Michelle Monaghan visits Vail Film Festival | VailDaily.com

Michelle Monaghan visits Vail Film Festival

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
HL Michelle Monoghan 2 DT 4-2-09

VAIL, Colorado ” Michelle Monaghan, who visited this week’s Vail Film Festival in Vail, Colorado, starred in Mission Impossible III, Made of Honor and Eagle Eye but lately she’s been focusing on her leading lady: five-month-old daughter, Willow.

“It feels like Christmas every single morning,” the 33-year-old actress said of motherhood.

Monaghan traveled this week to Vail, where she starred in the film festival’s opening movie, “Trucker.”

Although the actress plays a hard-nosed truck driver in the film, she is smiling and friendly when she meets up for an interview outside the Arrabelle Hotel in Lionshead. Clad in a mid-length red Cloak and Dagger peacoat, striped sweater, jeans and black Ugg boats, the new mother looks as thin as, well, a willow, just five months after giving birth. Her secret?

“I started lifting weights when (Willow) was about three months and I’ve been breastfeeding,” the happy mom said. “This is honestly the first time I’ve ever watched my diet in my life, since I got pregnant and now that I’m breastfeeding. It never really occurred to me to do that. But now it’s not about me, obviously. I’m probably eating a much more balanced diet. A lot more veggies and fish.”

Glancing around Lionshead Village, which she said reminds her of a movie set, Monaghan said she looks forward to spending time here with Willow, husband Peter White and her parents, who took the baby on a gondola ride during the interview. Although fans might be looking forward to cozying up to the actress during the film festival, she joked that they should avoid her this weekend on the slopes.

“I’m going to attempt skiing,” she said. “I’m an OK skier so I figured this is probably the best place to learn how to ski or to make my skills a little bit better. I’m going to give that a whirl tomorrow, so watch out everyone.”

Off the slopes, Monaghan opened up to fans Thursday night during a question and answer session at the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa. The actress said she got a real truck driving license in order to prepare for her role in “Trucker.”

She also revealed that the movie was shot in just 19 days on a 1.5 million budget ” quite impressive stats considering the film’s complexity.

Here, Monaghan dishes on playing the “role of a lifetime.”

1. Vail Daily: Your character in “Trucker” gets reunited with her 11-year-old son, years after she left him when he was just a baby. Now that you have a baby, Is it hard for you to understand how anyone could leave her child like your character did?

Michelle Monaghan: I knew before that that was something I personally would never be able to do. I wonder now if I would be able to portray that character in the way that I did and be not judgmental and be really objective about it. Now I question that actually…(Character Diane Ford) is a very complicated person. She definitely makes choices that most people, most women wouldn’t. And it’s true to the role that she’s not really likeable initially. I knew my challenge would be giving her layers and hoping that by the end of the movie, you wouldn’t’ necessarily like her but you would understand her and that it would be an honest portrayal of an honest woman…she’s fiercely independent and I think that’s what drew me to her. She makes no apologies and she goes after what she wants. And she’s not your traditional woman. In that sense, it’s the role of a lifetime.

2. VD: How much did you have to stretch outside your real personality to play that character?

MM: I’m probably a lot like Diane in a lot of ways, you know? I’m pretty independent. I’m pretty stubborn. I don’t know, those are all elements of me…I think she’s a little more extreme than I am. My husband might disagree (laughs). You’ll have to ask him. Apparently I wasn’t that nice during the course of filming.

3. VD: The movie opens with a sex scene. Was that uncomfortable during filming?

MM: It is. It really is… I felt like I was really close to all the crew, the cast. In that sense, that makes it uncomfortable because you actually care about these people. You know them. You befriended them. It’s almost better if you just don’t know people at all. You just kind of go in there and you do it… I was very very nervous. I wasn’t looking forward to that at all. And that’s one of those things where you grin and bear it, I guess. That’s really the wrong choice of words. But, yeah.

4. VD: You won the (film festival’s) Excellence in Acting Award. What was your reaction when you found out about that?

MM: I was very proud. I was really grateful for that. Honestly, this is my first acting award, and it really means a lot to me, especially that I’m here representing ‘Trucker.’ It’s a very, very important film to me and to all the people that were a part of it, so to have ‘Trucker’ be recognized and my performance be recognized is a really, really nice thing.

5. VD: Why did you decide to get involved with an independent film after doing several studio films?

MM: I’ve done a few studio films and I knew I wanted to get back to doing independent films because they’re real labors of love and I really love the artists behind them. There’s such creative freedom and there’s such passion for them, you know? You don’t do independent films for the money and you don’t even do it for the glory because, my God, the film might not even see the light of day but you do it because you believe in it and it means something to you. That’s what this film was. When I read it, I put it in my lap and I sat with it for an hour, like ‘What on Earth is that’ And I just thought ‘There’s no doubt about it. I have to do this film.’

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