Blake Lively

Lively

by Micah Haley on April 24, 2015

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This exclusive interview with Blake Lively first ran in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Scene Magazine.

The daughter of actor/director Ernie and talent manager Elaine Lively, Blake Lively was born to be a star. After an early role in the hit The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, she was cast in Gossip Girl as Serena van der Woodsen, a role she would inhabit for six seasons on The CW network. All the while, she balanced her small screen success with roles in the feature films New York, I Love You, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, actor/director Ben Affleck’s triumphant actioner The Town and the comic book blockbuster Green Lantern, which was filmed in New Orleans. Now the new face of L’Oreal, she’s also established herself as a fashion icon in the classic sense: a big screen ingénue impeccably styled, equally adored by both men and women.

I met Lively at the opening of H&M’s New Orleans location. The Swedish retailer’s expansion across North American has been swift, since their first store opened on Fifth Avenue in New York. Known for fast-fashion, H&M is the third largest clothing retailer in the world.

The store’s opening on Decatur Street in the French Quarter was grand. On a muggy night, hundreds of H&M fans stood in line to get in. Security was tight, but we were ushered into the store hours before the opening. Inside, the pristine store was accented by staff in masquerade, each stationed to accommodate an awaiting New Orleans crowd. And of course, a few special visitors.

With the first few customers allowed in, familiar faces from the cast of American Horror Story: Coven arrived. Emma Roberts hit the step & repeat first, soon followed by camera flashes and her Coven co-stars Lily Rabe and Sarah Paulsen, who also stars in 12 Years a Slave, the Louisiana-shot historical drama currently in theaters.

Blake Lively appeared fashionably late, surrounded by a buoyant but unusual entourage: the Sunshine Kids. The group gathered close on the red carpet in front of the H&M step and repeat. After smiling for photos that would soon appear across the internet – and in the glossy pages of Scene Magazine – Lively and company made their way through the large, now-crowded store.

The star of Savages made her way to the VIP reception area just outside of the store. She stood in front of an all-red faux candy storefront, the evening’s Willy Wonka of fast fashion. Extra and other national media outlets surrounded her with cameras and questions.

Lively smiled for the cameras. “Somebody asked me at the airport, ‘Are you here for work or pleasure?’And I said, ‘Isn’t it always pleasure in New Orleans?’”

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“I’m here to celebrate the opening of H&M in New Orleans, which is so cool!” said Lively. “It’s great because I’ve got the best dates, the Sunshine Kids, here with me.” The Sunshine Kids is a national non-profit dedicated to children with cancer. For thirty years, it has provided positive group activities and emotional support for young cancer patients.

“We’re all all dressed up in our H&M,” said Lively with her arms around the kids. “We were the first people to shop here today. There’s a huge line of shoppers out there, but these were the first.” Although some of the kids wore fashionable hats, others had already regrown their hair, which had been professionally styled earlier in the evening.

“I keep talking about this Isabel Marant for H&M collection,” said Lively. “That I love! I think that is so cool! Isabel Marant is one of my favorite fashion designers, and the fact that she did a line for H&M that is a sixteenth of the price [of her other lines] is so cool.”

After the newly minted A-lister finished speaking with the national media outlets, she spoke exclusively with Scene.

“When you come back to New Orleans, what’s the one thing you look forward to the most?” I asked. Lively spent the better part of 2010 in New Orleans while filming Green Lantern, a titanic-sized comic book superhero actioner. She portrayed Carol Ferris, a test pilot and the romantic interest of Hal Jordan, a human destined to become a green lantern. While in town, Lively was frequently spotted shopping around the Crescent City.

“The Reuben at Stein’s Deli!” she laughed. “I always talk about food. Have you been to Stein’s?”

“Yes!” I said. “It’s right down the road from Second Line Stages, where my office is.” In 2010, Second Line housed the majority of Green Lantern’s galaxy-sized sets, which Lively called home for months.

“Ahh, it’s so good! The Rachel is actually what I order,” she said. The Rachel is a twist on the classic reuben sandwich, substituting hot pastrami for the standard corned beef, but keeping the swiss, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on rye. Stein’s Deli is perhaps the best sandwich shop in the city. It’s also a great place to get hard-to-find craft beers. I asked her if she’d found anything good to go with the Rachel, but her response was…responsible.

“I don’t drink,” she said.

“Your hair looks great, as always,” I said. “When you’re out in New Orleans on a night like tonight, how do you deal with the humidity?”

