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Although her career began in modeling, and early press focused primarily on her relationship with her estranged father, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, Liv Tyler gradually earned respect as an actress on her own merits. With only a few supporting roles under her belt, the untrained 19-year-old thespian imbued her character in Bernardo Bertolucci's "Stealing Beauty" (1996) with a beguiling luminosity that charmed audiences. Hollywood, however, was hard-pressed to find a niche for the nearly six-foot, ethereal beauty. Underused in mainstream fare like "That Thing You Do!" (1996) and the blockbuster "Armageddon" (1998), she fit more comfortably in smaller, ensemble films like Robert Altman's "Cookie's Fortune" (1999). That all changed with Tyler's portrayal of the warrior elf, Arwen, in Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001), the first installment of the immensely popular fantasy trilogy. More willing to step outside her personal comfort zone after her "Lord of the Rings" experience, the actress went on to star in such diverse projects as the grim thriller "The Strangers" (2008) and the superhero adaptation "The Incredible Hulk" (2008). Independent film would never...
Although her career began in modeling, and early press focused primarily on her relationship with her estranged father, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, Liv Tyler gradually earned respect as an actress on her own merits. With only a few supporting roles under her belt, the untrained 19-year-old thespian imbued her character in Bernardo Bertolucci's "Stealing Beauty" (1996) with a beguiling luminosity that charmed audiences. Hollywood, however, was hard-pressed to find a niche for the nearly six-foot, ethereal beauty. Underused in mainstream fare like "That Thing You Do!" (1996) and the blockbuster "Armageddon" (1998), she fit more comfortably in smaller, ensemble films like Robert Altman's "Cookie's Fortune" (1999). That all changed with Tyler's portrayal of the warrior elf, Arwen, in Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001), the first installment of the immensely popular fantasy trilogy. More willing to step outside her personal comfort zone after her "Lord of the Rings" experience, the actress went on to star in such diverse projects as the grim thriller "The Strangers" (2008) and the superhero adaptation "The Incredible Hulk" (2008). Independent film would never be far from Tyler's heart, however, as evidenced by her work in smaller projects like "Super" (2010) and "Robot and Frank" (2012). Clearly more interested in taking on roles that challenged her than in achieving stardom, Tyler grew as an actress in ventures both grand and small in scale.
Liv Tyler was born Liv Rundgren on July 1, 1977, in New York City, NY. Her mother, Bebe Buell, had been a Playboy Playmate only three years prior, and was known on the New York scene for dating rock stars, including Rod Stewart, Todd Rundgren (whom she was living with at the time of Tyler's birth), and Steven Tyler (whom she had an affair with during her relationship with Rundgren, and who ultimately proved to be Tyler's father). Tyler spent her early years in Portland, ME, where she shuttled between her mother's crazy household full of artists and musicians and the more traditional homes of her grandparents and aunt. Tyler discovered that Rundgren was not her biological father when she was 11 years old. After her mother moved her to New York City at the age of 12, the girl, who had already been through a whirlwind childhood, longed for a normal, stable family life. Amidst all the tumult, the preteen had already hit 5'10" and wore a size 10 shoe, ensuring that life in a new junior high school in New York was not about to get any easier.
Anyone who made fun of the early bloomer was no doubt jealous when Tyler made her modeling debut just two years later, appearing first in a photo spread in Interview magazine before going on to teen fashion magazines and TV commercials for Pantene hair products and Bongo jeans. Her appearance alongside future star Alicia Silverstone in Aerosmith's hugely popular "Crazy" video in 1994 really put her on the map - albeit in a slightly creepy way, as she played an underage vixen in her father's video. Modeling had already grown tiresome, so she shifted her focus to acting, where she was well-received by directors who were taken by her luminosity and appealing serene quality that was miles away from the standard teen comedy actress or tarted-up femme fatale. She made a strong feature debut in the unsettling role of a protective teenager who kills her sexually abusive father and complicit mother in Bruce Beresford's little-seen "Silent Fall"(1994).
