Last year at this time, the Aussie import was seducing Daniel Radcliffe (perhaps better known as Harry Potter) in December Boys. This year, Teresa Palmer stars alongside Adam Sandler in the holiday release Bedtime Stories. Recently, ReelzChannel sat down with the star to talk about working with Adam Sandler, her role in the upcoming Young Americans -- and to try to get some details about her involvement in Justice League.
RC: You did a great job in Bedtime Stories. It could have been a very flighty, typical throw-away role, but you really added some meat to it. I'm curious. Did you base it on anything?
Palmer: Anyone in particular? She's a little similar to a certain heiress we all know. No. She was originally written to be sort of that flighty, floozy kind of character. You know, she likes to go into bars, and have fun with boys, and all that sort of stuff. But when I initially auditioned for it they said, "You're not right for the part. You're not Paris Hilton enough."
RC: What does that mean, not Paris Hilton enough?
Palmer: I don't know. I don't know if it was a backhanded compliment. I couldn't quite figure it out. But I ended up getting a call a couple of weeks later and they said, "You know what? Adam Sandler wants to meet you in his office and talk about the film." So I sat down, and I was obviously incredibly nervous...
RC: Yeah, because when you hear Adam Sandler...
Palmer: Oh, my gosh! Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore.
RC: Were you a huge fan?
Palmer: Huge fan, such a huge fan! And to meet him, let alone to do a film with him, is such a blessing and so incredible. So I sat down with him and he was like, "You know what? It wasn't how it was written but I liked what you did. So come do the movie with us."
RC: So what did you do? Do you even remember what you did?
Palmer: I don't even remember what I did differently from the script. I just knew that the Paris Hilton character had been done before -- a friend of mine, Anna Faris (who I did a film with, Young Americans) had done that so brilliantly in Just Friends that I thought, "You know, I want to try something different. Put a different spin to it." And hopefully it worked, hopefully I did that. But I want people to feel sorry for her as well, and I wanted her to be likable, too.
RC: Well, she was likable in, like you said, in a sort of a backwards way because she's not supposed to be likable...
Palmer: She, wasn't meant to be, yeah...
RC: You got to do some of the stunts. You are in a lot of fantasy sequences with Adam. In one of those sequences, you are this damsel in distress...
Palmer: Getting attacked by the bandits.
RC: Exactly. So tell me a little bit about that horse riding scene, which seems like it would be pretty intimidating.
Palmer: It was. They had about four different horses all painted in red, and they said, "Adam's going to run up, gallop up on his horse, and then you have to grab a hold of his hand and be swung up onto the back of it." And I was just thinking it would be a normal-sized horse. But they brought out the biggest possible horse you can imagine, and I had to stretch my leg from the ground up onto this horse. I was like, "I'm not a gymnast. I'm not going to be able to do this." But I gave a go at it. Each time I'd get three-quarters of the way up and Adam and I would both end up falling over. So I kept on trying. I really wanted to do it but I couldn't. So they had to put a harness on me and pick me up by this machine -- literally swing me right on the back. So that was really fun, as well. It was kind of like flying for a second.
RC: So when we watch the movie, we should be looking for the rigs?
Palmer: NO. Because they obviously edited it all out because I had wires coming down. I felt like a real stuntwoman, but it was cool.
RC: You also get to drive a pretty sweet ride.
Palmer: That was so much harder than it looks, by the way. We got it in some of the outtakes. I could not get that. I think it was a Porsche or a Lamborghini. I couldn't turn it on at all. I kept on trying, and there were like all these people coming around saying, "OK. Do this first. Press this button. Then you're going to move this." And I just couldn't figure it out. I think it was on the eleventh take I finally turned on the lights, put on the seatbelt, pressed the button, vroom, and I ended up flying really, really quickly. And there's people 50 meters down the road saying, "Stop! Stop the car!" I'm about to run into it. Yeah, that was really difficult.
RC: It's fun to laugh at these situations now because the movie's out, and it looks great, and you're done with it. But when you're in that situation -- and this is a big Hollywood movie for you -- and you try to start the car and it doesn't start, are you thinking, "Oh my god, I'm fired!"?
Palmer: Oh yeah, all the time. By the way, I made a point of not celebrating the movie until the very, very last day.... The industry is very unpredictable and you never know. It doesn't mean that if you get cast in a movie that you're going to be a star in the film and end up doing it the whole way through. There were many different moments in the film where I'd get stressed out if something wasn't quite going the way I wanted it to. You always have to remind yourself that you are at work. There's so much pressure and stress. Yes, it looks so glamorous. But it's also incredibly hard work, too. But yeah, now that it's over, right, it feels good.
RC: Did you get to take any of the millions of gumballs home?
Palmer: No, I wasn't in that scene. I didn't get to be there when they filmed that. I really wanted -- what did I get to keep -- I got to keep some boots that they gave me from the wardrobe. They're awesome Ozzy Ugg boots and I really love them.
RC: Aren't those from Australia?
Palmer: I know they're really good ones. They're sort of skinny-leg ones and so I was into that.... Apart from that, I get to wear all these designer gowns and, of course, you want to take them home with you. But they don't let you do that.
RC: You've done The Grudge 2 and December Boys and Young Americans. Where does comedy rank for you? Is it more difficult for you, or is it the most natural with your personality?
