(Lenny Gilmore / RedEye )
You may lament missing “For A Good Time, Call” star Ari Graynor when she spent a few days in Chicago earlier this month. Until you learn that the 29-year-old Boston native, best known for playing drunken mess Caroline in “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” went for a bike ride—despite her biking abilities being “a danger to myself and others.”
“I get sort of nervous and I’ll be going like this fast—which for those people that are reading this can’t see that it’s like practically in slow motion—but I’m like swerving all over the place,” says Graynor outside on a 17th-floor terrace at the Public Hotel. “Yesterday I caused a little bit of a pileup where I sort of stopped, and I didn’t know who was going where, and then two other bikers hit each other because of me. But I keep trying and hoping I’ll get more confident ... Everyone survived; I don’t get what the big deal is!”
Graynor’s presence is welcome everywhere but the bike lane. Besides “Nick and Norah’s,” she’s had stand-out roles in “Whip It,” “Youth in Revolt” and “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” and she finally gets to shine in a major starring role in “For a Good Time, Call,” opening Aug. 31.
In the film, Katie (Graynor) and Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller, Seth Rogen’s wife) hate sharing a New York apartment until becoming BFFs when Lauren decides to help Katie with her work as a phone sex operator. Miller co-wrote the script with her former Florida State University roommate Katie Anne Naylon, who actually did spend time as a phone sex operator, and the two penned the part of Katie with Graynor in mind. Thanks, ladies!
Some people will go to “For a Good Time, Call” and giggle or blush. What’s a movie that gives you that reaction?
AG: It’s hard to make me blush.
LM: I’ll never forget when I saw “[There’s] Something about Mary” in the theater. I remember that was one of the first movies that I saw when I was a little bit older and I knew a little bit more about sex and was able to really get what was going on in that movie and really enjoyed it and laughed at it. I don’t know if it made me blush, but I remember that being among the first of the R-rated movies that were like, “Oh, this is different than what I’ve been watching before.”
AG: I remember when I was a little girl—or young. [Laughs.] Maybe I shouldn’t start the story by saying, “When I was a little girl.” But I remember when I first watched “Dirty Dancing.”
LM: Oh my God.
AG: That’s when I first felt like kind of turned on for the first time. [Laughs.] That and “Top Gun.”
How old were you?
AG: I don’t know.
LM: I was 5 or 6 when I saw “Dirty Dancing.”
AG: So I must have been around the same age.
LM: And my dad didn’t want me to watch the full thing and so he took two VCRs and literally made an edited version—
LM: Of “Dirty Dancing” without all the sex. And I didn’t know.
AG: But there’s no sex. It’s just dirty dancing!
LM: Even so …
AG: The part that I remember thinking (gasp), “Oh my God,” and felt my face flush and my body tingle a little bit was when they start dancing and he takes off her shirt and you see his hand on her back with her bra …
LM: Yeah, I didn’t see that. That happens in there?!
Regarding “For a Good Time, Call,” what do you think is the point of phone sex?
LM: A lot of people will say to us, “Don’t you think phone sex is outdated? How can you still be talking about it?” But the truth is A. I watch TV and every night after 11:30 see at least three phone sex ads, so it’s clearly happening, but I think what phone sex provides is this sort of anonymity—that you can call someone and no one’s going to see your face. If you were web chatting, people will see your face.
AG: I also think that with phone sex, our society right now, there’s just every way, everywhere to be disconnected from people. People are spending more and more time alone and on their computer and it’s a little bit of intimacy. It’s a little bit of one-on-one intimacy but that is safe. That you don’t actually have to reveal yourself. But you can have a little personal connection, which I think everyone wants.
And when guys call and say “Hi, this is George Clooney,” there might be a chance that it’s him.
AG: Maybe it’s him.
LM: Who knows? I’ve heard that George is into the phone sex.
AG: We’re going to call him later and talk dirty to him and see what he thinks about it.