Tyler credited director James Mangold with truly "discovering" her acting potential when he cast her as a kindhearted waitress and object of desire for an overweight pizza chef in "Heavy" (1995). She gave a solid performance as a twenty-something slacker in Allan Moyle's disappointing "Empire Records" (1995) before being unexpectedly courted by an Italian film legend. Bernardo Bertolucci had searched high and low for a lead for "Stealing Beauty" (1996), someone who could embody innocence and lust, wisdom and youth - basically, a virgin filled with desire. Paralleling her own mixed-up parentage, the film cast Tyler as a young American who arrives in Italy knowing one father and leaves knowing another. At the erotic center of Bertolucci's slow-paced meditation on the various forms of love, Tyler deftly captured the passage from childhood to adulthood, but critics were ultimately split over whether such lofty filmic aspirations were actually achieved.
The up-and-coming 19-year-old made her entry into mainstream American films with Tom Hank's "That Thing You Do!" (1996), where she was well-qualified to portray the girlfriend of a 1960s musician. She took a starring role in another coming-of-age tale, Pat O'Connor's rather anemic "Inventing the Abbotts" (1997), which cemented her empathetic image with her sensitive rendering of the meatiest of the three Abbott sisters. It also introduced her to actor Joaquin Phoenix and sparked the pair's romantic relationship, with the two seeming like a perfect match, given their unusual upbringings and New York-based disinterest in Hollywood life.
Michael Bay's overblown disaster flick "Armageddon" (1998) marked Tyler's first blockbuster film, but the predictably thin role of Bruce Willis' daughter and Ben Affleck's love interest barely gave audiences a taste of Tyler's screen strengths. She was back on more familiar terrain in 1999, joining an all-star cast for Robert Altman's leisurely Southern Gothic comedy "Cookie's Fortune," where she won raves for her rough-and-tumble, catfish-cleaning, box-toting "worthless tramp" of a daughter. In Martha Fiennes' film adaptation of the Russian literary classic "Onegin," Tyler acquitted herself particularly well as Pushkin's Tatiana, proving she was more than a beautiful face with bountiful lips like her father's.
Tyler re-teamed with Altman to play one of the many women of "Dr. T and the Women" (2000) before taking center stage as the love object of three men (Matt Dillon, John Goodman and Paul Reiser), all of whom relay their tales of romantic woe at a neighborhood bar in Harald Zwart's failed comedy "One Night at McCool's" (2001). Tyler then took off for New Zealand where she was well-cast as Arwen, an elf princess who falls in love with a human, in Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. The three films were shot simultaneously, and their release schedules at Christmastime in 2001, 2002 and 2003 allowed Tyler to take a break for the first time in her decade-long career and pursue her other lifelong dream: starting a family. In the spring of 2003 she married longtime boyfriend Royston Langdon, British rocker from the band Spacehog. The following year, she gave birth to the couple's son Milo.
In 2004, Tyler again appeared opposite Ben Affleck in writer-director Kevin Smith's middling romantic comedy "Jersey Girl" (2004), playing a woman who re-opens a widowed father's heart to love. In her next project, Steve Buscemi's well-done but little-seen drama "Lonesome Jim" (2005), she starred opposite Ben's brother Casey Affleck as a single mom and nurse who reconnects with an old fling who has returned to their small town after a failed run as a novelist in New York. The film was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival but only received limited theatrical release. Tyler returned to mainstream drama with a supporting role an insightful therapist who tries to help a once-successful dentist (Adam Sandler) cope with the loss of his family during September 11th in the uneven "Reign Over Me" (2007).
