From Seventeen Magazine - October 1990

Lili Taylor

(Thanks to Glenn D. Abernathy for supplying this article and picture.)

Lili in Seventeen Magazine
It was really hard pinning Lili Taylor down, maybe because she was always so busy eating. When I met the diminutive actress, best known for her work in the sleeper hit Mystic Pizza and in Say Anything, she had less than two months to gain thirty pounds, and she was hungry. Thirty pounds?! What was she doing, making Raging Bull, Part II, or what? Not exactly. She was preparing for her newest role in Dog Fight, opposite River Phoenix, about four terribly enlightened marines in the '60's who place bets on who can find the ugliest date for the evening (we can assume they're all Greek gods) Lili plays River's date and, by the end of the night, his love interest.

"I've been trying to gain weight only eating healthy food," said Lili between bites, in a Manhattan coffee shop. "It's not really working, though, so I'm probably going to have to start hitting the ice cream soon. Gaining all this weight is a real challenge."

But challenges are what the twenty-four year old actress thrives on. Originally from Chicago, Lili has lived in New York for the last year and a half. Before the success of Mystic Pizza, she was predominately a Chicago stage actress. "I was shocked by the film's success." she said. "I thought it was just a small movie that would do fine on cable."

Although she could have cashed in on the film's popularity, Lili says she refused to move to L.A. to pump her film career. Doing theater is the mainstay of her work as an actress, and New York's where she feels she has to be.

"Even if I become a huge movie star, I'll continue to do theater, because it grounds me," she explained. "Onstage, I'm able to work on a character for a long period of time. Besides, I'm really not that ambitious about making movies, anyway." Lili paused on nibble on a piece of bread. "So far, I've been sort of lucky. I've been able to split up my year doing a film, then theater, a film, then theater. It's worked out okay."

Lili's current work can be seen in Bright Angel, in which she plays Lucy, a streetwise drifter who has cut ties with her Canadian family. She said it was an emotionally tough movie to make, but she thought the script was one of the best she's ever seen.

"I wish we could raise our standards, take a few more risks and not underestimate the masses," she said before dashing off to her next meal. "I try to choose projects that are going toward that goal, and as an actress, I try to voice my opinions where U feel we can change things for the better."

And with that, Lili said she had to run. She had places to go, people to see, and weight to gain.

--Kevin Koffler


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