The rising Hollywood star talks about getting fired in Wayland, early success and kissing Zac Efron.
Taylor Schilling, 27, stars opposite Zac Efron in the new movie The Lucky One. After growing up in West Roxbury and Wayland, she graduated from Fordham University and entered NYU’s graduate acting program, but left after her second year to pursue her career. She landed the leading role on the NBC hospital drama Mercy within four months. Her big-screen debut was in Dark Matter (starring Meryl Streep), and she’s currently in production on Ben Affleck’s third directorial effort, the CIA thriller Argo, in which she plays Affleck’s wife. She lives in New York.
So is Zac Efron a good kisser?
Yes. The answer to that is yes. No bones about it.
I didn’t even know that rumor had started, but he called me up and said, “Did you hear about this?” I think his dad told him. [Laughs.]
[Laughs.] Is this the bonus round in “Let’s Try to Kill Your Career”?
That I changed my birth certificate, and that I’m actually someone else. Who’d do that? And who’d care enough to try and find out?
No. But there are things on there that make absolutely no sense, and Ben Affleck made fun of me for it. Because I live in New York, I have as one of my special skills that I can drive a car. When I first got out of acting school, I included a lie about being able to run long distances. I’m not sure how that was going to further my career.
I don’t really know his music, but I think he’s cute. I look at all those pictures of him and think, “Sweet little goober.”
God, yes! All the time! I have no idea. I’m actually trying to cultivate friends who know that kind of stuff so they can keep me in the loop, but I have no clue. I do know Snooki is pregnant, though.
I don’t think you’d put him in the Justin Bieber category of goober, no. [Laughs.] He’s incredibly smart and incredibly funny.
That’s such a fun question. Going on set with Ben, who was a director I was dying to work with, and especially coming from Boston, there was a bit of that. But also, I met Steven Soderbergh not long ago, and I was a little awed by his presence.
I may have done a little bit of my father, yeah. And if my dad’s reading this, you don’t really have one! It’s something I make up. In my brain, my father has one.
I don’t bring that up. Not a big conversational opener. But I do feel very grateful. And I might not have been a waitress, but I did put in a lot of babysitting hours.
[Laughs.] I wanted to do that but was unable to function in the restaurant setting. I tried to hostess at the Villa Restaurant in Wayland, but they fired me after four days because I couldn’t figure out how seating plans worked. I might also have worn a really short skirt and flip-flops, too, by accident, and they were like, “OK, go home forever.”
I’ve never been a real nurse, so I don’t know. To the best of my knowledge, it’s not easy to save people’s lives with props. But the relationship dynamics seemed pretty believable to me.
I could truly put an IV in your arm if you wanted one. Probably. Although I never really did it on anything but pig skin. But if push comes to shove, and someone’s desperately in need of intravenous fluids, I’m your gal.
I don’t generally get fan mail, but I’ve been receiving letters from a man in Russia, and I don’t know how he’s seen Mercy—probably on the Internet—but he’d like me to be his nurse. And, ah, that’s not gonna happen, but I haven’t let him know yet.
Not at all! I’d never take Zac away from his people. Zac’s a man of the people. There’s no monopoly on Zac Efron, who’s lucky enough to have his pick.
I don’t know that I’d call myself that, but if it means I get to work more and act more, I’m all for it. It’s also nice to have help with clothes.
Nobody knows who I am. I mean, check back with me in a year, but I don’t really experience that.
I’ll give you the standard actor’s response: If it was integral to the film, I’d consider it.
No, but I am grateful for the experience of being in that movie.
That is so intimate and personal, I’m not gonna share.… I do have a tattoo. And that’s all you’re gonna get.
Hair: Seiji/The Wall Group; makeup: Tina Turnbow/Ray Brown Reps; styling: Danielle Nachmani/Crosby Carter Management