Tough. Street smart. Foul-mouthed.
Those aren’t the first words that usually come to mind when one thinks of Amy Adams. Unless, apparently, you’re director David O. Russell, who offered the actress — known for playing wide-eyed characters, including an enchanted princess and a nun — the opportunity to play against type in the fact-based “The Fighter,” about underdog boxing champ Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg.
Adams’ pivotal role: Charlene Fleming, the working-class Boston barmaid who nurses Ward’s heart even as his body takes a beating in the ring. “There is a tougher side to me,” says Adams, “and I was grateful that David saw that.”
Russell’s only real concern was whether Adams could believably throw a punch — a necessity for a scene where Charlene fearlessly brawls with Micky’s disapproving sisters. So she logged some hours at “the Wahlberg Ring,” aka the boxing gym her co-star set up at his house for the express purpose of training for the film.
“I had so much fun and learned a lot,” says Adams, “but it wasn’t my first punch. I grew up with brothers.”
Outside of those few lessons, though, Adams laid off the workouts, per Russell’s instructions that she “look like a girl who drinks beer.” Still, she admits to being taken aback by her curvier-than-usual appearance the first time she watched the film. Seeing herself onscreen clad only in a black bra and panties, “I was like, ‘Wow, I wish I had gone ahead and worked out,” she says with a laugh.
The most vital part of Adams’ preparation, however, was meeting with a reluctant Charlene.
“She doesn’t like to be the center of attention,” says Adams. “She didn’t even want to be interviewed. Micky’s the star. Charlene is a pillar. I really got that when I spent time with her, and I wanted to get that across.”
Young actresses not looking for celeb status
Annette Bening | Sally Hawkins | Nicole Kidman | Jennifer Lawrence | Natalie Portman | Tilda Swinton
Lead actresses in the mix
Amy Adams | Helena Bonham Carter | Melissa Leo | Miranda Richardson | Jacki Weaver | Dianne Wiest
Supporting actresses in the mix