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Cameron Diaz knows exactly why she fell for her profane, selfish, insensitive and gold-digging public school educator in “Bad Teacher.” “There was not one ounce of energy spent trying to make anything about this character likable.”
For example, Elizabeth Halsey’s primary motivation: “To invest in her ‘business’ by getting a pair of [bigger] t*ts,” explains Diaz. “Obviously if I thought that I could get somewhere with having bigger boobies I would have done it by now. But for her, it's everything…But the thing about it is if we really believed this was the right thing to do, we wouldn't be making fun of it, right? So it was really fun to make fun of it because clearly, especially living in this town, we all know what it's like to come up against people who have their priorities a little screwed up and focus on the wrong things.”
Diaz, who delights tweaking her sunny image by playing down and dirty characters, says she wouldn’t have it other way, even at the risk of turning off the opposite sex. “You know women have always behaved badly – I think probably worse than men,” she explains. “Maybe men just don't have the stomach for it. They don’t want to see it on film because they just can't take it. I mean, any of my guy friends when I start to tell them what women really talk about and what really goes down, they're like, 'La, la, la, la'. They don’t want to hear it. It's like, plug their ears. They can't take it.”
But she’s thrilled that comedy actresses are getting opportunities to tackle raunchier roles in films like hers and “Bridesmaids.” “I think that people are willing to sort of laugh at those things altogether now,” she says. “I think that we can find a lot of similarities in what we laugh at. I haven't seen 'Bridesmaids' yet, so I can't wait to see it. But I think people are just willing to take a chance, and I think the studios nowadays are willing to.”
Even Diaz had to wrap her head around playing the unrepentant schoolteacher at first. “I went 30 pages into the script, and I was like 'There's no way I'm playing this character. How could I ever redeem her? There's no redemption for her. This is a horrible person.' Then ten pages later I was like, 'God, I think I like her.’ By the end I was like, 'This is amazing because I don't have to apologize.' There's no apologizing for this person, and that's the beauty of this script.”
“Usually you spend the last 20 minutes of the movie trying to apologize for the first hour and a half of it, because people are afraid of just owning what it is,” she explains. “And in life we don't just have an epiphany and change our entire lives. It happens, but it's not the norm. You have the sense that this person is just sort of slowing down the train to jump off so she can cross the platform to get back on the train going the other direction. And I really appreciated that and I didn't want to mess with that. I didn't want to try to make her happy.”
“It was really fun to be able to sort of go to work every day and have a team of people all on the same wagon going towards complete and utter distaste,” she laughs.