Hilary Duff Interview: Getting personal about marriage and the future
By Fred Topel
HollywoodNews.com: Last week, Hilary Duff returned to TV with a guest spot on Community. She terrorized the study group as a community college mean girl. Duff remains busy with film roles, a new career as an author, music and beginning life as a newlywed. She got personal in a conference call with the media speaking about much more than her brief stint on the hit NBC comedy.
Q: Were you looking for a “mean girl” type character to play to do something different than what fans may know you for?
Hilary Duff: I think I just like to have fun, you know? It was a different character, which was exciting for me to get to play, and it was only a few days out of my life. So it was fun to just kind of jump into that. I’m also a really big fan of the show, and that was very enticing to me too.
Q: Is there any chance that you’ll reprise the role in the future?
HD: I would love to. I think that’s one of the great things about the show is they bring their guest stars back quite often. So if they wrote more of a storyline for Meghan I think I would of course come back. I had a great time.
Q: You’ve moved to Pittsburgh to watch your husband play. What have you enjoyed about the town?
HD: Oh, honestly I haven’t been able to do too much exploring like around the city because I’ve been there for three days at a time or something, and one of the times we were apartment hunting for Mike and one of the other times was a pretty quick trip. But so far I’ve really enjoyed it. Everyone’s been really nice to me and I know Mike is loving it because obviously hockey is so important to everyone there. And we’ve had some really great meals, which is always exciting. We had this amazing dinner with some of his teammates after a game one night that was at a place and it’s like a little house just like smack dab in the middle of like a neighborhood. It was so, so good and I’m sorry, I can’t think of the name right now.
Q: With moving, writing a book, acting and everything you do, how do you prioritize your tasks?
HD: I think when it’s important to you, you just figure out a way to make it work. I have always had a pretty strong work ethic, I think, because I started at such a young age. Writing the book was very convenient for me because traveling to see Mike and stuff, I could really do it from anywhere, as long as I had my laptop with me. I could write and email the lady that I wrote the book with, we would just email back and forth and talk on the phone constantly and so that was really great. The only hard part is being away from the animals all the time. We have like four dogs and two cats. So obviously I can’t travel with that many animals to go see him. But we did just get married, so it’s important that we see each other a lot. Also, both of our careers are very important to us. And we just find a way to juggle it. We have people that help us stay organized and on top of things so important things don’t slip through the cracks. You just figure out a way to make it work when you have to.
Q: What was it like to go back to TV so many years after Lizzie McGuire?
HD: It was great. I had done Gossip Girl last year, so I think getting that little taste of TV again made me miss it in a way. Then also I think it reminded me that the hours are really long but it was in a good way. Everyone on set was very close and so I miss that like kind of family community and knowing that you’re going to see the same people each day, you’re going to be able to come home and sleep in your own bed at night. I really like that. I guess that was it. I mean, I would definitely do TV again if the right project came along, but it is such a commitment that I wouldn’t do it unless a character that was fun for me and challenging and that I got to enjoy going to work every single day.
Q: Speaking of long hours, as a newlywed does that affect sort of the projects that you’re able to take, especially since he’s on the road so much?
HD: He’s so supportive of me. I don’t think it would be like, “You can’t do that because I’m never going to get to see you.” He knows that my career is very important to me but the one thing that’s nice about TV is that you have three weeks on, one week off most of the time. So I actually think it would work because we’re used to going two to three weeks without seeing each other. But like I said, I would only do it if it was something that I was really committed to. That’s why it’s been fun doing these little guest spots here and there because I get to still go and be a part of a set and do little quick roles here and there but it’s not such a big commitment.
Q: Does being married to a pro athlete make you have to up your fitness game at all?
HD: You mean do I feel like I’ve got to keep up and stay in good shape? Yes, we are definitely competitive. We’re not really competitive when it comes to working out. I mean, obviously he would win any battle, I’m sure. But we’re more competitive with like games and stuff, like board games or other things like that. But the first time we actually got to work out was this summer and we were both working really hard trying to get in shape for our wedding. During the year he trains so hard that he never feels like working out with me. Now I’m about to go see him and he’s in amazing shape right now, and I’m like, “Oh, no. I’ve totally let myself go.”
Q: What other projects are you really excited about?
