- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Tea Leoni was billed as the "dream girl" for a bit part in her first feature film, the 1991 gender-swap comedy "Switch." The label could not have been more prophetic for the former Sarah Lawrence College student.
Miss Leoni, a lively and uninhibited 35-year-old supermom with a self-deprecating sense of humor, easily survived that Blake Edwards bomb. She went on to star in the underrated sitcom "The Naked Truth" and such high-profile feature films as "Bad Boys," "Deep Impact" and "The Family Man," pairing her with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Now dodging dinosaurs as the leading lady of "Jurassic Park III," Miss Leoni relaxes on the lot at Universal Studios in Los Angeles to discuss the film and life with Madelaine, her baby girl with husband David Duchovny.

Q: Were you a big fan of the first two "Jurassic Park" movies?
A: I was gob-smacked by the first one. I still remember the theater and who I saw it with. I remember thinking, "I wish I could have been Laura Dern in that." I thought it was a historic moment. It was the first time we had ever seen dinosaurs come alive in such a way.
Q: Did all those action scenes in "Jurassic Park III" help you get fit?
A: They did. I was out of shape at the beginning of this movie, which was a stupid move on my part. I should have hit the gym a little bit — duh. But I didn't, and I suffered for it; I was sore. This movie actually got me in shape. Now I'm back to not being in shape, but for a while there, I was really something.
Q: Did you compare movie creatures with David, who was working on "Evolution" at the time?
A: Yeah, David has a whole history with creatures. We didn't really compare notes because most of my creatures, I like to call them my babies, were puppets. That's a really ridiculous word when they weigh 6 tons and can snap you like a toothpick, especially if [special-effects wizard] Stan Winston's having one of his moods.
Q: Since you have a toddler, are we going to be seeing you in fewer films now?
A: I just finished a film with Al Pacino last winter, and then I literally just finished next year's Woody Allen project. So I'm tired. I've had a really incredible run, and now I need to take a little break.
Q: How excited were you to work with Woody Allen on "Hollywood Ending"?
A: He had asked me to work with him about three years ago, and I was pregnant. I remember writing to him saying, "I can't do this film for reasons that will become extremely apparent in about eight months, but please call me again. Please, please, please, please, please." It was a total dream come true.
Q: What can you tell us about your next film, "People I Know"?
A: "People I Know," with Al Pacino, was also a dream come true. The best way that I can describe that experience is, it's like playing tennis with someone who is so much better than you are. No matter where you hit it in their court, they will hit it back well. Then you can be playful, because you have confidence in the person on the other side of the net. They can handle whatever you give them and it becomes fun.
Q: Will you and David ever work together?
A. No, I don't want to do that. David and I have a pristine relationship. I don't want to look into his eyes and tell a little white lie, even if it's acting. However, the minute he sits down to write a script, there had better be a part for me in it, and I want him to direct it. That'll work well.

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