Everyone Says I Love You
“I was the happiest girl in the world... Here I was playing the chick I always wanted to be -- and I didn’t even have to get surgery.” Natasha Lyonne on getting fake breasts for her role in Slums of Beverly Hills
New York-born actress Natasha Lyonne first achieved the notice of moviegoers for her role in the 1986 Heartburn, and garnered more attention ten years later with her deadpan narration, as the sensible teenaged daughter in Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You. The beautiful performer delivered a fine starring role in Tamara Jenkins’ Slums of Beverly Hills (1998), for which she earned a Chicago Film Critics Association nomination. The young starlet is also known for playing roles in such films as But I’m a Cheerleader (1999), American Pie (1999) and its sequel American Pie 2 (2001), Kate & Leopold (2001), Scary Movie 2 (2001), Party Monster (2003), Blade: Trinity (2004) and the animated Robots (2005).
Off screen, the 5’ 3½’’ actress made headlines after her arrest in 2001 by Miami Beach police on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. Arrested at about 1:45 am, she was released after posting a bond during the day. Upon her arrest, Lyonne was quoted as saying, “I’m a movie star. Can I talk to my entertainment lawyer?”
Three years later, Lyonne once again gained notoriety when she was arrested at her New York City residence after arguing with a
neighbor and threatening to sexually molest a dog. In August 2005, the movie star was then found in intensive care at a hospital in New York with hepatitis C, a heart infection and a collapsed lung. The same month, her father took a legal action against the Beth Israel Hospital after a member of staff leaked information about Lyonne’s critical condition.
As for her love life, Lyonne, who was featured in Eminem music video “Without Me,” has been involved with her Detroit Rock City co-star, Edward Furlong (together 1998-2000), and actor Adam Goldberg.
Childhood and Family:
In New York, New York, Natasha Bianca Braunstein, who would later be popular as Natasha Lyonne, was born on April 4, 1979, to a conservative Jewish family. Her father is Aaron Braunstein, a former boxing promoter and racecar driver, and her mother is Yvette Lyonne, a product licensing consultant and ex-ballerina. Raised primarily in New York City and Long Island, Natasha spent a three-year in Israel (1987-1990) and moved back to New York after the divorce of her parents. After returning, she lived in a one-room apartment, with her mother and her older brother Adam (born in 1972).
Disappointed by her parents’ separation, Natasha became a rebellious girl. She started to get into troubles and hate her school life. In order to be alone and away from peers, who frequently made fun of her lower socioeconomic status, she skipped classes. This led her to spend time in several different schools. After attending a private Jewish school at Manhattan’s Yeshiva high school, she was moved to Miami and transferred to a public high school. However, it did not work. 16-year-old Natasha then left her mom in Miami and moved back to New York City on her own. Despite the frustration, Natasha found acting as her salvation. She later earned a place at the New York University, but put her studies on the backburner to pursue a career in acting.
“I’d love to go to school, but every time I try I get a movie. That’s actually how I get work: I enroll. That’s like my good luck charm.” Natasha Lyonne
Slums of Beverly Hills
Natasha Lyonne had her first film exposure as a little girl when she landed an uncredited part as Meryl Streep’s niece in Heartburn (1986). The same year, she made her debut in series TV with the recurring role of ‘Little Opal’ in the outrageously popular children’s show “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” a role she had until 1987. She continued to act and appeared as an Arab girl in the movie A Man Called Sarge (1990) when she was in Israel. Returning to the USA, Lyonne took on a supporting part opposite Walter Matthau, Mason Gamble, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson as Polly in the comedy/family film Dennis the Menace (1993). During high school years, Lyonne also participated in many school plays, including one the Yeshiva’s production of “The Magic Garden.”
After ten years in the cinematic industry, Lyonne finally got a breakthrough role when Woody Allen cast her in the supporting role of the even-tempered teen daughter D.J. Berlin in his musical Everyone Says I Love You (1996), starring Edward Norton and Drew Barrymore. Delivering a deadpan performance, the actress earned some recognition.
Postponing enrollment at New York University in favor for acting, the rising star then portrayed the daughter of Richard Dreyfuss in the uneven comedy Krippendorf’s Tribe (1998) and gave one of her best performances to date, starring as a teenager dealing with the beginning of puberty and her dysfunctional family’s regular movement from apartment to apartment in Slums of Beverly Hills (1998), directed by Tamara Jenkins. The role handed her a Chicago Film Critics Association nod for Most Promising Actress. Still in 1998, the young thespian had a distinctly supporting turn in the horror comedy Revenant.
In 1999, Lyonne stepped into box office realm with a feature role as Jessica, the sexually experienced girl, in the teen comedy hit American Pie. The role put her on the radar of Gene Simmons, who placed her in the supporting role of Christine in the Adam Rifkin-helmed Detroit Rock City (1999), which starred Giuseppe Andrews , James DeBello and her lover, Edward Furlong. The same year, she also played roles in Rat Girl, When Autumn Leaves, the comedy But I’m a Cheerleader (as a young girl sent to a camp when her parents assume she is a lesbian) and The Auteur Theory. In addition to having the female lead, Lyonne also made her debut as an associate producer for the comedy film Freeway II: Confessions of a Trickbaby (1999).
The demanding player kept on her hectic film schedule in the next years by working with Diane Keaton in the comedy Plan B (2001), costarring opposite Jake Busey and Crispin Glover in the adventure Fast Sofa (2001), reprising the part of Jessica for the second installment American Pie 2 (2001), having feature roles in the anticipated sequel to the 2000 Dimension Films’ blockbuster Scary Movie, Scary Movie 2 (2001) and in the Toronto-screened The Grey Zone (2001, starred David Arquette) as well as playing the supporting role of Darci in the Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman vehicle Kate & Leopold (2001). Lyonne was also seen on the small screen as Jeanne in the TV movie If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000) and guest starring as Gillian in an episode of “Will & Grace” (2000).
Next up are roles in the drama film ZigZag (2002) with Wesley Snipes, writer/director Adam Rifkin’s Night at the Golden Eagle (2002) opposite Donnie Montemarano and Vinny Argiro, the Seth Green and Macaulay Culkin starring vehicle Party Monster (2003) as a club kid named Brooke, and the comedy Die, Mommie, Die! (2003) costarring with Charles Busch and ex-Beverly Hills, 90210 star Jason Priestley as the punishing daughter of a filmmaker who unexpectedly dies. In 2004, Lyonne wrapped out three films: Paul Black’s America Brown, the horror/thriller Madhouse (also starred Joshua Leonard and Jordan Ladd) and the Wesley Snipes vehicle Blade: Trinity, where she appeared as one of the Nightstalkers teaming up with Snipes to hunt down Dracula and his gang of undead muggers. Her more recent film credits are the animated Robots (2005), voicing the Loretta Geargrinder character, and the comedy/drama My Suicidal Sweetheart (2005) written and directed by Michael Parness. The latter film cast Lyonne in the starring role of Grace, opposite David Krumholtz as Max.