HD: Well, you know, I just became a New York Times bestseller. So that was really exciting and I’m starting to write the sequel because it’s a series, and that’s really exciting for me, just thinking about the direction of the new book and creating some new characters. That’s pretty much it right now besides all the holidays coming up and all the excited travel I’ll be doing.
Q: Speaking of the holidays, what’s on your Christmas wish list?
HD: I haven’t been thinking about that yet. It’s so funny because I always just want shoes or a bag or something. Mike’s always like, “But I’ve already gotten you shoes, and I’ve already gotten you a bag.” And I’m like, “It doesn’t matter, I’m a girl. Eventually you wear those and then you don’t want them anymore.” So they’re not cool. I just need more.
Q: How’s his taste?
HD: He’s so good, he’s gotten really good. I used to drop hints here and there but he is a really good gift giver.
Q: Are you getting ready to shoot some new films, like The Story of Bonnie and Clyde?
HD: The Story of Bonnie and Clyde has been so complicated. I think that’s the perfect example of just stuff getting leaked out into the press before it’s ready to. There’s tons of projects that I talk to people about on a weekly basis and, you know, most of them don’t happen. If they do sometimes it takes years to get them ready to shoot. That’s kind of what’s happened with this one is the people that are involved just haven’t really gotten their stuff together. Obviously it could be a great idea, and I would love to get to do it. But the script has to be in the right place and all that stuff before you start shooting. So that hasn’t happened yet. It’s been nice to do these little guest spots on TV shows because it did make me realize that I miss it. I would like to concentrate on movies, but if the right part came along on a show, I’d obviously be really excited. I think that’s a good schedule for me because you get to always go home at night and see the same people every day. It’s more of a routine. I think I’m better with a little bit of routine in my life but it obviously has to be right. I wouldn’t want to commit myself to four years of doing something that I wasn’t completely satisfied doing.
Q: Will you be back on Gossip Girl any time?
HD: I don’t think so. I mean, when I signed on to do it, it was just six episodes, and I know they do bring their characters back sometimes, but I don’t think there’s any plans to do that.
Q: How does acting bring out a different side of you in your creativity as compared to singing?
HD: I actually think they’re very similar except most of the time when you’re singing it’s times ten, the energy in the performance you’re putting into it is obviously way bigger. But it’s all about telling a story and getting to leave yourself behind and imagine you in that character’s life and how you’d feel and how you would react and what your traits would be and how she walks different and talks different. I think it’s just fun to kind of like leave your world behind for a little bit and be somebody else.
Q: You’ve always been a role model to young girls. Do you take that into consideration when you choose your roles?
HD: I did for awhile. It was very important to me that my fan base was young and kind of growing up with me and I wanted to be responsible, like a responsible role model for them. But I don’t think it was too much of a stretch from who I was in my real life. I wasn’t trying to be something that I wasn’t. Obviously, as I was growing up, I was trying to choose age appropriate roles and then I kind of stopped caring so much about what people would write about me or how people would perceive me in this part or that because you have to grow as a person and do it on your own time, and that goes for work choices as well. But I think I was pretty good at making my path and not causing too much controversy, so still being a good role model for young people that were looking up to me.
Q: What inspired your book?
HD: It’s a part of a two or three book series and I love reading and I was just ready for a new challenge. I took about a year off of work from everything just to try and breathe and figure out what I liked doing the best and what I wanted to do and not focus so much on trying to act and sing and tour and do all of this stuff at once. During that time, I started to write down ideas for a book and it happened, so I think with the media and everyone, when you’re watching something on TV, you see it how it is and how someone else sees it, you can go along with it. When you’re reading a book and going along with a story, you kind of get to imagine it in your head how you see it and I think that’s really great. I wanted to write a book and kind of give back to my fans.
Q: When you did Community, were you able to get Joel McHale back for talking about your sister Haylie on The Soup?
HD: You know what is funny, is Haylie and her boyfriend Nick love The Soup and so I think that she has pretty thick skin and didn’t care so much. But when I saw Joel, I was like, “I’m just going to push you down. I just need to. It just needs to happen. I can push you down really fast and then say, ‘Thanks for having me on your show.’” But he was like, “Oh, no, what did I say about you? Or your sister? I don’t know, I don’t know.” He’s usually pretty good to us, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. But he’s very funny and I actually didn’t get to have that many scenes with him, which was sad.
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