Talking "Furry Vengeance" with Brooke Shields
Its hard to believe that its been about a decade since Brooke Shields was on the big screen. Images of her in The Blue Lagoon and Pretty Baby are so stuck in our minds that it seems that she has always been making films. But this week she returns in the family comedy Furry Vengeance, a look at how wildlife strikes back when a new housing development threatens their homes.
In the film, Brooke plays Tammy Sanders, a part that appealed to her immediately, she told me in a recent interview. In addition to working with friend and co-star Brendan Fraser, she also appreciated the opportunity to work on a family-friendly film.
Now a mother of two daughters, Brooke, 44, says the movie is a family comedy with a broader social message that “is never condescending, and allows kids to feel that they can make a difference.”
Certainly no stranger to the camera, Brooke's career spans more than four decades of film, television and modeling. She started modeling as an 11 month old, posing for Francesco Scavullo for an Ivory Soap ad. Her career never slowed as she continued in films and television, making guest appearances on many shows, including Friends, Nip/Tuck and Two and a Half Men. Along the way, she portrayed (in flashback) Miley Stewart's mom on Hannah Montana and starred in a couple of shows of her own, Suddenly Susan and more recently, Lipstick Jungle.
During our conversation, it was her poignant and unscripted thoughts about motherhood that revealed her refreshingly real beauty. When asked if her perspective had changed on her career and striking a healthy balance since becoming a mother, she said that “it is constantly being negotiated in my mind." While she was always an incredibly focused performer who often made work the priority over her personal life, that all changed when she had children. “It shifted. (It used to be) the desire for work to be the entirety of your life...having children changes that," she said. "Now the desire to enjoy my life is right in front of my face.”
That's why this film was important to her. “I liked to go to work and bring home laughter. I’m a fuller mom when I work.” She loves to share her passion with her children. "You want your kids to look up to you -- you want to earn their respect.”
It wasn’t all serious talk, however. Furry Vengeance is a comedy after all, and Brooke said she had “the best time she’s ever had working on a film.” On Brendan Fraser, who also is the film's executive producer, she had nothing but the highest praise, calling him “one of the most incredible talents I’ve ever worked with.”
She believes this movie will entertain all ages because it fills that gap between adult and kid films with humor that appeals to all and won’t leave the grown-ups checking their watches. While there are plenty of scenes filled with physical and slapstick comedy, she hints that adults will particularly appreciate the end credit. They are laden with dance montages and spoofs of the stars’ past films. And she even pokes fun at herself.
“For 20 years I have refused The Blue Lagoon,” she groans. But look for a funny reference to the film before the house lights come up.
Good-natured humor about being good to nature sounds like a must-see movie for any family.
-- Tracey Henry, the Suburban Diva
[Photos: Top (Summit Entertainment), Brooke Shields, Brendan Fraser, Matt Prokop and Skyler Samuels in Furry Vengeance; below (Getty Images) Brooke with her family, daughters Grier and Rowan and husband Chris Henchy].