Palmer: I think I'm sort of a bubbly person, and I find it a little easier to play these comedic characters. It's a lot of fun, and you're always laughing on set, and the atmosphere is very lighthearted. But then on the flip side, I love to challenge myself by doing dramatic roles, too. My first film that I ever did was 2:37 and I played a rape victim who was pregnant with my brother's baby, which was a little challenging. I know, a little different. But I also like getting into the nitty gritty roles like that. I think I'm drawn to dark material. But it was so much fun doing a comedy. The last two films I've done have both been comedies, and that's nice 'cause you just have fun on set. I had four months of laughing around with Adam Sandler.
RC: Adam is a funny guy and he's really nice, but what surprises many people is how serious he is. Is that the way he is, working with him?
Palmer: Absolutely. Yeah, I thought that he was going to be goofy 100 percent of the time and really loud. But you notice that he is such a business man. He's a genius to have done what he's done, to have created this empire. He's really, really calculated and serious. He's a producer on the film, but he also like directs you.... There's a scene in the movie where I get this guinea pig Bugsy because of his big eyes and I wipe Bugsy's bottom on my face -- and it wasn't in the script, he was like, "Do you mind grabbing this little guinea pig, wiping it around your face, making it a joke?" I was like why not give it a go...
RC: He is Adam Sandler, you may as well listen to him...
Palmer: Exactly. But he is serious, and he's so great and open and giving. He's a family man, and he had little Sadie on set everyday and his wife, Jackie. You know, he's just lovely. He's a delight.
RC: What has been the biggest challenge for you in moving from Australia to Hollywood and making the transition into the acting world?
Palmer: The first time I came out to America was 2006. I had never been to Los Angeles before. I had just heard about it -- I was that little girl that always wanted to come to LA and go to Disneyland. And here I was coming to Hollywood to audition for these American movies. It was sort of like a dream come true -- sort of that pinch yourself feeling, "Oh my gosh! This is a reality!" That sort of stayed with me for a few months I was out here. Now I've sort of settled back into it, and I really do feel as if Los Angeles is my home now. I haven't quite made the official move here. I'm still going back and forth, and I have my animals back home -- I've got four dogs back home -- and my friends and my family. But I think the main thing is just home sickness. That's really tough to deal with. But I have my good group of friends out here. I'm feeling a little better.
RC: Have you met any of your fellow Aussies, Nicole Kidman or Hugh Jackman?
Palmer: I put the feelers out and make these Australian connections. No, I did meet Nicole Kidman. I met her in Sydney. She was filming Australia and I was at Fox Studios. I met her -- I like walked up to her, and I was a little starstruck, and I introduced myself, and just said I was a big fan. We both have the same publicist, so we connected on that level. She was just lovely, and really endearing, and offered me some words of wisdom.
RC: And what were they?
Palmer: She told me to be picky. She was like, "Oh, you do one big film. Don't get too carried away. Take your time. Be selective with the roles that you take." And she said, "Your career's defined by the things you say no to." Which is really interesting, and I'm really trying to do that at the moment.
RC: One of the things that you did say no to -- you said you grew up wanting to be in this chair, interviewing people.
Palmer: Yes, I did. I always did.
RC: Which is remarkable...
Palmer: I always wanted to be a TV presenter. There's a show back home called Getaway, which is all these beautiful girls, and they go to all these incredible places around the world, and they report from these places. They get to go on holidays, and also get to be a TV presenter. So I thought it looked like glamorous work, and I started studying journalism to try to get into that area. But it was maybe three or four months into the journalism that I got a call -- this director said, "I want you to be in my movie." It kind of went from there. I've been in whirlwind ever since, and I never got to doing journalism.
RC: You can always do both.
Palmer: I could always do both, yeah. I would totally like to go back to Australia and host some TV show. I think that would be fun.
RC: If you see Nicole Kidman again what would you ask her?
Palmer: I would just love to ask her how she balances things. I know her life is so busy, and she seems so unaffected by her fame and success. I think that's really refreshing and inspiring. I'd just say, "What's your secret? Tell me." I think there's so many actresses out here who really want to maintain a relatively normal life, as much as they can, but also live this extraordinary life of filming these big movies. I think it's hard to strike a balance between the two, so I'd probably ask her that.
RC: What do you have coming up?
Palmer: Well, I have another film coming out, another comedy set in the 1980s. It's called Young Americans with Topher Grace and Anna Faris. I believe it's coming out in the spring, which is really exciting. And then I think I may be doing this other movie, which I can't talk about just yet because it's not official.
RC: Whenever we ask that question, we always get, "We can't talk about it."
Palmer: I know 'cause we sign these confidentiality agreements. And so I'm not allowed to say anything, but and it sucks because I'm so excited. But I know I have to keep my mouth shut about it.
RC: It's an American movie?
Palmer: It's an American movie.
RC: Big movie or small movie?
Palmer: Big movie, so yeah, you'll just have to wait and see.
RC: Is there a big star we should know about that's in it?
Palmer: Maybe, but I can't say. Not allowed.
RC: For Young Americans, do you get to wear the big '80s hair?
Palmer: Oh, it's huge. I have this crazy wig on, and it's like sky high, and I have blue eye shadow painted on my eyebrows. It was cool... I was born in 1986 so I didn't really get to experience the whole '80s culture. I get to experience it for the first time, and we have all the great '80s songs. We have "Don't Stop Believing" and "Video Killed the Radio Star."
RC: Do you get to dance?
Palmer: Oh, yeah. I bust out all my '80s moves.
RC: What's your favorite movie?
Palmer: Hi, I'm Teresa Palmer and my favorite movie of all time is A Little Princess by Alfonso Cuaron. I just love it because I always wanted to be a little princess. It's just a sweet film, so you've got to go see it.