“Humidity is never really so cute for hair,” she said. “Maybe I wear my hair up more. Or maybe, I just walk around with my hair not looking as great!” Perhaps hit with a touch self consciousness, she laughed it off, instantly replacing it with self-confidence. “I don’t know! I don’t look in the mirror much when I’m here. I eat too much to look in the mirror when I’m in New Orleans!”

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I laughed. “It is such a great town, and you’ve been kind enough to say so many great things about it. That means a lot to a city that’s been through so much adversity.” While I spoke, Lively broke her gaze with me, looking down intently. Doing an interview while standing up is somewhat strange. Rather than setting down your recording device on a table next to a cup of coffee – my preferred method of interview – you’re holding the recorder up in their face. Or more accurately, right at chest level.

I followed Lively’s gaze down. She was staring at my hands. Palms up, my fingers were wiggling, as if to say, ‘Gimme what ya got!’ She was clearly amused. “This is my thing, by the way,” I said with a grin.

She grabbed my hands. “I know, you’re like a magician over here!” she laughed. “Chris Angel has nothing on you.”

“When you come down here and you want to shop, what’s your thought process? Do you wander with an open mind? Are you a hunter with specific items in mind?”

“What I always look for is a mix. New Orleans has really cool vintage shopping, but what’s neat about having an H&M here is that you get all of these really on trend pieces for an affordable price,” Lively said. “That’s the thing that sucks: when there’s a craze. You don’t want to spend a bunch of money on something that’s trendy. You can splurge more on your key pieces, mix that with some vintage, and then come to this store, which is amazing. I was planning on doing my interviews and then I was like, ‘Can I shop right now. Is that allowed??’

“Plus, you’re right here in the middle of the French Quarter,” I added.

“Yeah, right by Café du Monde!” she said.

“I know! Beignets! Are you a fan? Do you partake?” I asked, betting she’d indulged more than once. If you’re here for more than a day, it’s hard to resist. If you’re here for only a day, it’s practically required. If New Orleans were a cathedral, the fried dough-and-sugar treat would be the host.

“I partake,” she said with a smile. She grabbed my hands again, and I laughed, realizing I was still silently telling Blake to gimme what she’s got.

“I’m not gonna let that go!” she laughed.

“Everyone I know is used to it, apparently,” I said.

“It’s like a little beignet fondle!” she said, still laughing.

“That’s what I do. I love fondling beignets,” I said. Somehow this didn’t seem inappropriate at the time. We had a good laugh, and it was honestly nice to see Lively actually enjoying herself, surrounded by the Sunshine Kids. “Blake, it’s so great to have you here.”

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“Do you have any upcoming projects you can talk about?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said, pulling it together. “I have a movie that I’m about to shoot in the spring. It’s exciting because it takes place in the 1900s to now, so the fashion opportunity in that film is really cool.”

“That’s awesome. Are you going to play a character that spans that time period?” I asked.

“Yes, I am!” she exclaimed. She brought her hands up and began imitating mine. “Fondle the decades!”

“I’m so self-conscious about this now!” I laughed, wiggling my hands for her.

“Don’t be self-conscious about it,” she smiled. “I think it’s cool.”

That film’s working title is The Age of Adaline. Lively is set to play a young woman born at the turn of the twentieth century who is rendered ageless after a near-fatal accident. After she goes on an epic but isolated journey across the world, she meets a man who might be worth the loss of immortality. Oscar winner Ellyn Burstyn will co-star in the film, which will be directed by Lee Toland Krieger.

“Tell me about these kids!” I said, turning to the dozen or so children surrounding her. “Have you enjoyed hanging out with them?”

“Yes! They can tell you about it,” she said.

“What do you guys like about H&M? And what do you guys like about Ms. Lively?”

“They have really good deals,” said one girl. “And I love that I can shop there. Like, this shirt was ten dollars.”

“Wow,” said Lively. “Ten dollars! That’s awesome!”

Although most of the kids were shy, their smiles spoke volumes. They loved the attention and were just having a great time. After speaking with them, we bid our farewells. “Thank you guys for coming out, and it was so nice to meet all of you.”

“Nice to meet you!” Lively said.

In the film industry, there’s some who say the biggest stars are really the most down to earth. In Blake Lively’s case, I can confirm that. The night’s event was clearly commercial, but it was more than that. It was a shining example of how commerce, celebrity and a truly noble cause can fit together flawlessly.
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Micah Haley is an author and filmmaker and a partner in Scene Magazine. His recent projects include two short horror thrillers, The Angel and The Red Ribbon. Both are now available on Amazon. You can find more of his work at micahhaley.com, on Twitter at @MicahHaley and on Instagram at @itsMicahHaley.

