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Michelle Monaghan (Hannah) - Made of Honour
Michelle Lynn Monaghan was born on 23 March, 1976, in Iowa, USA. After graduating from high school she studied journalism for three years at Chicago's Columbia College. In 1999 she moved to New York to work full-time as a fashion model. In 2000, she made her TV debut in two episodes of Young Americans, then appeared in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Monaghan shot to fame in 2002 when she co-starred as Kimberly Woods for one season on the TV series Boston Public. On the big screen she's starred opposite Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer in the black comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), as well as playing the female lead, opposite Tom Cruise, in Mission: Impossible III (2006). ReviewGraveyard caught up with Monaghan as Made of Honour was released on Blu-ray and DVD...
ReviewGraveyard: Made of Honour is a lovely feel good movie...
Michelle Monaghan: Thank you. I thought so too.
RG: The two of you had such a great chemistry...
MM: Yeah, come on, if you can’t have chemistry with Patrick Dempsey you’re in a whole lot of trouble! [Laughs]
He was on board and I read the script, I really really liked the script. I think the thing that interested me first of all was the idea that I actually have a best friend and he’s a guy and he was my maid of honour at our wedding. So that was cool. Alright finally somebody is getting it! He didn’t break up our wedding at the eleventh hour so that was good. But I hadn’t done a fully fledged romantic comedy so that was something on my list of things I wanted to do and Patrick seemed like the natural choice.
I had been a fan of Grey’s Anatomy for a long time and when I sat down to meet with Patrick for the first time and with Paul Weiland [director], he was just so charming. He’s just so down to earth and easy going and self deprecating. He has a really great sense of humour and we really got on very very well. We auditioned and it was great. We just improvised and we had a lot of fun. I think there wasn’t any doubt that we weren’t going to have a good time making the film. We really did.
RG: How did you make that progression from modeling to be considered as a serious actress?
MM: That’s a stigma I honestly haven’t experienced. I know people talk about that a lot, but that didn’t necessarily exist that much for me. I wasn’t a super model by any stretch of the imagination, I was doing like catalogue modeling. Maybe a little editorial here and there. I modeled but I wasn’t one of those models that you’re really familiar with.
For me I started out doing that and then doing commercials. It was just a random audition that somebody said: “Listen, you should audition, you’d have really good luck doing commercials.” And I auditioned and I got the job and from that, I thought well, maybe I’ll get an agent and I got a great agent who I’m still with today and I just started working really hard and one thing led to another.
I’m grateful for having that modeling background, because it helped me deal with rejection in a way that had I just jumped into acting at some point - you know, there’s certainly a lot of rejection in modeling... my hands are blue because of the dye on the denim [Monaghan's trousers are indigo denim] and I look like a Smurf! Oh my God, I have to explain this to everybody because they think I have the poorest circulation ever! [Laughs].
It’s my jeans, they haven’t been washed and they were given to me this morning - just call me "Mama Smurf." So... you know this will probably be the one time I get recognized. I will walk out of the hotel covered in blue!
RG: Are you big on fashion?
MM: Yes, I am big on fashion especially if it has blue dye in it! [Laughs]
I’m really a jeans and T shirt girl. I really like to be comfortable. I like slim silhouettes. I really love clothes a lot. I like to shop. I love vintage a lot. I live in New York and that has some of the best vintage clothing. But honestly, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that one of the best things about this job is getting to wear pretty dresses and getting dressed up. I mean I’m a total girl.
RG: Who are your favourite designers?
MM: I like Derek Lam and Gilles Mendel.
RG: How was your own wedding? You married in Port Douglas, Australia were there any Australian traditions like there was in Scotland in this film?
MM: No, there wasn’t any like vegemite appetizers or anything like that. We didn’t have anything strange to eat like in the film [Laughs]. You know what we had for our dessert was Crockinbush. They are like little balls and they are delicious. It might just be a Queensland thing.
We had eighty people there, so it was fairly small. All of my family and friends came over from the States. It was kind of like a week long full of festivities. It was really nice.
The dress was very simple. It was just white and it was a dress that I’d found in a flea market years ago, but it was green, so I had a friend make it in white and that was it. So that’s why I liked this movie, because I never actually went wedding dress shopping for my own wedding dress and I had got to try on a lot of different wedding dresses in this film, so that was fun.
RG: You also had a male maid of honour at your wedding. What did he think of the film?
MM: He loved it. He thought it was really sweet and really cute. I mean it wasn’t realistic in the fact that we never had a romantic relationship. But I think the friendship is very similar to ours.
The one thing that I do get in this movie is that I sort of relate to the idea of her meeting this guy and six weeks later, she’s marrying him. Who would you ultimately want to marry? Someone you had just met or someone you have a history with?
