Eight years after playing Nomi "I'm not a whore, I'm a dancer!" Malone, Elizabeth Berkley is still haunted by Paul Verhoeven's "Showgirls". Her subsequent career has been low-key, with appearances in movies as diverse as Tom DiCillo's "The Real Blonde", Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday", and Woody Allen's "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion". Now she's in another American indie pic, Dylan Kidd's "Roger Dodger".
How did you get involved in "Roger Dodger" - an independent movie with a first time director?
Well my manager told me not to do it when I got the script. It clashed with another movie, and my manager advised me not to bother with "the little movie". But I ignored him.
You can understand his point of view, as you've worked with some big name directors - Woody Allen, Oliver Stone, Sir Peter Hall (on "Lenny", a seven month play in the West End)..
I'm very grateful, because a lot of actors would kill to work with any one of them. It's been a very conscious choice on my part to work with the best - even if it was taking a small supporting role. After "Showgirls", I really wanted to surround myself with the best people. I wanted to build it that way instead of doing flashy roles just like "Showgirls", which would have hurt me.
After "Showgirls" you were hung up as a scapegoat for the film...
Yeah, and to be flogged and beaten a little bit. Put it this way, there was nothing I didn't hear. It was as cruel as it could get.
What was the first role that helped you recover your self-esteem?
"The First Wives Club" gave me a certain level of confidence. Because I was working with these three women - Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton - who as women have been through every high and low. Goldie especially took me under her wing and was really supportive. She told me, "I don't like the way you were directed in that movie ["Showgirls"], but there's something there that you can't deny. So you just keep doing what you're doing and someone will get it, and someone will show the real you, and not just some idea of you."
So did you enjoy the process of smaller scale movie-making on "Roger Dodger"?
I really loved it. On set, it was like being part of a real family. Everybody was there because they wanted to be and not because of some pay cheque - there were no dressing rooms or big trailers; you'd get ready in a bathroom. Here's this $2 million movie that could have gone nowhere or everywhere. But it's one of the most special experiences that I've ever had. I want more similar experiences. I'm not 'Showgirl' - that's the point!
"Roger Dodger" opens in UK cinemas on Friday 15th August 2003.