Blake Lively didn’t want to be an actress. The star of the CW’s hit show “Gossip Girl” chatted with her co-star and director Ben Affleck about acting and her gritty role in the upcoming bank heist thriller, “The Town,” for Interview Magazine’s September issue.
Though the 23-year-old hails from a showbiz family (her father, Ernie, is a character actor; her mother, Elaine, is a talent manager; and her four older siblings are all current or former actors), Blake told Ben that she initially had no desire to join the family business.
“He [Blake’s brother, Eric] talked me into going to this audition,” Blake said. “I just did the first one to be nice because he was always so great to me, but then I ended up going to a few more auditions… after a few auditions I got ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,’ which was my first job.”
The ingenue says that when she first began acting, she was more concerned with the technical aspects of filming, and didn’t yet understand acting “as a craft.”
“It was great to have my first opportunity be such a big role, but also not great because all of the mistakes I made, “ she said of her “Traveling Pants” experience. “The entire learning process was on the big screen for everyone to see.”
Blake’s latest role as Ben’s troubled on screen ex-girlfriend, Krista – a 29-year-old single mother from the projects who deals drugs to make ends meet – required major preparation, including learning to speak with a lower-class Boston accent. The actress ditched her dialect coach, and turned instead to her Bostonian friend and “Gossip Girl” hairdresser for firsthand training.
“I sat with [her] family and had them say things to me over and over,” Blake said. “I was so embarrassed, but I heard what I needed to hear.”
As her director, Ben was impressed by Blake’s poise and dedication to her character research.
“You spent a lot of time with some of these girls from the real projects who showed you around and showed you their lives,” Ben said. “You got into a whole world that I imagine is very different… from what you experienced on ‘Traveling Pants.’ Were you nervous?” he asked.
“These girls were so kind to me,” Blake answered. “They weren’t excited about me being on ‘Gossip Girl’ – they couldn’t have cared less. They’re hard as nails, but in a really wonderful way.”
Blake said her “Town” character – a radical departure from the “Gossip Girl” world of Upper East Side fashionistas – could be considered either a good person or bad person, depending on how you approach it.
“I just don’t believe that things are that simple in life,” she explained. “I think certain people are the way they are for certain reason that we can’t necessarily judge without knowing. The accent you can always work on, but it was the heart of the character that I felt like I had to capture.”
Catch Ben and Blake in “The Town” when it hits theaters on September 10.