Cameron Diaz

Gangs of New York

Interviewed by Alec Cawthorne

Cameron Diaz's acting debut in "The Mask" was followed by a number of lower-budget movies. She achieved superstar status after the hit comedy "There's Something About Mary". This led to a series of box office hits including "Being John Malkovich", "Charlie's Angels", and "Vanilla Sky". Diaz talks here about working with director Martin Scorsese in "Gangs of New York".

How would you describe your character Jenny?

Jenny's a survivor. Growing up where she did, women didn't really have many options as to how they were going to make a living. Five Points was the lowest of the low in Manhattan. If you can think of the worst ghetto in New York and times it by a million, that's the Five Points.

The women of Five Points, women like Jenny, don't have anything. If they have anything on their back that's all they have. If they're on the streets, they were usually prostitutes. Jenny finds a way out of that line of work and makes a nice little career change and becomes a pickpocket!

So were you taught how to pickpocket for real?

Yeah. One day they just said "We need you to meet the magician. He's a pickpocket and he's going to be teaching you how to pick pockets." And I thought "Right on!"

Tell us about the relationship between your character and Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Amsterdam...

They share something with each other that neither of them has experienced before and they fall in love. And that love re-sparks their hopes and dreams for the future. To be able to work with Leo, who's a friend, is really great because there's that shorthand. It works out a lot easier that way.

And how was working for Martin Scorsese?

To get the opportunity to work with Martin Scorsese, it doesn't matter where you're going or how long you're going to be there. It's about going and having the experience of working with him. I thought it was a great set. I loved being there, working with Marty, Daniel, and Leo and all the other actors on this film. It was like a dream, the ultimate dream, and I feel so fortunate and so grateful that I got to be part of it.