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Leoni Online: The Articles — The Calgary Sun

Leoni tackles marriage (to David Duchovny), motherhood and prehistoric creatures

By LOUIS B. HOBSON — Calgary Sun

HOLLYWOOD — A FEW YEARS AGO, Tea Leoni felt her career was headed for extinction.

Her TV sitcom The Naked Truth had been cancelled and offers for feature film roles were scant.

“Hollywood wanted me when I was about 26, but I didn’t enjoy making movies back then. I was always so scared of failing,” says Leoni who turned 35 in February.

“When I met and married David (Duchovny) a career didn’t seem a priority anymore, but I was still very insecure about my acting.

“People in the industry are so merciless. They stomp all over your self-confidence.”

That all changed after her daughter Madelaine West was born in April of 1999.

“After the baby, I felt untouchable. The fears disappeared because there’s nothing Hollywood can take away from me that means anything more than David and Madelaine.

“Suddenly I started working with a no-holds-barred attitude and really enjoyed the feeling.”

Leoni’s first project after her new-found confidence was Jurassic Park III in which plays a woman whose teenage son gets stranded on the dinosaur island. She sets out with her husband (William H. Macy) to find him.

“Madelaine was 16 months old when I started filming Jurassic Park and it was a five-month shoot. I have to admit (director) Joe Johnson gave me special attention.

“If I whined a little, he’d let me go home early but I repaid him by giving my all and this was a very physical shoot.

“That was how I saw the role and how I insisted on playing it.

“When Joe first contacted me I told him if he wanted me to play the girl going up Mount Everest with the cappuccino machine strapped to her guide’s back, not to hire me.

“He promised that my lip gloss would be gone the second day of filming and he was true to his word.”

Each morning when Leoni reported at the make-up trailer it was to have more cuts and bruises added to her face and body and more mud and slime to her hair and costumes.

Leoni confesses she was one of the few actors on Jurassic Park III who had several wardrobe changes

“It was always the same costume only different sizes.

“I didn’t get in shape before I started filming. I absolutely hate working out. I’ve always thought it’s a dumb pursuit. I got in shape while we were making the movie. The wardrobe people kept having to alter my clothes.”

Leoni has a new exercise routine that keeps her in top shape.

“Madelaine and I play hide-and-seek. It means a lot of running and jumping. It’s a great work-out for my butt muscles.”

Leoni says she can’t even begin to describe the difference motherhood has had on her life.

“Motherhood means everything you’re not ready for.

“You suddenly dispense with your personal ego.

“All the trivial things that meant so much to you in your past disappear. The happiness and survival of this wonderful new person is what is most important in your life.

“It was such an incredible experience that I know I want at least five more children, but that may just be the new mother in me talking. I don’t think you should plan to have children because sometimes it doesn’t work you.

“I think you should just hope and pray to be blessed with each new one.”

The wife in Leoni also feels blessed. “David was so sweet when I was filming Jurassic Park.

“I’d really play up my injuries and bruises and he’d offer to massage them.

“It always led to other things and he’d always pretend that’s not what I was after in the first place.

“We have a wonderful physical relationship, but that’s not nearly as vital as the support we give one another.

“There is absolutely no sense of competition.”

She can’t understand how some celebrity couples can let their careers destroy their marriages.

“This business is structured to build you up, chew you down and spit you out so you better hope the man or woman in bed with you is going to be the one to say: ‘Baby I think you’re great and you did great’ or you’d better pack your bags and get on the first train outta town.”

To prove she has the man of her dreams, Leoni recalls what Duchovny did for her 33rd birthday.

“David knew my voice is something I’m very shy about because it is so low.

“When I was six I sounded like the girl in The Exorcist.

“He also knew I always wished I could have been a singer.

“For my birthday David rented a music studio with 10 musicians. He dropped me off at the door and told me it was mine for the night.”

Duchovny had also supplied the musicians with sheet music for most of the songs he’d heard his wife singing in the shower, her two favourites being Delta Dawn and Angel From Montgomery.

“We keep the tape in a special place.

“On special nights we’ll have a couple of glasses of wine, put the tape on and let it rock and let it take us where we’re headed.

“David says it’s as much his birthday present because it’s the perfect aphrodisiac for both of us.”

Leoni has already completed roles in the Al Pacino film People I Know and Woody Allen’s 2002 film tentatively called Hollywood Ending.

“In People I Know I play this totally messed-up actress.

“She’s very sad really but she has a wonderful dramatic, rather touching relationship with Al’s character.”

Leoni can’t say much about Hollywood Ending.

“I think all I’m allowed to say is that my character’s name begins with E. That’s one of the conditions of working with Woody.

“I’m so exhausted I really need a rest from filming. I think I’ll let David go out to work and I’ll do the massaging at nights.”