Who doesn't love when a celeb comments on another celeb's Instagram post, thus giving us locals a vantage point with which to see how famous folks intertwine. Instagram accounts like @commentsbycelebs have created a whole cottage industry around celeb-on-celeb feedback. But perhaps no interaction raised my eyebrow to more of an arch than when on November 30, actress Tara Reid took to Nicole Kidman's Instagram post with not just the standard-grade love doling but an actual offer.
"You are truly amazing in everything you do," wrote Reid. "I've been a huge fan forever. Hopefully one day we can work together soon. I'm producing a movie, Masha's Mushroom, it's starring Vivica A. Fox, Billy Zane, Beverly D'Angelo, myself, Tara Reid, Sade and others. It's truly an amazing script. I would love for you to read it. Shoreline and Universal are doing it. It's a franchise of five films. If you can follow me, I can tell you more. Kindly, Tara." (She has yet to hear back from Nicole Kidman, but it's the holidays — people get busy.)
Since bursting on the scene as Bunny Lebowski in the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski, Reid has gone on to star in a slew of hits and cult films alike including Urban Legend, Cruel Intentions, the American Pie franchise, Josie & The Pussycats, Van Wilder, Sharknado, Sharknado 2: The Second One, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, Sharknado: The 4th Awakens, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming and The Last Sharknado: It's About Time. Her television credits include appearances on Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Scrubs, Celebrity Big Brother 8 and her short-lived but not short-memoried reality series Taradise, in which Reid traveled to Spain, Greece, Italy, France and Monaco and, well, partied.
But it's that very reputation, one of a party girl, that has prevented Reid from being taken as seriously in Hollywood as she might have liked. Thankfully, that's begun to change, with Reid beginning to produce her own projects and in turn, being the one calling the shots. "I'm the one that's calling up the agents making the offers," she tells PAPER. "So I think it's put me on a level where I'm really getting respected as a business woman, not just an actor. I think definitely that's the most proud I've been because I turned the tables and it's hard to do that."
Below, we chat with Reid about the upcoming Masha's Mushroom film anthology, her film work, her iconic 2016 on-air spat with Jenny McCarthy and the body shaming she's endured for much of her 25+ year career.
I don't want to waste a minute. I first want to ask about this exciting project, Masha's Mushroom, which we're all talking about. I need to know every detail.
So my business partner, White Cross, she's a director as well, and I did a movie with her about two years ago where we became really, really good friends. And so she came up with this whole concept for me. It's kind of a crazy story. Everything in the movie is a hallucination. You don't know if it's real or not real because there's this stuff called purple dust and it goes in the air and you breathe it in and before you know it, you're tripping out. There's never been a movie like this. I'm the mother and the daughter. I don't wanna give it all away, but this might give it all… but whatever... Masha is… she's a little cuckoo. 'Cause now she's on that purple dust and she thinks that it's her daughter's birthday. So she's getting all this stuff for her daughter's birthday and everything's ready, but really it's her funeral. And that's where we got Sade because we're going to have her sing at the funeral. So it's just amazing. What I really love about it is how you don't know if it really happened. And that's how we go into the second one and the third one and the fourth one, the fifth one, like it's going to be really, really good.
Chills. And love that you're giving us an immediate franchise. This project is giving me serious Nicole Kidman vibes and I know you reached out to her on IG. Can you give any update on that? Have you heard from Nic? Because like I said, I'm really gunning for her to be in this.
Well I had just finished [The Undoing] and I was like, this is the best show ever. So then after that I wrote to her. I was thinking, "What have we got to lose?" We haven't heard anything back yet. I'm optimistic.
Tell me about your life in quarantine. How has COVID affected your day to day?
I'm just keeping myself busy. I'm really, really working and believe it or not, I've done three movies already this year which is almost unheard of. I wrapped my latest movie yesterday.
"Everything in the movie is a hallucination. You don't know if it's real or not real because there's this stuff called purple dust and it goes in the air and you breathe it in and before you know it, you're tripping out. There's never been a movie like this."
I want to talk about The Big Lebowski, which is your second film, but it's your first adult role and certainly the role that put you on the map for so many people. The Coen Brothers had just come off of Fargo and would go on to direct O Brother, Where Art Thou? after Lebowski. What was it like working with them so early on in their professional lives?
I went in for the audition and then I got a call back and that day me and my boyfriend at the time had just broken up, so I was sad. So I'm like, "I'm never going to get this," but I obviously wanted to be a professional so I went and did it. And when I arrived Charlize Theron and Liv Tyler were in the waiting [room]. And I thought, "Yeah, right, like I'm going to get this role, like there's no way." But I got the role. And that changed my life forever, working with the Coen brothers, because they're so well respected. And then after that I got American Pie, got a three picture deal, you know, all these other films. So that really was the one that really put me on the map.
