There’s a sex scene in “The Heartbreak Kid” so outrageously ribald — in a very good way — it’s no wonder it took an actress from Sweden to pull it off with such unflinching ease.
“There’s a bit more (prudishness) here, so far as nudity goes,” says Stockholm-born, Toronto-reared Malin Akerman, wrinkling her nose at the American notion of what’s acceptable onscreen. “Over in Sweden, breasts are very natural. You show boobs on television; you don’t show mass killings. As far as boobs go, I don’t really see an issue.”
It’s kismet then that the Farrelly brothers found Akerman while scouting for fresh talent when crafting the bawdy remake of the 1973 Neil Simon comedy classic.
“Since the day I got this script, I was so excited about the role,” says Akerman of Lila, the pussycat-soft yet psycho-girl shiksa goddess to Ben Stiller’s Edward, a 40-year-old bachelor who caves to parental pressure from his potty-mouthed father (Jerry Stiller) to get hitched. “It was one of those roles that usually the guys get to play. Finally, a girl gets to do this crazy, nasty role, and I was like, ‘I have to get this role.’ ”
As lensing commenced, castmates hinted at the role’s potential impact on Akerman’s ascending celebrity.
“People started going, ‘You realize that this is one of those roles that is really going to have an effect, because it is a pretty girl, but one not who really cares about any kind of exterior view.’ And it’s sort of just hitting me now the reactions that people are having to it.”
Akerman, also lead singer of alternative rock band the Petalstones, was a psych student at Toronto’s York U. when she booked a national Noxema ad. Following came parts in the sci-fi series “Earth: Final Conflict” and the cult pothead pic “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.” But it was a recurring stint opposite Lisa Kudrow on the HBO series “The Comeback” that put Akerman on the map.
“That was the coolest experience of my life,” she gushes. “Lisa Kudrow is my idol.”
Up next for Akerman are a supporting turn as Katherine Heigl’s spoiled kid sis in the romantic comedy “27 Dresses” and a title role in Zack Snyder’s 2009 superhero pic “Watchmen.” She’s also the lead in indie “Heavy Petting.”
“The character is very far from anything I’ve done before,” explains Akerman. “It’s definitely not comedy. She’s the one who psychologically leads you through the film, which I really love. The more I read the script, the more excited I am.”
AN ACTOR SHOULD ALWAYS: “Be prepared. As far as going in on auditions or for any kind of role when you’re filming, you always need to be.”
I’M INSPIRED BY: “Other actors and actresses. I’m inspired by the greats. I think Cate Blanchett is phenomenal, and I’m a big fan of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. Anthony Hopkins I would die to work with.”
FAVORITE FILM CHARACTER: “Edward Norton’s role as Aaron Stampler in ‘Primal Fear.’ He was spectacular. … I would’ve loved to have done that role!”