Did you have anything to relieve the stress?
Well there wasn't a whole lot of time. I would take vocal lessons in the morning, autoharp lessons in the afternoon, we'd have a little bit of lunch and then for the rest of the afternoon we'd record for four or five hours. I'd just had a baby as well, by the way, which was probably why I was a little cuckoo. I'd have to go home and take care of the kids, which meant it was a busy time.
Has the experience of singing made you want to consider doing more? Will the DVD feature the complete songs you sing?
Yeah, on the DVD they're going to put the complete versions of all the songs because when we were there we performed the whole song, all the way through, multiple times.
After the movie came out, I started to get calls from country music record labels saying, "Do you want to make a record?" But no, I don't. I have no desire to do that again partly because the performance element was so challenging for me. I could do it in a tiny little recording studio but then when we had to go out in front of thousands of extras, you walk on stage and they wait for you to do something to entertain them. That was awful and terrifying. But I'd love to do a musical, either in film or on stage. That would be a great challenge for me.
Does being a mother influence the kind of roles you take?
Well I had my kids so young that I kind of feel that I'm a kid too and am growing up with them. The things they're interested in tend to really influence me. My daughter will talk about certain things that she really enjoys and I'll start to think, "That's a good idea," or characters she likes will inspire me to go out and try and get the rights to the book. So I basically use my children for my own personal gain!
I think movies are great and I have a great time making them, but they're not what keeps you warm at night, or what's ultimately the most important thing in anyone's life journey. I feel very blessed to have two wonderful, healthy children who keep me completely grounded, sane and throw up on my shoes just before I go to an awards show, just so I know to keep it real.
When do you start to plan what you're going to wear on Oscar night?
I don't know, I don't know. It's funny that it all becomes about clothes. It's bizarre. You work your butt off and then you win an award and it's all about your dress. You can't get away from it. I wish it wasn't such a big focus of everything. It should be fun and frivolous, interesting and easy. But a lot of people seem to spend too much time worrying about it.
Where were you when the Oscar nominations were announced?
I was in Berlin and, because I was jet-lagged, I had fallen asleep on some couch somewhere. My publicist came in screaming and I thought it was my daughter. But when they woke me up and told me I was very excited. I called my mother and my husband [Ryan Phillippe]. But it's exciting for him, too, because the film he was in, Crash, also got nominated.
How much do you want to win?
Well I think every actor there wants to win, otherwise what's the point? But listen, I'm 29-years-old, I'm really lucky to be there and whatever happens I've been really blessed already. I have plenty of awards for this movie and if this was it for me I'd be really content.
Where do you keep them all?
My daughter sneaks them off to her room and dresses them up. She's unphased by the whole thing. When I come home she says, "Well, did you get it or not? Well, where is it? Are you going to take it to my room?"
How do you and Ryan balance the breadwinning roles in your family?
Well, Ryan has been the breadwinner all year this year. He's been working like crazy. He's the star of Clint Eastwood's new film about the men who raised the flag at Iwo Jima, and he's about to make a film about Robert Hanson. We just have a really great relationship. We have the business in perspective, because it's important to realise that you go up and down and, particularly as a woman, your career starts a lot earlier than it does with a man. I suspect he'll be around a lot longer than I will, so I'm trying to make the most of it while I'm here.
DOECHESTER, LONDON, 1.FEB.06
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