Mainstream audiences probably know Emmanuelle Chriqui best from her starring role opposite Adam Sandler in 2008’s You Don’t Mess with the Zohan or for her work on popular TV series like Entourage and The Mentalist. But the Canadian actress has also done extensive voice work (TRON: Uprising, Thundercats) and found time to appear in smaller indie fare like A Short History of Decay, which arrives on DVD today.
In an interview with RT, Chriqui had a difficult time narrowing her favorite films down to just five. In addition to her choices below, she cited childhood favorites like Flashdance and Dirty Dancing, about which she explained, “It was at that age, really the beginning of my sexual consciousness. I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s really sexy. I want to have that happen to me one day.'” Read on for her full list and our chat about A Short History of Decay.
The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994; 91% Tomatometer)
Dead Man Walking (Tim Robbins, 1995; 93% Tomatometer)
You know, I think love the antihero a little bit. The one that you just end up going, “Come on, you can make it. You can turn yourself around.” I loved Dead Man Walking. One of [Sean Penn’s] most brilliant performances. The fact that he manages to get you, by the end, wanting him to live, even after the most heinous crimes, is jaw-dropping to me. You start hating him, and you’re like, “You’re despicable.” And then… I just find it amazing. Only Sean Penn could do that. I think he’s amazing.
I also love The Intouchables. Did you see it?
I haven’t seen that one yet, no.
You know you need to run, not walk, and go see that movie. [laughs] It is amazing. It’s a French-language film; I think they’re going to remake it. But it was also just a huge success here [in Canada]. And I love foreign films; I actually shot a French film last summer. It was really amazing; I want to shoot more French films.
Y Tu Mamá También (Alfonso Cuarón, 2001; 91% Tomatometer)
RT: We need to talk about A Short History of Decay. That’s been out for a while, but it’s coming to DVD. How did that project end up on your radar?
Emmanuelle Chriqui: Actually, they had sent it to me. They offered me the part, and Bryan Greenberg, who is a very good friend of mine… I had read the script, and I really loved it; just a real life story, something that everybody can relate to on some level. I lost both of my parents, but just the notion of having aging parents and all the things that come with it really resonated with me. Bryan and I were just like, “Should we do this?” “Hell yeah. This is so good. Let’s do this.” It’s such a little gem. I’m so proud of this movie, and I feel like the people who do see it are really taken by surprise, because it’s a real indie film. It’s super indie in the true meaning of the word, but it was such a beautiful story. I thought it was really well executed. My part sort of bookends the movie. It was like, it opens, it’s got a couple scenes in the middle, and then it ends. I was sort of the catalyst to Bryan’s character’s life change; we’re a couple, and I end up breaking up with him, and his whole world spirals out. So it’s really Bryan’s story with his parents, and Linda Lavin plays his mom. How cool is that? And Harris Yulin is so amazing, it’s insane. Such a powerful performance.
RT: So what’s coming up for you? Situation amoureuse?
EC: That already came out in France, but it will be subtitled and brought over here at some point. I wrapped the Entourage film, but that’ll be out next summer. It’s going to be fun. I don’t know what Rotten Tomatoes is going to rate it, but I’ll tell you what, people are going to love it. [laughs] And then I have the second season of my web series Cleaners that I also executive produced for Crackle. It’s coming out in August. Super fun. I play this badass assassin, so, you know, out-of-the-box for me; really cool, fun stuff.