Interview By: Michael Dance
Leslie Bibb is one of the rare actresses to get steady work in TV and film. She can do comedy and drama; she hasn’t appeared in the tabloids or any reality shows; and she’s managed to stay under the
radar without falling off the face of the earth.
The ability to stay out of the tabloids is perhaps most surprising: when you’re as attractive as Bibb is, and you got your big break playing a bitchy teen goddess in the TV drama Popular, you could fall into that
trap rather easily. Bibb, though, insists she’s as normal as possible, and is uncomfortable with the behavior of the Lohans of the world. “People are like, ‘Well, I’m just being a real person!’” she says. “But it’s like —
people look up to you. That’s the price of admission with this job. I’m not saying you can’t screw up. People get DUIs, people get in fights with their boyfriends, it happens, life happens, but it’s about being
accountable for your actions. I don’t know. I’m just not that girl, I don’t go to clubs. I’m a pretty normal girl. That’s why I love Gwyneth – she’s a normal girl.”
She’s speaking of course of Gwyneth Paltrow, her co-star – and in some ways, romantic rival – in the new blockbuster Iron Man. In the superhero flick, Bibb plays a reporter named Christine Everhart
who interviews – and then is summarily seduced by – Tony Stark, the playboy billionaire and weapons manufacturer played by Robert Downey, Jr. (Paltrow plays Pepper Potts, his loyal assistant.)
“With Christine, she has a very strong sense of right and wrong, of good and evil, and I loved her passion,” Bibb says. “Like, she becomes the conscience of the of the movie, in some way. Every time she appears,
she’s holding up a mirror to
show or the Jon Stewart show, and it’s going this way. It’s all this spin and she’s saying, let’s cut that away. She’s saying to Tony, yes, you can say you’re saving lives, but you’re also killing lives. Yes you can say
you’re liberating people, or you can also say you’re making money from killing people. So I loved that passion in her.”
It’s true, Christine does call Tony out – but then, of course, she sleeps with him. “Yeah, she’s dark and flawed, and she ends up in the sack with him,” Bibb says. “She didn’t sleep with him for a story, but she got
into [his mansion], and she looks around. It’s definitely like, what could you get? And I love that turn when you see Pepper and Christine starts asking her questions. Even though she’s literally scantily clad, she’s
like, well, you never know when a story comes, and you’ve got to take it. If the story’s good, if you beg, steal, or borrow, you could either win a Pulitzer prize, or if it comes out crappy, you could get everyone to turn
against you. It’s a hard job. You could really crack something amazing, or you could get skewered.”
And while Bibb admits that “it’s always more fun to play the devil than the angel,” she found a lot in her character to empathize with. “I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve definitely made mistakes in my life, and it’s
not always a perfect path, so I think her path leaves you thinking: well where does it go? Christine’s a person in the movie that really gets to Tony.
she did. But she still has enough balls to show up and say, ‘Hey pal, yeah, you’ve seen me naked, but I’ve seen you naked, so give me the story. I love that.”
Enough to be up for a sequel? Absolutely, Bibb says. “There’s something in that passion for that girl – hopefully you’ll see her again. Hopefully there’s a bigger story being told.”
With a $100 million opening weekend, the sequel definitely will happen – but whether or not she’s in it, Bibb will be busy for a while. She’ll appear in the horror films Midnight Meat Train and Trick ‘r Treat
next year, followed by Confessions of a Shopaholic, based on the bestselling novel. Not a bad slate for a tabloid-evading, under-the-radar star.