(Some photos by Odessy Barbu and some courtesy of AMC)

Micah Haley is an author and filmmaker and a partner in Scene Magazine. His recent projects include two short horror thrillers, The Angel and The Red Ribbon. Both are now available on Amazon. You can find more of his work at micahhaley.com, on Twitter at @MicahHaley and on Instagram at @itsMicahHaley.

(Some photos by Odessy Barbu and some courtesy of AMC)

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Blake-Lively-web

Age of Adaline

The beautiful Blake Lively stars as Adaline, a woman who never ages. After years of a solitary life, she meets a man who might be worth losing her immortality. 110 min. Rated PG-13.

Little Boy

A little boy uses faith and determination to bring his father home from WWII. Kevin James and Michael Rapaport star in this inspiring war drama. 100 min. Rated PG-13.

The Water Diviner

This period piece is set in the early 1900s after the Battle of Gallipoli. An Australian man travels to Turkey to find his three sons. Russell Crowe and Jai Courtney star. 111 min. Rated R.

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COMING ATTRACTIONS 2011 – Green Lantern

by Arthur Vandelay on January 14, 2011

From Martin Campbell, the acclaimed action/adventure director of The Mask of Zorro who successfully reignited the James Bond series not once but twice with 1995’s GoldenEye and 2006’s Casino Royale, comes Warner Bros’ summer 2011 tentpole Green Lantern. Shot in New Orleans last year, the comic book movie stars Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins and Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, a test pilot who is given a mystical green ring that gives him superpowers from another world and membership in an intergalactic squadron of peacekeepers known as Green Lanterns. The superhero’s popularity is third only to Batman and Superman, with origins dating back to the Golden Age of comics in the 1940s.

Click the exclusive photo above for a closer look.

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Teaser poster for New Orleans-shot ‘Green Lantern’

by Brittney Franklin on November 17, 2010

Along with the new trailer, a teaser poster for Warner Bros. Pictures’ Green Lantern has surfaced online. Shot in New Orleans, the film stars Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, hitting theaters on June 17, 2011.

Source: The Internet

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New Orleans-shot ‘Green Lantern’ gets a trailer

by Brittney Franklin on November 17, 2010

The highly anticipated trailer for Warner Bros green superhero epic Green Lantern has arrived, featuring Ryan Reynolds in full costume and our first looks at Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard and the planet Oa.

The Green Lantern Corps., a small but powerful group of warriors sworn to protect the intergalactic order, is forced to find a new recruit when Parallax threatens the balance of power in the Universe. That recruit is test pilot Hal Jordan, the first human ever selected to be a part of the elite force. With newly acquired superpowers from a ring that all Green Lantern’s wear, Jordan must learn to control the infinite abilities of the ring while the fate of Earth rests in his hands.

Filmed in New Orleans, Green Lantern arrives in theaters June 17, 2011.

Source: Apple

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“Green Lantern” power battery revealed

by Danielle Tabary

“Green Lantern” fans: Here’s a first look at the power battery lantern the Green Lantern uses to recharge his ring. As you can see from the image, the lantern from the film looks a lot more hi-tech than the one fans might have anticipated based on the comics, but the design seems to keep the […]

“Green Lantern” steals spotlight at Comic Con

by Danielle Tabary

Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Mark Strong and Peter Sarsgaard (featured in the posters below) participated in a 90 minute panel discussion at this year’s Comic Con where they shared their experiences working on this film, answered fans’ questions and even fulfilled dreams as Reynolds recited the “Green Lantern” oath for a young admiring fan. Reynolds […]

Ryan Reynolds recites Green Lantern oath at Comic Con

by Danielle Tabary

After repeatedly turning down requests to recite the iconic Green Lantern oath, Ryan Reynolds finally gave in to a young fan during the “Green Lantern” panel at Comic-Con. Wearing a Green Lantern shirt, the little boy asks Reynolds what it felt like to say the oath during the film. Reynolds laughed to himself after hearing […]

Official “Green Lantern” plot synopsis revealed

by Arthur Vandelay

After shooting in New Orleans for months, “Green Lantern” finally gets an official plot synopsis. Nothing too surprising is revealed, but it does serve to give those outside the comic book world an idea of what they’re in for on June 17, 2011. Towards the end, there’s a breakdown of the film’s cast, many of […]