ABOVE: LINDY BOOTH WITH DONALD FAISON IN KICK-ASS 2. IMAGE COURTESY OF DANIEL SMITH/UNIVERSAL PICTURES
Lindy Booth had already been working alongside Jim Carrey for two days when she was finally able to gather up the courage to introduce herself.
“I blushed and turned around,” she admits, a fit of laughter escaping her throat. “I’m painfully shy.” Booth, who fondly recalls Ace Ventura (“I remember thinking, ‘Who is this man and why is his face like that?’ “) from her childhood, was tongue-tied on a breezy sound stage in Mississauga, Canada early last September. “Every once in a while, you would look at him and be like, ‘Oh my God, that’s Jim Carrey.’ I would get little butterflies in my stomach all over again.”
The Toronto-born actress, who stars alongside Carrey, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Chloë Grace Moretz in Kick-Ass 2 this Friday, couldn’t be more excited about what is arguably her largest role yet. But at 34, Booth is no novice; fearlessly having held her own along the likes of Eliza Dushku and Zack Snyder. Onscreen, she illuminates as a wisecracking superheroine extraordinaire “Night Bitch.”
Booth answered our phone call at her Los Angeles home on a Friday morning in August. She had just opened a bottle of nail polish.
LINDY BOOTH: You just caught me about to paint my toenails.
JOHN TAYLOR: [laughs] What color?
BOOTH: A fabulous shade of green called “naughty nautical.”
TAYLOR: I’m assuming this is your day off.
BOOTH: This is the day off in which I do all those millions of things that we all do on “days off,” where all of a sudden you have 8,000 loads of laundry, going to the bank and shopping, and toenail painting.
TAYLOR: Even George Clooney has to pay the electric bill, right? [Booth laughs] Finish this sentence for me? “The Famous Jett…”
BOOTH: “Jackson.” I was actually just emailing with my best girlfriend Jodi—she was the wardrobe girl on that show. That show is constantly on my mind. I mean, working for Disney felt like a rite of passage.
TAYLOR: Do you remember that audition?
BOOTH: I remember the audition very clearly, thinking that Shaun Levy was insane. I had never been in an audition where the director was running around the room and literally jumping out of the seat.
TAYLOR: This was when you were living in Toronto?
BOOTH: I was. My mom drove me—she was really good at things like that.
TAYLOR: I love it. Supportive parents make such a monumental difference.
BOOTH: My mom, dad, and sister have all watched every episode of everything I’ve ever done.
TAYLOR: Even the roles where you die? I have to say, preparing for this interview was a bit spooky as you have the tendency to die onscreen.
BOOTH: My dad is so sensitive, and he hates movies where I die. Everything I do, the first question is “Do you die in this one?” There’s definitely a lot of like, looking away from the screen.
TAYLOR: So everything then.
BOOTH: Everything. My poor sister was forced to be in the plays that I would write. We would go to my grandma’s retirement building and perform Phantom of the Opera. We built a boat—cardboard boxes that my mom had thrown out… we [still] have the playbills. I’ve inherited a box of amazing but truly ridiculous things that my mom has kept over the years. I was like, “Oh, this all makes sense now, where I’ve landed.”
TAYLOR: Have you ever reached a point in your career where you’re asking yourself, “What the hell am I doing?”
BOOTH: No. I literally think that if you’re in this business, it has to be the only thing you can and want to do, because it’s so hard. You have to be fully committed—and partially insane—to wake up every morning and be like, “I’m an actor.” I have it in my blood. It’s in every pore of my body. There’s always something awesome about every project, even with the worst ones. I try to remind myself every time I think about complaining that there are way worse jobs than mine.
TAYLOR: Big budget productions—superhero films among them—can be stressful. What got you through Kick-Ass 2?
BOOTH: I had a very revealing costume on.
TAYLOR: Did you have to go on a diet?
BOOTH: I didn’t, but my costume is very boob- and stomach-exposing, so I worked out really crazy hard to get that superhero girl kind of body. It was funny because everyone was like, “Are you eating nothing?” I was eating more, unfortunately it was that boring, good-for-you food: a lot of kale, beans, legumes, tofu, fish grilled with lemon. I remember our very last day. Two hours before they wrapped, they brought in some zucchini pizza. When they called wrap, I ate that whole pizza so fast, and no offense to zucchini, but it was a stupid pizza. [Taylor laughs] It was freezing cold, not even good pizza to begin with, and I refused to share it with anyone.
TAYLOR: “It’s over!”
BOOTH: As my make-up girl Rachel was taking out my hair, I had a pizza in my face. I wasn’t even breathing or chewing. I just needed some sort of carby, fatty, zucchini goodness. I’m well aware that there’s a huge difference between movie body and real-life body, and I couldn’t wait to get back to real-life.
TAYLOR: I once read that while filming X-Men, Hugh Jackman lived on a diet of steamed chicken breasts and water.
BOOTH: Yeah, but have you seen Wolverine?! It’s one of those things we do—you know, they’re going to put your whole body on a screen and then everyone is going to talk about it and judge it. So there’s another level of commitment. I just thought, if I’m going to be a superhero, I’m going to look like one.
TAYLOR: Is it frightening, watching yourself on a screen several stories high?
BOOTH: It’s funny. My mom says this too, that watching me onstage is like watching a whole other person come out. The most terrifying thing in the world was having to give a speech at my girlfriend’s wedding. I was physically shaking and sweating the entire time.
TAYLOR: How’d you get through it?
BOOTH: I had a glass of wine beforehand. [both laugh] I had to tell myself that it wasn’t about me, it was about her. It didn’t matter if I spoke perfectly, was loud, or peed myself, which I didn’t do.
TAYLOR: I’m glad.
BOOTH: [laughs] It’s so much easier for me to get up and be someone else than expressing my own thoughts and feelings. There’s definitely something about creating a cloak of a character that helped me deal with my shyness.
TAYLOR: Would that make “Lindy Booth” your alter ego?
BOOTH: Yeah. I definitely have an alter ego that can come out and get me out of situations where I’m having social anxiety. I can take a deep breath and create a bubble so I can perform in some way.
TAYLOR: Let’s say this “Lindy Booth” is a superhero. If you had a superpower, what would it be?
BOOTH: I would fly. I’m terrified of heights, but I think there’s something really beautiful about birds and soaring, having a bird’s-eye view of the world.
TAYLOR: What’s the most heroic thing you’ve ever done?
BOOTH: I feel like I’m a pretty great friend. I’m always there for friends when they need me. It’s a little heroic thing, but I think the consistency in which I’m there for them is kind of heroic. It’s kind of the message of Kick-Ass—real superheroes don’t exist; it’s these little things that we do that make us heroes.
TAYLOR: With great power comes great responsibility. Unrelated question, but did you ever finish painting your toenails?
BOOTH: No, I gave you my full, undivided attention.
TAYLOR: I appreciate that, that was very heroic of you.
KICK ASS 2 OPENS TODAY, AUGUST 16.