RG: Do you believe in whirlwind romances? Do you think they can last - that you instinctively know who the guy is you’re going to marry after a short time of meeting him?
MM: Sure, I think it has happened for a number of people. Could it have happened for me, I don’t think so.
RG: Were you friends with your husband first?
MM: Yeah, I met him and within five minutes I knew that I wanted to spend a lot of time with him. I didn’t know I was going to marry him for sure. We were together for four years before we got engaged. And we’ve been together for nearly eight now, so he’s getting sick of me! [Laughs].
We met in a bar in New York City. I was in there with some girlfriends and he was in there with some guy friends and he came over and asked if he could sit down next to me and I said, please do. And that was it. We hit it off straight away. It was really amazing. That was it.
RG: Are you a very romantic person?
MM: I think so. I think I can always be a little bit more romantic I suppose. I don’t know I think I’m fairly romantic I guess.
RG: What’s the most romantic thing you’ve done for your husband and he’s done for you?
MM: I surprised him once with a little trip, like a little rendezvous that was unexpected and we’ve taken each other places - just got in the car and we’ve gone somewhere. That’s kind of romantic as there is always an element of surprise involved. But I think probably the most romantic thing he’s done for me is ask me to marry him. I’ll never forget that day. For any woman, that day is unforgettable and beautiful.
RG: Did you know it was coming?
MM: No, that was the thing. I had no idea. I mean, I knew that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together but I had no idea when that would start. So that was pretty cool.
RG: Do you getting recognised a lot when you are out? Can you still ride on the subway and walk around Manhattan?
MM: No I don't get recognised. [Laughs] I really can walk down the street. I’d die without that subway. Honest to God. I always think that I don’t really look like I do in my movies. I think you probably might not recognize me if you saw me walking down the street. Or maybe they do in New York and people just don’t say anything, which is awesome. But yeah, I haven’t run into that problem.
RG: As opposed to Patrick Dempsey who is on every billboard and poster and side of a bus in LA.
MM: Yeah, I mean everybody is just looking for him! [Laughs] Women wake up and they start their day: “I’ll be damned; I will find that Patrick Dempsey today if it’s the last thing I do!” [Laughs].
RG: Was your hen night as wild as the one in the movie?
MM: I didn’t kiss that many men! (Laughs) No, I had a really fun night with my girlfriends. They threw me a really good party.
RG: Is that really a tradition in Scotland where you have to kiss as many men as you can the night before you get married?
MM: Ah no, I just think they’re trying to make an ass out of me [Laughs]. I have no idea. There were a lot of kisses. I think it made all of those local boys’ day. There were a lot of kisses going on that day and I didn’t even get to keep the change. (It was a penny for a kiss).
RG: You shot a lot in England and in Scotland, how were you experiences there?
MM: Oh my gosh, we were in Blenheim Palace. That was insane, we shot in the most beautiful castles, which were great, because we worked six day weeks and so we didn’t have a lot of time to sight see. We shot in so many beautiful historical places, so we kind of killed two birds with one stone. We also shot in Woodstock, which is the cutest town both Patrick and I had ever seen. We loved it there. Oh my gosh, it was amazing, it looked like a movie set. We were shooting there and it honestly looked like a movie set. It was a beautiful place. And Scotland was probably one of the most romantic places I had ever been, it was so pretty there.
RG: What is your dream role?
MM: That’s always a good question for me because I never actually really know until I look at it. I never really anticipate what I want to do. I definitely know I want to be on stage. That is a goal of mine that has kind of withstood the test of time. I definitely want to do theater in New York or Jersey - [laughs] way off, off, off Broadway!
So that’s what I’d like to do, but I just want to keep exploring different genres. So far, so good. I learn something from each experience and I never really want to repeat myself, because if I’m bored with it, then other people are going to be bored with it.
RG: Is there a director you’d like to work with?
MM: I love David Lynch. Michel Gondry. The Coen brothers of course. I’d love to work with Robert Downey again, that was one of my best experiences.
RG: The character of Tom in the movie - had you met that kind of man before you got married?
MM: For sure. I dated one for four years [laughs].
RG: What non-committal?
MM: Yeah totally, I dated one for four years and it took me four years to figure that out.
RG: So what got you over that?
MM: Just having the last straw and going: “What am I doing? Am I crazy?” And that was it.
RG: So are you big on brutal honesty or do you think white lies are okay sometimes?
MM: It depends on the white lies, like if you’re going to save somebody’s feelings you know what I mean? I think you can be a good judge of when it’s a good time to spare somebody’s feelings or not. But in general I think honesty is always the best policy.
RG: Thank you for your time.
Made of Honour is released on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment from