Transcript of Jennifer Beals chat on Reddit

 

This afternoon Jennifer participated on a web chat on reddit.com

Here’s the transcript of the chat:

Hi guys. I am doing this AMA to make people aware of the toxic chemicals legislation going on right now. One piece of legislation is called the Chemical Safety Improvement Act, and the other is the US Chemicals in Commerce Act. If you are tired of feeling like you need a PhD in toxicology to be a competent parent, or to feel like a healthy human being on this planet, I would encourage you to go to http://saferchemicals.org to get updated and get involved. I am also doing this custom fundraiser http://lwordbook.com to help support the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center.
This is also to help support my ex-husband’s campaign as well.
Ask me anything!

Was there a single, most significant film, tv show, or piece of art that made a surprising impact on your life? (As an artist, I’m sure your answer is yes, of course) What is it?
Jennifer: There were several projects that were like initiations for me, helping me to rise to a different level of understanding in my life. The first was In The Soup which I did with Alexandre Rockwell. I suddenly was in a film that was not so much about commerce ( what are our numbers? Will the soundtrack travel? Etc) but in a film that was purely about the joy of storytelling. Working with Steve Buscemi, Sam Rockwell and Seymour Cassell gave me a completely different understanding of what acting could be. It was incredibly freeing. The other seminal project that comes to mind is The L Word. I cannot even begin to tell you how many ways that project has changed my life. I was introduced to the notion of how impactful a story can be on peoples’ day to day lives, how transformative it can be. I was introduced to fearless, unapologetic women and men who we’re choosing to live their lives authentically in the face of a government and a culture that was knowingly and sometimes unknowingly trying to erase them by not including them in their stories or any kind of meaningful legislation. It made me realize how important it is to live your life as authentically as possible, whoever you may be and whatever your situation may be. We don’t serve anyone by hiding our light under the bed.

I currently go to University of Houston. Is there anything I can do or start up there to help with your cause? Thank you so much for doing this AMA!
Jennifer: Thank you for your willingness to help! For the toxic chemical control issues there are a few things you could do. For information and updates you can contact saferchemicals.org To support Mount Sinai’s Children’s Environmental Health Center I’m offering a book that I made based on The L Word. Proceeds go to support CEHC. You can go to Lwordbook.com
I’m also actively supporting my ex-husband Alexandre Rockwell’s Kickstarter campaign. Check out out the link above. I’ve offered to be your outgoing voice in your voicemail as have Sam Rockwell, Steve Buscemi and other actors in the Rockwell troupe.

When they dropped the bucket of water on you in the chair scene, was the water warm or cold?
Jennifer: Cold. Awful.

With all items/products in the world, how do you propose to rid toxic chemicals from all products? I’m sure there are products/ items you use which have toxic chemicals. This is a dinging task which may not have a catch-all solution.
Jennifer: I think obviously as a consumer you do the best that you can. But as you’ve pointed out you can’t entirely shop your way around the problem. I think the best we can do is be mindful about how we shop. Safer Chemicals has a great campaign letting stores know that we as consumers are minding the store and are asking them to be mindful of what they put on the shelves. Walmart has already agreed to be part of this campaign and we’re hoping Walgreens will join the campaign as well.
We can also be very vocal about changing legislation. The Toxic Substance Control Act was implemented in 1976. By all accounts, from both sides of the aisle, this Act is broken and needs to be addressed. More than 80,000 chemicals have gone into the market place UNTESTED as to their toxicity regarding human health or the environment. To me it’s no wonder that pediatric cancer rates are rising at an unheard of rate not commensurate with any kind of genetic changes. It’s definitely time to let your legislators know you want MEANINGFUL change and not just change that bows down to the large chemical companies. As an example of an everyday type of chemical with which we interface almost everyday, phthalates,are found in many cosmetics, skin care products, cologne, scented body wash, vinyl flooring and shower curtains are linked to lower sperm count, prostrate cancer, birth defects of the reproductive organs both male and female. I think having a green chemical initiative would be incredibly helpful. We don’t want to go back to the Stone Age. I think we raise the bar and encourage the new wave of chemists to create something that won’t ultimately destroy our bodies and out environment.

If you weren’t in the entertainment industry, what would you be doing?
Jennifer: Probably photo journalism…but honestly it’s very hard for me to imagine not acting, or producing. Right now I’m working on a project with Oren Moverman for HBO that is just mind blowing. I’m in awe of how deftly he and his writing partner Tony Swofford write with such depth and complexity. Writing’s like magic to me.

Where there any really silly/good pranks played behind the scenes of 4 rooms. As watching the movie and absolutely loving it and super hilarious there must of been some over the top funny stuff that happend if so can you tell us a story?
How was it working with the crew of Frasier I’ve read in a few interviews he’s quite the perfectionist is this true?

Jennifer: I loved working on Four Rooms! Everyday was a continuous prank! Alex likes to have fun on set. It’s a very free place to be. I think my favorite moment was having to recite all the different names for penis. Hilarious.
I’m sure they had a good time on Alex’s new film Little Feet. He wrote the film with his daughter Lana and it’s just gorgeous. This type of film doesn’t come along very often. It’s the kind of film that’s made from a genuine, pure almost child like creative impulse. With all of his expertise and despite all of his hardships as a filmmaker ( and no filmmaker is without hardships) Alex has somehow embraced the beginner’s mind. This is one of those films where when you see it in the darkened theater you embark in the collective dream of the illogic/logic of childhood and what it means to grieve and then go again towards life, the dream of magical thinking is alive and well in Little Feet.
Fraser. Hmmm. I only had one day of shooting. Everyone was very professional, but it didn’t notice any untoward perfectionism.

I’m so glad you’re on social media! What made you finally go against what you have always said and join? Love that you’re on Reddit. I just wanted to know what the turning point was.
Jennifer: A friend of mine sat me down and said ‘Look, you have things you believe in, you like to listen to other peoples’ stories-this is a great place to help create community.’ When I realized it didn’t have to be just about gibble gabble or mean spiritedness and it could be about something good and maybe even meaningful I thought I would give it a shot.

If you woke up tomorrow and discovered you were Bruce Willis, what’s the first thing you would do?
Jennifer: I’d rub my beautiful, bald head and get the party started. I’d book a trip to Washington meet with Senators and give the so-called Chemical Safety Improvement Act a swift kick in the butt. Then I might have a martini. Because I’m Bruce. And I can do whatever I want.

What was it like to work with Gary Oldman? He seems like when he walks by there is a shock wave of crazy and awesome following like the sonic boom of a jet.
Same question for working with Christopher Walken?

Jennifer: It was absolute heaven working with Gary. Dedicated, funny, inclusive, beyond talented. In his own realm.
Walken was also a delight. I was so young, though when I worked with him. I didn’t quite yet know how to take part in all the magic that was Christopher Walken.

Holy smokes, the time just FLIES by. My apologies for being such a slow typist and not getting to more questions! I have to hop off now and get out onto the road (mid road trip). Thank you so much for your participation, it means a lot to see so many people have taken the time to post questions. Again, my apologies for not being able to answer more. Have a wonderful day!

Jennifer

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