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Leoni Online: The Articles — ET Online Interview 1998

Tea Leoni (“The Naked Truth”) plays an ambitious newswoman named Jenny Lerner who stumbles upon the story of a lifetime in her new film. ‘Deep Impact.’ We sat down with Tea to talk about the film and her marriage to “X-Filer” DAVID DUCHOVNY. Join us as we go one-on-one with this talented young starlet.

ET Online: TEA LEONI, this is a departure from the roles we are use to seeing you in, ‘Flirting With Disaster’ and “Naked Truth.” What was it like to play a more dramatic side?

Tea Leoni: Oh I don’t know. I suppose I could fib and tell you this great story of all the studying I needed to do to get serious in my life, but I didn’t. I was surrounded with a tremendous cast, MORGAN FREEMAN, VANESSA REDGRAVE, MAXIMILLIAN SCHELL, and MIMI LEDER directing. So, my hand was held through the process and it was okay.

ETOL: Do you look for more dramatic roles like this, or do you think you’ll do comedy as well.?

Tea: I don’t know. Hollywood will probably tell me. I look forward either. I’ve enjoyed both. I mean ‘Flirting With Disaster’ was so much fun and a great film to be apart of and another incredible cast, so, I’m easy.

ETOL: In this film, obviously your character has to think about, “What happens when there’s just a year left to live and who do you want to be with?” Did it get you thinking about your own life and what you would do differently if there were a year to go?

Tea: I think maybe I’m happy to report that I wouldn’t do anything differently. My character has a tough time with that epiphany and she makes it very late in the game. I think that maybe it’s a good way to think about it like, “Are you doing something, that if you only had a year or two left, you would spend it doing this, what ever it is?”

ETOL: You are fairly recently married. Is it tough to balance the duel career and relationship?

Tea: Well we’re busy. There’s no doubt we’re busy. It’ll be great to get DAVID [DUCHOVNY, her husband] back home. That will make things a little bit easier, but we manage. We’ve gotten some frequent flyer mileage. We’ve got a phone bill to contend with, but everything is okay.

ETOL: Was he able to come visit you on the set if ‘Deep Impact?’

Tea: Yeah, a couple of times.

ETOL: Do you get to go and visit him much in Vancouver [Canada]?

Tea: Yeah, I went up there a bit. I love it up there. It’s beautiful and it was great place for me to go when I was on my week hiatuses filming the “Naked Truth.” I loved going up there and spending time relaxing. It’s stunning.

ETOL: Is there any chance of you appearing in an “X-Files” episode?

Tea: No, I’ve saidthat I believe I may have screwed myself by marrying David because of all the young male actors he’s at the top of my list of someone that I would love to work with. Now that we’re married, I think I can’t do it.

ETOL: In this film, you had Vanessa Redgrave as a mother. What was it like to work with her?

Tea: She’s incredible. She’s played so many different characters throughout her career all with such dignity and integrity. I admire her. I would like to, one day, get there. If I were to say that I had an ambition for this career, it would be to get that good. She certainly was one of those that held my hand through it and made it easy.

ETOL: With summer coming up, Entertainment Tonight always likes to ask, do you have any fun summer vacation plans?

Tea: Well I’m always looking forward to swimming. I can’t wait for the water to get warm enough, and with El Nino it’s going to be like bath water this summer, so they say.

ETOL: Do you spend a lot of time in the ocean? Do you surf?

Tea: No, I don’t surf. I had an experience, albeit inadvertent with surfing at a young age. That thing they call a ‘Dryer,’ or dish…’The Washing Machine,’ I think they say that, I’ve gotten it wrong. The idea is you are in the wave along with all the rocks and the sand, and you’re tumbling and you can’t breathe. So, I won’t be surfing this summer.