Exclusive: Sydney Tamiia Poitier on Critics, Grindhouse, and the Final Frontier

See, hot chicks read reviews, too!

by | August 1, 2007 | Comments

We caught up with Grindhouse‘s Jungle Julia at Comic-Con. You’ll never guess which movie site she checks all the time! Find out how Sydney Tamiia Poitier coped with Quentin Tarantino and what J.J. Abrams flick we just might see her in (hint: we hope she lives long and prospers).

Poitier was at Comic-Con to promote the upcoming Grindhouse DVD releases — Tarantino‘s Death Proof on September 18, Robert Rodriguez‘s Planet Terror on October 16 — and told Rotten Tomatoes that she loves movies, reads reviews, and even has a favorite scribe.

“My absolute favorite [critic] is A.O. Scott,” she said. (Hear that, Tony?) “But I also like to check what Variety said, Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone. The usual big ones.”

It’s no secret that the Weinstein Co.’s big Grindhouse gamble didn’t pay off. Screening Tarantino and Rodriguez’s films together with three fake trailers — for a sum total of three hours, eleven minutes — proved to be a doubleheader experience that only die-hard fans would buy tickets to see. But, as Poitier (and anyone who reads RT) knows, the critical response was undeniably positive.

“Critics loved it and I don’t know why it didn’t work out that way in the public,” she mused. “I think Easter weekend wasn’t the best idea because in the middle of the country is where it really suffered the most and it wasn’t exactly an Easter weekend movie. I think that really hurt it ultimately and I guess people were a little confused about the double feature and how long it was. I’m not really sure what happened but I hope when the DVD comes out people go and see it because they’re both two great movies.”

Poitier also talked about dealing with Tarantino’s notorious penchant for dialogue — always challenging for actors, especially considering that as Jungle Julia, Austin’s hottest DJ in Death Proof, Poitier had some of the film’s densest lines.

“You know what, under normal circumstances it would have been difficult but it wasn’t because his dialogue is written, in my opinion, so well that it just comes easily,” she said. “I can have the same length of a monologue that someone else wrote and it will take me days. I’ll constantly be tripping over lines. But with Quentin, I started going over with the other two girls during rehearsal we’d gather in a hotel room and start reading it and within 10 minutes we had it without being on the page. It just flows so easily and it’s so natural, that it’s just easy.”

Since she spent most of her Comic-Con time meeting fans on the exhibition floor, Poitier was a little curious about one ongoing panel in particular.

“Did they announce the cast of Star Trek?” she asked. The Paramount panel was underway at the moment, where J.J. Abrams would announce the casting of both Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy as Spock. “I auditioned for it and I’m curious who got what roles in there.”

Sydney, we’re rooting for ya!

Look for the two separate 2-disk Grindhouse DVD releases in the coming months; word has it Best Buy will feature a limited run 3-disk version. Check out more of our Comic-Con coverage here, and head here for our survey of Grindhouse cinema!

With additional reporting by Henry Ham