Blake Lively enters new phase of film career with The Age Of Adaline
Blake Lively walked into the room at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills at the The Age Of Adaline press junket earlier this month and asked for a cup of coffee.
She explained that she barely slept since she was nursing her four-month-old daughter James. "My battery is going to run out in two seconds."
Sleep deprivation did not stop her from keeping with her fashion icon image. The 27-year-old US actress was immaculate in a Marc Jacobs shirt, Roksanda skirt, Stuart Weitzman shoes and Lorraine Schwartz, Ofira and Jennifer Meyer jewels.
Lively had a lot to talk about: the new baby with Canadian actor-husband Ryan Reynolds and the new film that she headlines.
Perhaps it was fate that Lively, born to an actor father and talent scout mother on the morning of Aug 25, 1987, would end up a movie star.
Best known for playing Upper East Side It girl Serena van der Woodsen in the teen drama series Gossip Girl, she also had supporting parts in various genres on the big screen, from The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants to Green Lantern.
In her first feature film lead role in The Age Of Adaline, which opens here tomorrow, she plays the titular character born in the Edwardian era who stops ageing and remains 29 years old through the next eight decades.
She is always on the run as she is afraid of being turned into a science experiment and the only person who knows her secret is her daughter (Ellen Burstyn).
Her solitary life doesn't allow for relationships until a chance encounter with philanthropist Ellis Jones (Michiel Huisman) forces a collision with her past and her life is threatened as she falls in love with him.
WHAT WAS IT ABOUT THIS STORY THAT APPEALED TO YOU?
I took about a year off after Gossip Girl because I didn't feel good at it anymore. Doing 27 episodes a year, shooting 10 months a year for 16 to 18 hours a day... I wasn't proud of my craft. I wanted to reboot.
There was never a script I read and I thought I couldn't be in it.
Within the first six months of that break, Adaline was sent to me. But I didn't read it for four months because I thought, "Oh, it just sounds like The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008) but with a female."
When I finally read it, I was so moved by the story and thought I had to do this movie.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE 29 FOREVER?
No. At first I thought, "Wow, to be able to be young in each of these decades, what a gift to be at the prime of your life."
But as the story progresses, I realise that she's actually trapped because without love, time is meaningless. Looking at her personal life, how she sees her daughter in her 80s and about to pass on while Adaline is still in her 20s - that's incredibly heartbreaking.
What I was drawn to in this film is the love story between mother and daughter.
YOU WERE PREGNANT DURING THE SHOOT. HOW DID YOU HANDLE THAT?
I was sick my entire pregnancy, so that was a little tricky. I was most nauseous when we had to do all the car wreck stuff, when the car crashes and being in the water.
I didn't tell anyone I was pregnant for months. So I called my sister and she came up with me, helping me pretend to everyone that I had the flu. It's nice to have that sort of family support.
HOW DID YOU KNOW REYNOLDS WAS THE ONE FOR YOU?
(Deadpans) I'm still not sure, but we'll see.
Ryan, he's my best friend. I just knew that I could be best friends with him for the rest of my life, whether there was chemistry or not. I didn't even know when I decided that we would be together. Even before we first kissed, it was like, "I could be your best friend forever and you could be mine." That was it.
HOW DOES HE HELP WITH THE BABY?
We're doing it together very, very much. Now we're both back to work, we have family and people coming to help us out.
In the beginning, we thought, everyone else raises their babies on their own. We can do this.
But very quickly, we called my mum and said, "Please come back. This is so hard." She saved the day.
We're not great at it. When the baby's hysterical and we don't know what to do, we sometimes just burst out laughing because we think, "Wow! This is actually a really miserable moment, but we're still happy - because we have this baby. And so we do feel really, really fortunate and totally lost.
WHY DID YOU NAME YOUR DAUGHTER JAMES?
We didn't want to name our kid some obnoxious Hollywood name. And we didn't know if it was a boy or a girl. She didn't have a name for a few weeks actually because we thought, there's a lot of pressure in naming your child. You don't even know this person yet.
I mean, imagine meeting a stranger and you have to name her and she has to live with that forever. So we waited a while. And we were debating between a few different names.
She was not going to be James if she was a boy. But we just loved it. And it was a family name on both of our sides. And I had a boy's name growing up and I really liked that.
HOW HAS YOUR FAMILY INFLUENCED YOU?
We were raised to always choose happiness. My mum leaves voicemails on my phone like, "My life is a bowl of cherries. Woo-hoo-hoo." Sometimes she sings. She always chooses to see the bright side. And that was instilled in us at a young age.
I come from a big, warm, amazing family. They're all actors. But no matter how much fame they experienced, it was never a lifestyle for them. It was always their job. And family was always the most important thing in our life.
I'm incredibly fortunate. I live a very blessed life.
Life after Gossip Girl
Blake Lively isn't the only Gossip Girl alumnus to go from small to big screen.
Penn Badgley - Cymbeline (2014)
Leighton Meester - The Judge (2014)
Ed Westwick - Romeo And Juliet (2013)
Matthew Settle - The Faith Of Anna Waters (2015)
Kristen Bell - Frozen (2013)
Sebastian Stan - Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Kevin Zegers - The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (2013)