrappiest,” she laughs.

More intimidating? Picking your all-time five favorite films. “It’s so hard to break it down to five,” Adams says. “For different reasons, I love all of the movies I’m about to mention.”

Gone With the Wind (1939, 97% Tomatometer)
The Wizard of Oz (1939, 100% Tomatometer)

Have you done the watching it with the Dark Side of the Moon? You should really do that, it’s very strange.[laughs]

Vertigo (1958,98% Tomatometer)

I love Alfred Hitchcock, but that was the first one that I saw. I saw it in humanities class in high school. We broke it down and had to write all these articles about it, and it stayed with me for a lot of reasons? in exploring all of the imagery that Alfred Hitchcock uses, and just the tone of the film. I always was a Jimmy Stewart fan — my fiancé is kind of very Jimmy Stewart. [laughs] He’s like the every man. I really loved him. And then of course the Hitchcock blonde; a lot of it had to do with the females in the films, so it’s no surprise that I became an actress. I was obsessed with Kim Novak; I would pull my hair back and try to tweeze my eyebrows so I could be a Hitchcock blonde. I loved it. And that was the first time I’d ever explored film intellectually, in that class, because before then I was, you know, I just went to the movies — things would move me and I wasn’t sure why. To get to sit down with my teacher and break a film down intellectually was a discovery for me. It’s still one of my favorites. It speaks to me very strongly.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994,88% Tomatometer)

Shawshank is one of those films that, every time it comes on television, I watch it — even though I own the DVD, the VHS, the Blu-ray. Every time it’s on. I can?t explain why. It’s a good script, it’s a good story; it’s a story about the human spirit and redemption… it’s beautiful. That scene when the opera plays, and everybody stops for that moment and you just hear Morgan Freeman’s voice come in, that kills me. It’s really great.

Paulie (1998, 61% Tomatometer)

If I put Casablanca on I’ll sound like AFI, right? [laughs] Here’s the thing: there are all the choices you can make that you know sound really good and then there’re the ones that you really watch, like a hundred times. Like Paulie, the film with the parrot — but if I put that on my list I’m gonna look like an idiot. [laughs] You must see Paulie! I know you think I’m crazy. I love Paulie. I have these films that my younger brother’s like, “Amy, you’re gonna love this — you have to watch this film.” He introduced me to Paulie. There’s a whole bunch of people in Paulie: there’s Gena Rowlands, Jay Mohr, Cheech; the guy from Monk, Tony Shalhoub, who’s one of my favorites. It’s such a touching story. I hope I haven’t built it up too much. [laughs]

The Fighter is in theaters this week.

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