Did you ever interact with Julianne Moore off-camera? I know you guys didn't have any scenes together.
No scenes together, but I went to… I believe it was the Oscars, and all of a sudden this lady behind me is like "Tara, Tara." And I turn around and it's Julianne Moore. She's like, "I just want to tell you I'm a huge fan of your work" and I'm like, "What is going on?" That was pretty cool.
"Because when I think of [American Pie], it's all heart. Like, no one's picking on each other. No one's bullying each other. Everyone's just trying to find their way of life and grow up. And I think that's why the movie did so well."
Legends supporting legends. When was the last time you watched Urban Legend?
I haven't watched it in a while, but we made a behind-the-scenes of Urban Legend about a year or two ago where the whole cast came in and the director, Jamie Blanks. That cast was obviously not bad on the eyes [laughs]. We shot it in Canada and we just all got along and it was almost like being at camp.
Cruel Intentions is a film that still lives on burned in our brains some 20+ years later. How was the part of Marcy Greenbaum first pitched to you?
I worked with that producer, Neil H. Moritz, on Urban Legend and he was like, "will you open up the movie and do this cameo?" and I was like "sure." I had a great time doing it because she was a little nuts. [In character] "There's pictures of me on the internet everywhere!" And that was before the internet was even big. So, you know, it was almost ahead of its time to have them think that. It was cool just to have that cameo. It's like Drew Barrymore's cameo in Scream.
Let me ask you about American Pie. What drew you to that script? Because even now that would be considered a pretty insane concept to build a film around, let alone a franchise.
Well, it wasn't called that at the time. It was Unfinished Teenage Sex Comedy Which Can Be Made for Under $10 Million That Studio Readers Will Most Likely Hate but I Think You Will Love. And I just remember thinking, "What kind of script is this?" And then they retitled it Great Falls before they finally came up with American Pie.
And were you put off at all by the scene of him fucking the pie?
A lot of actors passed on that movie. They thought it was just too out of control for that time, but you know, it wasn't really that. Because when I think of that film, it's all heart... besides him with the pie, but that's even innocent. Like, no one's picking on each other. No one's bullying each other. Everyone's just trying to find their way of life and grow up. So I think everyone had a character that they related to the most totally. And I think that's why the movie did so well. I remember we went to the Cannes Film Festival and it was all French people in attendance and they laughed so hard. That's when I knew we did something special.
There are recent rumors swirling about a possible new American Pie film. If that does materialize, would you be interested in being a part of it?
Oh, of course. We all would. We would all go. I can't imagine no one going back. Everyone's cool with each other. There were no wars on the set. The directors are awesome and it's just fun, especially 'cause we grew up together, like we all kind of started at the same time. So we have a mutual respect for one another.
"I think that so many girls have had plastic surgery, so why are they making me the poster child of it? You would think I was the only one that's had it and it's ridiculous."
Speaking of sequels, when I was talking to people in preparation for today about which film roles they wanted me to ask you about, everyone was like going on and on about Josie and the Pussycats. I feel like people love this film. And I'm just curious, has it ever been brought up the possibility of a sequel? This feels so ripe to revisit it.
That is probably one of the biggest cult films ever. That movie was ahead of its time. All the subliminal messages, you know "red is new black," "Adidas is the new Puma," so people didn't get it yet. And there wasn't at that time any social media, so people didn't understand it. If it would've come out today I think it would be a huge hit. And I have to say that of every movie I've ever made, Melody was my favorite character. And that was the most fun I've ever had in my life working on a movie. Girls come up to me and say, "Oh my God, you've changed my life. You saved my life." And it's, it's kind of crazy. Like people really related to that film. I would love to do a sequel. And there's talk that they're gonna make a remake of it, but with a boy band and I was like, "well, if you're going to do that, like, why don't you just let me be their tour manager at least?" But it would be awesome if we could all really do it again. My manager called to see if he could get the rights to it to make a sequel and they were like "no way."
I can't not ask about Sharknado. What is the best thing about being a part of a franchise that has as much staying power and as big of a fandom as shark?
