Why Did Elisabeth Shue Join Piranha 3-D?
08.18.10 by Ryan
Elisabeth Shue's career has had an interesting trajectory, starting way back in 1984 when audiences (and Ralph Macchio) fell in love with the actress in The Karate Kid. After finding continued success by taking over the role of Michael J. Fox's girlfriend in Back to the Future II and III, Shue landed an Oscar nomination for 1995's Leaving Las Vegas. Instead of appearing in any and every movie she could, Shue prefers to make one a year. "I don't work that often to be honest," Shue told The Independent. "It sort of comes down to really a film a year and then an odd thing here or there that only lasts a few days."
Shue's latest effort, Piranha 3-D, seems like a change in direction, straying from the more independent movies she's been appearing in of late. Shue admits that it was Piranha 3D director Alexandre Aja that convinced her to accept the role of Sheriff Julie Forester in the upcoming movie.
I met with Alex and he convinced me to do it. At the end of our meeting he told me, "you must go on an adventure." How could I say "no?"
Part of that adventure is reuniting with Back to the Future's Christopher Lloyd.
It was funny to find ourselves both working on this film because I did have concerns, of course, and just the title was daunting. I don't think I would have ever taken the leap of faith if it wasn't for Alex because I felt like with him I was protected on an artistic level. I knew what kind of film it was going to be. I knew it was not going to be an art-house film on any level but I trusted his vision that it was going to be something that would be loud and colorful and fun and over-the-top and, yes, gory, but it would still have an emotional color to it.
Shue found that she "had a tough job" in front of her since her character "had to sort of provide the reality" in a genre movie that sees a lakeside town besieged by prehistoric piranha.
My main concern was that people would at least follow the reality and not laugh at our story. And I haven't seen the whole film yet but everyone tells me that it actually works; that you can go with the broader moments and enjoy the gore and screaming and the fun of it and yet you still can follow the characters on an emotional level enough to care whether they live or die and actually be afraid for them. We'll see. That's definitely going to be a tenuous balance.
Shue admitted that finding "an emotional level" wasn't the only challenge of Piranha 3D. Shue says that she also struggled to find her "sense of authority," even after putting on her sheriff outfit.
...I have to say on the first day of shooting, when I put on my boots and my badge and my gun and my polyester outfit and I walked on to the set, I felt very absurd!