I recently heard a Rumer – as in Rumer Willis – that easily rejects any notions about children of Hollywood stars growing up to be spoiled brats.
In her first public appearance promoting “The House Bunny” -- albeit in a press conference with co-stars that included, “American Idol” face Katharine McPhee and Emma Stone (“The Rocker,” “Superbad”) – this 20-year-old Rumer sounded like a perfectly grounded young woman.
“This was really a pretty cool learning experience for me,” Willis said about her first co-starring film role (even though she had cameos with dad Bruce Willis in “The Whole Nine Yards” and “Hostage” and opposite mom Demi Moore in both “Striptease” and “Now and Then.”)
“Besides the joy of working with Anna Faris and all the other girls, it’s the first female comedy from Adam Sandler’s production company, so this is really a big deal,” she continued. “I feel really grateful to be a part of it.”
Young Willis, who just celebrated a birthday Aug. 16, plays one of a few geeky sorority sisters who get a makeover treatment from the down-on-her-luck Playboy Bunny (Faris) that becomes their housemother. Willis’s very shy Joanne, in fact, is doubly cursed by the back brace she wears throughout the movie.
“There was a lot of time when we everyone would be lounging on a couch and I’d be sitting straight up on a stool,” Willis said. “One time I actually couldn’t get up. We were all on a blanket and I was a on my back and felt like a turtle. Our director Fred (Wolf) came over and I tried to get up and couldn’t. He thought I was kidding, and then I rolled over and was able to stand up."
“I actually had a lot of fun with the brace. It kind of became my purse and I wouldn’t let the prop guys take it away from me. It was quite nice to have something to work with.”
Believe it or not, despite her star-studded upbringing, Rumer even claimed to relate to her character. “I was a big dork in high school,” she said. “I enjoyed being a computer nerd and grew up through some things with braces and glasses and this big curly ‘fro and wasn’t necessarily too active with the social crowds.
“I definitely understand kind of not exactly fitting in, but I think everyone has their own version of feeling out of place. One of the great things that we have the ability do here is to show that it’s all right to have that awkward phase. It’s not about whether you’re the popular girl or the nerdy girl, it’s about being confident and comfortable with who you are and where you fit in and accept it.”
Any advice from Mom and Dad before getting involved in the whole filmmaking process?
“They’re just both very supportive and, I think, that support is the most important thing any parent can give a kid,” Rumer concluded. “I’m probably one of the luckiest girls around. I kind of grew up on movie sets, but there’s also a real shift in your mindset when you go from being sort of an accessory sitting in a trailer and hanging out to actually acting in a front of camera. Obviously, I don’t think I would be the same person without it all.”
John M. Urbancich
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