Sharknado was something that we never, ever expected. It was originally called Dark Skies, so it sounded to us like much more of a classy movie than Sharknado. It was like the third day in and they said, "Oh, we're changing the name to Sharknado." And I was like "no, no, no, no, you can't do that, we're never going to work again, this is horrible." And obviously it turned out to be the best blessing in disguise. When I first read the script I thought it was so ridiculous, like so ridiculous. I was laughing out loud and I remember going out to dinner that night, telling my friends like, "Oh my God, I just read the worst movie in the whole world," and all of them were like, "you have to do this movie." So I did. I kind of thought I'd take the money and run and no one would ever see the movie. And then I went to Mexico on vacation having done no press for the movie, nothing, because no one thought anything of the movie, and my phone starts blowing up like crazy. I got nervous. I'm like "Did something happen? Is there an earthquake?" And they're like "Sharknado is trending #1." And then when I left Mexico, I got on the plane and all of a sudden the stewardess says to me "Oh my God, I love you in your movie." And I'm thinking American Pie, obviously. And she's like "Sharknado is the best movie I've ever seen." And I'm like, what is going on? And then everyone in the streets was noticing it and suddenly no one was talking about American Pie. It was Sharknado now.
I've always wanted to ask you about this next topic. I'm curious about a very iconic 2016 interview with Jenny McCarthy. That was rather contentious. I'm just curious if you could give any more insight about how you were feeling after the fact, because it seemed like she really sidelined you and was very disrespectful given that you were giving her your time and you were on there to promote your film.
I mean, it was very peculiar. When you're doing a podcast, the host is not supposed to start picking on you and putting you down. She was just horrible to me and I was very uncomfortable and the stuff she asked me, I was just like, "you know what? I don't need to do this." And I knew it was going to get a lot of bad press, just because of what she was saying. And I decided I'm not going to go into this deeper and deeper and with her being really hurtful and really rude I left and that was it.
Have you two had any words in the subsequent years or has she ever reached out to try and apologize?
Nothing. Nothing at all.
Would you accept an apology?
I would never do her podcast again. Put it that way. Final answer.
Tell me about your favorite thing about filming Taradise. I wish it had gone on for as many seasons as Law & Order.
It was my concept. I pitched it as "I have a great idea: why don't you pay me to go around the world to party and show you what it's like." And they went for it. And we literally went everywhere and partied with all these people and all these places. And it was just crazy. I mean, it was exhausting because every day we were going somewhere else and we were partying so hard each day. I mean you couldn't do it like we did it. I wish it never went away. Like right now, could I do Taradise? Probably not because I'm older. I don't think I can keep up.
You could do it. You could do it.
I mean right now we can't even travel.
That's true. What would you say is the biggest misconception about you that seems to have stuck through the year?
I think people don't know how down to earth I am. I think everyone thinks I'm just this party girl. Don't get me wrong, I like to have a good time for sure. But who doesn't? At that age, who didn't? So I think they really categorized me in such a way that was unfair. But I'm older now, it's gone away a lot, but there's still that stigma. But my life has changed. Everyone's life has changed. I'm not 20 anymore. I'm not in high school and I've moved on.
You've endured quite a bit of body shaming throughout your life. What has given you the strength to withstand some of the mean, downright disgusting comments that some have made about your physical appearance over the years?
People have been really horrible. It's like making fun of a person that doesn't have legs or someone that's really overweight. It's not funny being called names and it went on for so long. And it still exists. I think that so many girls have had plastic surgery, so why are they making me the poster child of it? You would think I was the only one that's had it and it's ridiculous. But I've learned to finally not care as much. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And I really feel like that's my attitude in it. It's starting to go away because what else are you guys going to keep saying? Like everyone knows that story already. So move on. Normally I don't even talk about it.
"I'm so glad there wasn't social media because it would have changed things. A lot more celebrities hung out with each other back then. It was more fun 'cause we didn't get caught."
If you are ever asked to be on The Real Housewives today, would you ever consider it?
No. Never. No.
Would you do reality television in any format?
Don't think so. Maybe if there's a Taradise again.
What is one thing you would tell the Tara Reid of 1997?
That could be applicable to today.
Exactly. Because everywhere I went, I got paparazzied everywhere, everywhere. They were outside my car, they were outside the club. Like I couldn't get away with anything. Everyone was doing the same thing, but I got in trouble for it. So that's why I'd suggest staying home.
Do you think it would have been a good thing if social media were around when you were younger, or do you think that that would have been bad? Because on the one hand you can control, but at the same time it can get you into its own trouble.
I mean in a certain way it would be good because you could defend yourself with what really did happen. But I'm so glad there wasn't social media because it would have changed things. A lot more celebrities hung out with each other back then. It was more fun 'cause we didn't get caught and we had a lot of fun. Now everyone's afraid of each other. You don't see it that much anymore. And I think social media is one of the reasons.
Let's end by looking to the future. What can you tease about a project that you're working on that you're most excited about?
I got to tell you, all the way it's my baby project, Masha's Mushroom. It's going to be great. You guys are gonna love it. I promise. And it's not just one. It's going to go for the next five years. We want to do it like The Fast And The Furious where we have one coming out every year. Get ready.