Natural Born Killer
"Just 'cause I'm in the same age bracket as Johnny Depp and Leo Dicaprio doesn't mean we all screw together." Juliette Lewis
American actress Juliette Lewis was hurled toward the limelight with her Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated performance as alluring teenager Danielle Bowden in Martin Scorsese's thriller Cape Fear (1991, opposite Robert De Niro). First gaining notice while starring on the Showtime miniseries Home Fires (1987), Lewis later received more recognition for acting in such films as Too Young to Die (1990, TV, with Brad Pitt), What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993, with Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio), Natural Born Killers (1994, alongside Woody Harrelson) and The Evening Star (1996, opposite Shirley MacLaine), as well as the TV movies My Louisiana Sky (2001) and Hysterical Blindness (2002).
More recent, Lewis appeared in films like Old School (2003), Starsky & Hutch (2004), Grilled, and Aurora Borealis (both in 2005). She will also play roles in the upcoming movies Lightfield's Home Videos, Darwin Awards, Daltry Calhoun, Catch and Release, and The Fuck Up.
Juliette Lewis has branched out her talent to include music. She formed a band called "Juliette and the Licks," in which she became the lead vocal. Recently, Lewis and her band reportedly released and produced their debut full-length album, titled "You're Speaking My Language."
5' 6 inches tall Lewis was listed as one of Empire magazine's 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (1995) and Tropopkin's Top 25 Most Intriguing People (Issue #100). On her private life, the actress dated and reportedly was once engaged to Too Young to Die costar Brad Pitt (born on December 18, 1963; together from September 1989 to February 1993). Once married to actor and professional skate boarder Steve Berra, Lewis recently stated she was fed up of being asked about her past romance with Brad Pitt and considered it an ancient relationship. She clarified, "It's like talking about a high school relationship. He was a young, struggling actor when we went out. It was a totally different time."
Childhood and Family:
Daughter of Geoffrey Lewis (actor; divorced from Juliette's mother in 1975) and Glenis Batley (graphic artist), Juliette Lewis was born on June 21, 1973, in Los Angeles, California. Her siblings are sisters Brandy (actress and Juliette's personal assistant) and Dierdre Lewis (actress), and brothers Lightfield (actor, director; feature directorial debut was The Audition, starred Juliette) and Peter (actor). She also has several half-siblings from her mother and father's other marriages.
"Just to buck the system in California, I bought a Mazda for $6,000 when I was 15 without even bothering to get a license." Juliette Lewis
A professional actress since age 12, Juliette was legally emancipated at 14 from her parents. 14 year-old Juliette dropped out of high school after just three weeks attendance and hired a tutor to help her pass the equivalency test. She then left her family's home to move to Hollywood in order to pursue an acting career. At age 16, she was charged with being underage in an underground disco (the mug shot taken now hangs poster-size in her home). She also had been driving without a driver's license since age 15 and bought a car using a friend's name. She finally got her own driver's license at age 21, after being pulled over for running a stop sign. Additionally, she joined a drug rehabilitation clinic in December of 1996.
"People said I was a drug addict before I was a drug addict, so there you go. That's what usually happens in the movie business. The scandals are always tantalizing to somebody. But let's not confuse my wacky style with a substance problem." Juliette Lewis Younger sister Brandy introduced Juliette to professional skateboarder and actor Steve Berra (born May 10, 1973). Juliette, a devoted member of the Church of Scientology, exchanged wedding vows with Berra on September 9, 1999. Although the couple filed for divorce in April 2003, they remain good friends.
"Fame can be just so annoying because people are so critical of you. You can't just say 'hi.' You say hi and people whisper, 'Man, did you see the way she said Hi? What an attitude!' " Juliette Lewis
Being a daughter of parents who were familiar with film sets, Juliette Lewis followed her parents' career track and managed to appear in an unaccredited role in Clint Eastwood's Bronco Billy (1980). It took seven years after her first screen appearance to win her first leading role as Maty in the Showtime Network miniseries Home Fires (1987). She followed it up with a one season regular role of Kate Farrell (1987-1988) in the ABC sitcom "I Married Dora" (starring Elizabeth Pena) and a debut appearance on the wide screen in the suburban extraterrestrial comedy My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988).
15-year-old Lewis left her father's house and moved to Hollywood where she briefly lived with a family friend before moving to her own apartment. She then received roles in The Runnin' Kind, the sci-fi comedy Meet the Hollowheads and the vacation series National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (with Chevy Chase, all in 1989). On television, she played recurring roles on the series "The Facts of Life" and "The Wonder Years."
Costarring with then-boyfriend Brad Pitt, Lewis played the dramatic role of Amanda Sue Bradley, the victim of sexual abuse, in the highly praised, fact-based, controversial NBC movie Too Young to Die (1990).
Meanwhile, she also became a regular in the NBC series "A Family for Joe" (1990, starring Robert Mitchum) and appeared with Jennifer Jason Leigh in the drama Crooked Hearts (1991).
The portrayal of Danielle Bowden, Nick Nolte's flirtatious daughter, in Martin Scorsese's smash hit thriller Cape Fear (1991, also starring Robert De Niro and Jessica Lange), was Lewis' most notable role to date. The role gave her rave reviews at the prestigious Academy Awards and Golden Globes, earning her a Best Supporting Actress nomination.