Tyler's announcement of her separation from husband Langdon in early 2008 was followed by a palpable shift in her career direction, the actress finally ready to shake off her image as the dependable good-hearted friend and lover. In a cathartic, scream-riddled performance, she played half of a young couple mysteriously terrorized at a vacation home in the heavily promoted horror thriller "The Strangers" (2008) before tackling her first butt-kicking actioner, "The Incredible Hulk" as the big green one's (Edward Norton) loyal girlfriend. Following a two-year hiatus from filmmaking, Tyler returned to comic book territory, albeit with a twist, in the dark superhero satire "Super" (2010). In the twisted comedy, written and directed by James Gunn, Tyler played the drug-addicted wife of hopeless sad-sack, Frank (Rainn Wilson), who, in an act of desperation assumes the alter-ego of The Crimson Bolt, a brutal, masked vigilante. After an appearance in the little-seen, low-budget thriller "The Ledge" (2011), the actress was next seen in the Sundance Film Festival darling "Robot and Frank" (2012), a quirky comedy-drama about an aging ex-jewel thief (Frank Langella) and his growing friendship with his new caregiver, an automaton (Peter Saarsgard). Tyler played Langella's daughter, who becomes concerned about implications of the evolving relationship between her father and his robotic helper.
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CAST: (feature film)
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"I have this incredible eagerness to learn everything I can, but I get really mad at myself. I talk to adults so much--they've been around for so much longer than me, and have so much more knowledge. I just don't know anything about great art and literature, and I want to watch as many movies as I can." --Tyler quoted in New York Post, May 21, 1996
About the masturbation scene in Bernardo Bertolucci's "Stealing Beauty": "It was always in the script that (Lucy) was restless and couldn't sleep, and she tossed and turned in the bed and ended up on the floor with the pillow between her legs, but I didn't get it at all. Then one night, we were having wine and sitting by the fire, and Bernardo says, 'So, you know this scene tomorrow--you are very uncomfortable, very restless . . .' He couldn't say it. And I was like, 'What, you want me to have a wank?' And he says, 'Well, yes.' And I went, 'Bernardo, you're kidding me.'" Gamely, she did the deed, which was juxtaposed with a scene where the voyeuristic Jeremy Irons character sniffs Lucy's hand when he returns her cigarette lighter. "I never put it together before, because we shot the scenes on completely different days. But I just saw it recently, and I went, 'That fuckin' dirty cunt! He sniffed my finger!'" --Tyler to Lucy Kaylin in GQ, August 1998
On working on the blockbuster "Armageddon": "It was really hard. My first week was all the emotional stuff in mission control while they're in space, and it's like two-second snaps of me reacting to things. I'd never done that kind of acting before. You just never walked away feeling good about it. I don't think I ever really came to terms with who my character was." --Tyler in GQ, August 1998
Regarding her cameo cut from Woody Allen's quasi-musical 'Everyone Says I Love You' "He (Allen) wrote me a letter, which I keep on my desk and look at occasionally, saying that he was really sorry and it was nice to work with me and we would work again. But he's never asked me again. And he wouldn't even hear me sing, and I love to sing. So I guess maybe he doesn't like me so much...I may have to camp out on his doorstep."---Tyler quoted in the London Times April 1, 1999
"It's funny--because of my dad [Aerosmith's Steven Tyler] everybody thinks I grew up in this crazy rock'n'roll world. But I didn't even meet him for the first time until I was eight--and I didn't know then that he was my dad. I met him at one of Todd's concerts. [Todd Rundgren raised Liv as his daughter.] Actually, the biggest rock influence on me was my mother [Bebe Buell], who was in a really great band. But I grew up in Portland, Maine, and I didn't come to New York until I was ten or eleven. I really had a pretty normal childhood. But even if I tell people that, they don't want to believe it." --Tyler to Drew Barrymore in Interview, April 1999
On her decision to do 'Armageddon,' "I turned it down twice. It was a very hard decision. I didn't have it in my heart, but it was a big picture and a six-month shoot and in the end I thought, 'I want to have that experience under my belt.'"---Tyler to the London Times August 12, 1999
"She is sublime and brought something to her performance that wasn't there when I wrote her character. Like that way she put this geeky little chuckle in ever time her character delivers these tepid little zinger lines to Ben. It was insanely charming, made you fall in love with her, and though I am happily married, the whole movie I was saying I'd leave my wife for her."---Kevin Smith on Tyler's performance in "Jersey Girl" Movieline's Hollywood Life March/April 2004
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