It can't be just that we're both from Michigan. Perhaps it's her voice on the other end of the line, which sounds too much like an old high school friend's? There's something about Judy Greer that seems familiar. No, no, I just see a lot of movies is all. It's merely the cumulative effect of her filmography, I tell myself, which often presents her to us as relatable sideshow: friend, sister, neighbor, co-worker, everywoman. Maybe she strikes casting directors this way, too. I can't imagine I'm alone in this feeling, though to our mutual amusement, this girl next door vibe she gives off turns out to be surprisingly literal. As we begin to talk the small talk stretches out and out as the revelations come. We lived 3 miles from one another as children! We went to the same dance clubs as teenagers! We were scared of the same freeways while driving!
"Anyway, hiiiiiiiiiii" she says laughing, as we reboot out conversation. We'd better get to talking about the movies!
After years and years in showbiz how does this sense of familiarity sit with her, strangers feeling like they know her. How uncomfortable must this 'Where do I know you from again?' sensation be?
"It happens to me all the time but I don't consider it a problem," she says, instantly getting the question. There was a time, she offers, that people would always actually think they knew her. At some point in changed. Now they know she's an actress but they can't quite place from where.
Eventually that signature role will hit and there'll be no mistaking the "who?" and the "were from?" The Descendants is definitely a forward step in that direction. Though it's another brief supporting role, her Mrs. Speer is a lynchpin character in an acclaimed Oscar buzzing film at that. She can already taste the difference and is "flattered" to be included in all the promotion for the movie for such a small role. The cast has already been nominated for Best Ensemble at the BFCA Critics Choice Awards. Judy herself will announce the SAG nominees on Wednesday where The Descendants is also expected to score.
Without spoiling the film, let's just say that George Clooney's Matt King befriends her character with an agenda; he knows something about her husband that she doesn't and he wants to get closer to her in order to get to him. She only has three scenes but all are opposite Clooney himself and all three are crucial to the emotional journey of the film.
Once we got to the movies, The Descendants was the only place to start.