Piper Perabo From "Coyote Ugly"

by Clubplanet
01.27.2006

-By Jenny Halper piper perabo.jpg Tucked between Christopher and Hudson streets and marked discreetly with “EO,” the bar Employees Only has originated an ingenious trend, pairing mysticism with high-class food and liquor. Steak, scallops, and (of course) first-class cocktails are on the menu, but what’s really of interest is the mysterious woman staring from a window in the front. Walk past her (she’s a psychic) and you’ll find twenty and thirty-something customers discussing fortunes and imagining futures over perfectly mixed drinks. Employees Only’s owner is doing some imagining herself. Piper Perabo boarded the express to hipster stardom when she played a bartender/wanna-be singer in “Coyote Ugly,” so it makes sense that her latest non-career move is to open up Employees Only with a group of friends. Next on her agenda is promoting Ol Parker’s “Imagine Me and You,” in which the club owner and native Jersey girl plays a British newlywed who falls inexplicably in love with her female florist. Q: Can you talk about your new bar? PIPER: I just became an owner of a bar here in the city. I’m one of the owners of this bar called Employees Only, which is on Hudson Street. It just says EO outside, and it’s a psychic parlor, and you have to know that you can just walk in, walk past the psychic and go behind her curtain and there’s a twenties bar in the back. Have you been there? Q: Not yet, unfortunately. PIPER: The guys that make the drinks, they did all the specialty drink menus from McNally’s restaurant and they just really take it seriously. If you like a good cocktail, that’s what you’re going to get there. Q: Why the psychic? PIPER: It was already there. It was a psychic parlor and we built behind her. Q: Does she get more business now? PIPER: A hell of a lot of business. She’s totally like “You’re thirsty,” “You’re about to meet a man at a bar.” Q: Onto “Imagine Me and You.” Do you believe in love at first sight? PIPER: Yes. But I think love can be a terrible thing especially if you thought you knew what it was and you weren’t really being honest, or you didn’t know. When you’re young you break some hearts while you’re figuring out who you are and what’s important to you. I guess there are people that fell in love just once and stayed with that person for their whole life, but they’re a lucky few. Q: Would you consider your character gay or just in love? PIPER: My character is in love. And I think what’s great about this film and progressive about it is there’s no hemming and hawing about “Does this make me gay? Am I gay? Am I a lesbian? What does this mean?” So I think we’re past that initial kind of thing and we can just get on to the love, and the story. Q: “Lost and Delirious” brought you a big lesbian fan base. Is “Imagine Me and You” just a coincidence? PIPER: Plain luck. I feel that I’ve just been lucky that I found two really well written characters. They happen to be lesbians, maybe that’s why they’re so…I don’t know. I just found two well written characters and I really didn’t care who they were sleeping with. Q: If this film was made by a Hollywood studio rather than a British director, how do you think it would be different? PIPER: That’s what I think is interesting and why it’s not a Hollywood film is because I think in a Hollywood romantic comedy the person that you’re leaving behind is always slightly villainous. It’s so clear to the audience who you should be with and what’s interesting about this film and what’s not Hollywood about it is that there is no villain. And gay friends of mine who’ve seen it have loved it. But then maybe they were just saying that to my face…they seem genuine about it. Q: Was the British accent difficult for you? PIPER: I was very aware of trying to be as prepared as I possibly could be by the first day of shooting, so that I could try and just set all that down, as with any kind of preparation. And I hate when I see anybody doing an accent and it’s inconsistent. I find it distracting and laughable so it was frightening to do this film for that reason. Because if you fuck it up in a British film and they could have cast any number of genius British actresses, you look like an ass, you know what I mean? Q: Of the nine films you’ve made over the past two years, what are you most excited about? PIPER: The Piper retrospective will be opening any minute now. It sounds so cliché to say I like this one. I love this one. I think it’s so funny. It’s finally feels so good to not be embarrassed about the film you really like. I’m like “Go see it, you’re going to love it”. Isn’t that a good feeling? Because usually you’re like “It’s called ‘Slap Her, She’s French.’ And I hope you go see it.” And I also did this film with Guy Pierce called “First Snow” that I’m really excited about.
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