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Paz de la Huerta on 'Boardwalk' Nudity: 'It's Natural to Be Sexual'

Wonderwall, Friday, September 23, 2011, 2:05pm (PDT)
  • New York native Paz de la Huerta has had one of the most remarkable years of her career. Her show "Boardwalk Empire" has been showered with Emmys and Golden Globes, and there has been lots of buzz over her scantily clad character, Lucy. Outside of the show, she's gotten attention for her eclectic fashion choices and occasionally wild behavior. With "Boardwalk Empire" returning to HBO Sunday for its second season, Paz chatted with Wonderwall about her character, being comfortable in her own skin and what she's looking forward to out of her career.

    Wonderwall: What is in store for Lucy this season?

    Paz de la Huerta: "The audience is going to see the real side of Lucy, kind of stripped of everything she had, because one, she is not with 'Nucky' [Steve Buscemi] anymore. In the first season she was very insecure; in those ages, it wasn't like women could have the opportunity that women have now. She thought the only way to get what she wanted was through her sexuality. This season, she is still very sexy, but the audience will see her more vulnerable and just stripped of everything materialistic. They will realize how courageous she is: She will not stop at anything to get what she needs."

    WW: Are you comfortable playing such a sultry character?

    PDLH: "Why should I be uncomfortable? In order to be a good actress you have to be able to get naked, and when I say that I mean naked emotionally. America is such a prude country; I am European and nothing is wrong with nudity. Its natural to be sexual; sex is a big part of life."

    WW: Do you enjoy dressing up in the period costumes for the show?

    PDLH: "John Dunn [costume designer] is a genius. They are the most impeccable costumes. You go into the costumes department and it's like 200 people. The '20s is an era of clothes that I wouldn't say its my favorite. … I personally like '40s, '50s style more. Lucy Danziger definitely embodies [a sexual revolution] because right before the '20s, it was all about corsets, and then the '20s came along and women stopped wearing bras and wore these loose dresses, so that they felt very free and open."

    WW: How do you manage to keep your personal life private during the busiest year of your career?

    PDLH: "I think it's really a choice. I am not in this business to be famous. If that comes with the territory, then so be it. I've always used what I do as like therapy for me; it's how I heal. When I work with directors, I don't really want them to know what's going on in my private life, because how I get to a certain point emotionally is none of anybody's business. You have to be in it for the right reason. Here are some people that think it's all about looking good and wearing fashionable clothes and this and that, but that is not what it's all about. I know for me, I feel acting has saved me. I don't think I would be a functional person if I wasn't an actress."

  • WW: What do you hope to achieve in your future?

    PDLH: "I was also very ill as a child -- I have lymphatic problems, and I spent a lot of time in the hospital alone. I volunteer at the Children's Hospital in L.A., and I would love to make enough money so that I could open up hospitals/schools/orphanages for children to try to give them opportunities. That's my ultimate dream."

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