Pulp Fiction star Uma Thurman, 40, cameos in director Chris Columbus’ flick Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, out on DVD and Blu-ray now. Playing Medusa in Jackson, the actress and mother to Maya, 12, and Levon, 9, explains why this movie holds special meaning for her and Maya.
Describe your look as Medusa?
I wear a long black leather sort of jacket slash cape and pants. I looked pretty ghastly when they cut my head off. It’s actually a rather scary sight.What stands out about the character of Medusa?
It is interesting because she’s a woman who has been punished for her own rape. This has nothing to do with the film, but on a greater level her story looks at the crimes perpetrated against women so she is very relevant.It must be great as a mother to be making a family film?
It is. My son has still not forgiven me for not doing the voice of the queen bee in Bee Movie. But they are happy I am doing this and it is good to be part of a project that might mean something to them once and a while because otherwise my work is just an interference with their otherwise warm lives. My son is rather excited about this film.The film has an interesting take on learning disabilities. What do you think of the theme of a boy who becomes a very unlikely hero?
I think it is great because I have a daughter who’s dyslexic and I was dyslexic myself. And as many times as people say, “You have other gifts. For every problem God gives you, he gives you a problem solving skill”, it is always difficult. This is a very empowering idea for children and is a subject very close to me.It must have been hard for you?
It was. I was born in 1970 and when I grew up there wasn’t a lot of understanding about being dyslexic. You were just considered stupid and the frustration and pain of hearing, listening, knowing, feeling and getting it but not being able to do it the way others are doing it and being labelled stupid can give you a pretty serious complex which follows you all the way through your education. It is a wonderful thing today that it’s recognised much earlier.Hopefully the film is going to be very inspiring to kids everywhere.
I do hope so. I really do.Why were you so keen to work with Chris Columbus?
He’s a real visionary and his imagination is extraordinary. The way he worked with the young kids was absolutely compelling, beautiful and inspiring, and the way he treated me was fantastic. He is one of the kindest directors I have ever worked with by far, and I would do anything with him again.Columbus has talked about your unearthly beauty. How important do you thinks looks are?
I am just like anybody else. After 30-something films, having played the gamut from ugly to beautiful, to me it is just kind of like paint. I paint myself whatever colour I need to be for the role. Also, I have a damn good sense of humour so personally I think that is my most attractive quality.Columbus believes Logan Lerman, who plays Percy, is very special. What are your observations?
I thought Logan was wonderful. He’s calm and diligent and he works really hard. When I came in very early on to do a little prep work, he was there fiercely doing his sword work. He is an example of a wonderful new trend that is taking place just now among young actors who are approaching things in a serious way. This seems to go in phases. I came up as a young actress after the phase of cool teen films. I worked with older people and tried to train to be a classically adept actor.Who inspires you?
All the grown-ups: Sissy Spacek, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep and the super grown-ups, Bette Davis and the Hepburns. But you know, in a way I was fortunate because I wasn’t coming up at a time when to be cute and funny and smiling was going to get me where I wanted to go, or get me to be what I wanted to be.Is it liberating for you doing a cameo rather than a lead role?
It is. Absolutely. Also, as a mother I can’t just do big roles all the time because I have a busy home life. I love to do what I do and if I don’t have to stay for three months on a set, it is all the more appealing. This part was very brief, but great fun.Have you got high hopes for the decade ahead and for the world in general?
I have a lot of hopes. I think it’s been a very tough decade for the entire world and I am hoping we all have a better one.
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is available on DVD and Blu-Ray nowRELATED Movie Review: Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief