Marisa Miller, who appeared in seven SI Swimsuit issues (2002-08) including the 2008 cover, is set to make her big screen debut in RIPD, which opens July 19th. The film also stars Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon and Mary Louise-Parker. SwimDaily spoke with Marisa about her movie debut, transitioning from modeling to acting and the famous iPod picture.
SwimDaily: So tell me how the movie came about.
Marisa Miller: I'd been asked to come in and read for things here and there but I knew it was definitely a transition from modeling and I wanted to give it my full attention. I was sent this script and all I heard was that I basically had to embody Jeff Bridges, which to me sounded pretty far off and really complicated. But when I read the script and I got the humor, I thought it was really, really funny. I could see Ryan Reynolds' and Jeff Bridges' dynamic throughout and how funny it would be. Then I was thinking, 'this is one role I'm dying to play.' When I went in to read, it felt really natural and I'm happy it did because it can be intimidating doing your first movie with a cast like this. I was really lucky that the material was so fun.
SD: Were you a Big Lebowski fan?
MM: Oh yeah. Who isn't? One of the things I did when I was getting ready for the role is that I watched The Big Lebowski and True Grit for three days. I really tried to immerse myself in Jeff Bridges. The character is a cowboy so True Grit was pretty close to that.
SD: I see Kevin Bacon is in the movie as well. What is your favorite Kevin Bacon movie?
MM: Honestly, I think I was more intimidating to meet him because he's such a pro and I'm a huge fan of his. He's been in so many movies it's hard to pick. He was in A Few Good Men which is a great movie. He's an incredible actor.
SD: What about Footloose?
MM: I still haven't seen that movie!
SD: Was acting a tough transition from modeling?
MM: It's good that I had the swimsuit experience because I wasn't nervous in front of the camera but there's a lot going on while you're acting and you kind of want to forget the camera is there. With this role too, there's a lot of action involved and i'm pretty athletic so it was fun to play on one of my strengths and get to do my own stunts because that was a huge part of the role. That part was really fun and allowed me to use that side of myself and do some of the action.
SD: Do you have a favorite all-time movie.
MM: I was just talking to my husband about this. I think I've seen Erin Brokovich more than any other movie. That and The Break Up with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston. I love that movie, too.
SD: Would you say you were more nervous on your first day shooting SI Swimsuit or shooting the film?
MM: Wow. Honestly, I'd say SI Swimsuit because that was at the very beginning of my career and I was still such a tomboy. Being in front of the camera, being in a bathing suit was all new to me. I was definitely not a girly-girl so the process was a huge stretch from my personality. I was a really shy girl back then.
SD: When you look back at Swimsuit, do any specific shoots or photos come to mind?
MM: I have so many great memories shooting for Sports Illustrated and there were so many unique shoots we did. The one shoot that was probably my favorite was the Iowa shoot because it was so fun and it was the All-American issue. It was all shot in America and way different than going to the beach so that issue was pretty special to me. And when they invited me to do the 50th annual of just Sports Illustrated and I got to recreate some of those iconic images of Christie Brinkley and Heidi Klum and even Tyra [Banks]. I had to recreate one of her pictures.
SD: The photo I get asked about most is the iPod one. Where does that rank?
MM: You know what's funny is that's the great thing when you're shooting -- you don't really know what will be "the shot" that will make it in the magazine and everyone will love. When we were shooting the iPod it was really quick. It was one of those things where we were like, "Is this going to look weird? Is it going to be silly? is it going to look great?" We had no idea but we went for it. We probably only shot it for five minutes and I didn't really think about it until I saw that it opened the music issue. Then I called my dad and said, "Hey, can you sorta skip the beginning and go right into the middle."
SD: What are you plans for the near future?
MM: I had a baby in December so i had some reshoots for the movie right after he was born. This is my first thing back from baby is doing press for movie and I'm excited for what's to come after this.