She’s the fifth highest-paid actress in Hollywood, with a successful TV series (Grey’s Anatomy) and two blockbuster romcoms (Knocked Up and 27 Dresses) topping her CV. She famously described Knocked Up as ‘sexist, painting the women as shrews’, went through heavy-handed and very public salary negotiations at Grey’s and withdrew from last year’s Emmy race because she didn’t feel she was given the material to warrant a nomination. In a (male-dominated) business where diplomacy counts for more than honesty, an actress saying what she actually thinks upsets the status quo.
You’ve said you have an opinion about almost everything. So what’s off-limits?
Nothing, actually, though people misunderstand that. Lately I’ve been getting a lot of crap from people thinking that I shouldn’t have an opinion.
Would you describe yourself as something of a feminist?
I’m not out burning bras, but I’m very opinionated about women owning their power. I look back at my twenties and see that I was much less confident. You repress how you really feel because society tells us what women think isn’t valid, that we’re frivolous and shallow.
How does it feel to be officially the fifth highest-paid actress in Hollywood?
That’s awesome. I didn’t know that. I have a tendency to go, ‘Oh my God, there’s nowhere for this to go but down’, but I should take a minute to appreciate that. If it all goes away tomorrow? I’ll be OK, too.
Your new movie, The Ugly Truth, explores how to manipulate men. Did you ever try any of the techniques?
I think a lot of women innately know how to play their hand. I’m not a big one for the rules.
How important are your looks to you?
I always assume I look better than I actually do. I’ll feel pretty good about myself when I leave the house, then I’ll see a picture and think, ‘Crap, I had no idea that’s what I was looking like.’
When do you think you’ll move on from doing romcoms?
I know I’m catching some crap for it, but I really like doing them. People keep asking me if I want to do anything more serious, or Oscar-worthy, and I do, but I’m not quite there yet.
This is an edited version. To read the full interview, pick up the new August edition of Marie Claire, out today.SEE KATHERINE HEIGL PHOTOS