Following her previous good work, more film roles arrived. She was cast as Rain, a New York college student, in Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives and as Sheryl O'Connor in the romantic That Night (opposite C. Thomas Howell, both in 1992). She also rejoined Brad Pitt to star as Adele Corners, a dysfunctional innocent in Kalifornia (1993), and played Sheri, a blonde waitress from Queens, in Peter Medak's Romeo Is Bleeding (also in 1993, with Gary Oldman and Lena Olin).
Lewis became Johnny Depp's love admiration, Becky, in Lasse Hallstrom's What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993, also starring Leonardo DiCaprio). The next year, she received applause for portraying the murderous Mallory Knox in Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers (1994, opposite Woody Harrelson), which brought her a Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival.
The mid 1990s saw Lewis in such films as Nora Ephron's comedy Mixed Nuts (1994, with Steve Martin and Adam Sandler), rejoining Leonardo DiCaprio in The Basketball Diaries (1995), the sci-fi action Strange Days (1995, with Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett), brother Lightfield Lewis' directional debut The Audition (1996, she also produced) and Quentin Tarantino's vampire tale From Dusk Till Dawn (1996, opposite George Clooney). She then became Shirley MacLaine's granddaughter and a substance abuser in The Evening Star (1996). Juliette also appeared in Guess jeans and Hondra Integra TV commercials.
Some Girl (1998, with Michael Rapaport and Giovanni Ribisi), the thriller The 4th Floor (1999, alongside William Hurt) and Garry Marshall's The Other Sister (1999, with Giovanni Ribisi, Diane Keaton and Tom Skerritt) were Lewis' films during the end of the 1990s. On her role as Carla Tate, a mentally challenged woman, in The Other Sister, Lewis said, "I was playing a character who was full of life and determination, and it really had an effect on me. I connected very deeply to Carla and her feelings."
Lewis continued to grace the screen in the new millennium with films like the crime thriller The Way of the Gun (as the pregnant kidnapped victim, starring Benicio Del Toro and Ryan Phillippe), the comedy Room to Rent, Gaudi Afternoon, and Picture Claire (costarring Gina Gershon). She also nabbed an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Miniseries Or Movie thanks to the role of Dorie Kay, a kind-hearted, urbanized working woman, in Showtime's coming-of-age drama My Louisiana Sky (2001). The film, which was directed by Emmy winning director Adam Arkin, was adopted from the novel by Kimberly Willis Holt and was produced by Anthony Edwards.
Along with Uma Thurman and Gena Rowlands, Lewis starred as New Jersey working woman and single mother Beth in HBO's poignant drama Hysterical Blindness (2002). Commenting on her role, Lewis explained, "I've never seen this female perspective told before with such a true voice. It's raw, heartbreakingly honest and real."
She returned to the big screen playing Jennifer Lopez's best friend, Ginny, in Michael Apted's thriller Enough (2002) and followed it up with the 2003 films Old School (with Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Will Ferrell) and Cold Creek Manor (starring Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone). Being asked about her role as Luke Wilson's innocent girlfriend in Old School, Lewis said, "The script was a laugh-out-loud page-turner. If I was going to be in a rip-roaring boy's comedy, I knew I didn't want to play straight man. I love doing comedy and doing characters, and I made this one a pampered California girl. My scenes with Luke Wilson are very situational, and that's where the comedy lies. I'm naturally kind of ridiculous. I don't take myself or others too seriously." In 2004, she appeared in Chasing Freedom (TV), the film version of the French comic book adventures of Western hero Jan Kounen's Blueberry (with Michael Madsen and French actor Vincent Cassel), and the big screen version of the 70's cop series, Todd Phillips' Starsky & Hutch. She also worked as the executive producer for The Drummer (2004), which starred Alison Eastwood.
Lewis recently played Kate in the drama Aurora Borealis (2005), with Joshua Jackson and Donald Sutherland. As for her upcoming film projects, Juliette will play roles in the films Lightfield's Home Videos, Darwin Awards, Daltry Calhoun, Catch and Release, and The Fuck Up.
Adding to her accomplishments in acting, Lewis has also tried her talent at singing. She formed a band called "Juliette and the Licks," in which she became the lead singer. Lewis and her band toured with the Van's Warped Tour in 2004 and have worked with rock songwriter Linda Perry, among others. They also launched a six-song EP titled "Like a Bolt of Lightning" last year and was recently reported to be producing and releasing their debut full-length album titled "You're Speaking My Language." The band consists of Lewis on vocals, Paul Ill on bass, Todd Morse and Kemble Walters on guitars, and Jason Morris on drums.
"The difference is I'm not a filmmaker. I'm hired to play a part and I do the best I can and try to be honest. But it's not something that's under my control. It's not my story, whereas with the record, it's my story. This is my vision. I am in control." Juliette Lewis (on her music career).
- Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Supporting Actress - Drama, The Evening Star, 1997
- Venice Film Festival: Pasinetti Award - Best Actress, Natural Born Killers, 1994
- NATO/ShoWest Award: Female Star of Tomorrow, 1993
- Chicago Film Critics Association: Most Promising Actress, Cape Fear, 1991