By Théoden Janes / The Charlotte Observer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Brooklyn Decker wants you guys to stop picturing her in a bikini, and yes, we realize this is kind of like asking a dog to stop wagging its tail.
After all, she skyrocketed to fame by virtue of appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue a year ago. Then in February, a slow-motion shot of her emerging from the ocean in a teeny-tiny bikini became a key selling point for the Adam Sandler-Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy “Just Go With It”; Decker was fifth-billed in the movie, which was released last week on Blu-ray and DVD.
She recently wrapped her second movie, the sci-fi/action flick “Battleship” (due in 2012), in which she plays Liam Neeson’s daughter.
And, wait for it: “I might be in a bathing suit one time in ‘Battleship,'” she says. “(My character) grew up as a Hawaii surf kid, so it kind of makes sense.”
But she’s ready to dress more warmly more often.
Decker, 24, heads to London today to support her husband, tennis star Andy Roddick, at Wimbledon. When she returns, she’ll focus on two independent films and auditions for roles in a larger movie. Her priority: to show off her acting skills, not her body.
We recently spoke to Decker – a product of Matthews Elementary, Crestdale Middle and East Mecklenburg and Butler high schools – about her movie career, her N.C. roots, and the women she considers hot.
Q: So let me get this straight: After “Battleship,” we won’t get to see you onscreen in a swimsuit for a while?
I’m not a fan particularly (of roles that require me to be in a swimsuit). I think for “Just Go With It,” it made total sense. I’d just come off being on the cover for SI, and no one really knew who I was as an actress. Plus, Adam’s comedies, they’re always really cheeky and fun, and it came out around the Super Bowl. But yeah, me as a person, I’m not like – it sounds weird ’cause my job’s the opposite – but I’m not in a bikini all the time. I’m really not a very sexy person, I’m just not, in my down time.
So I want to eventually play a character that embodies me a little bit more. I feel like at this point no one really knows if I can act or not.
Q: Say you get offered a great, meaty role, but it requires a nude scene. Would you do it?
I can’t say I would be comfortable. Sports Illustrated’s sexy – it’s certainly not prudish by any means – but it still has some integrity to it. Not that a meaty role wouldn’t at all, but I feel like I never want my dad or mom to be embarrassed when they go see a movie I’m in.
I think if it’s necessary for a role, I understand that, but at this point I can’t say it’s something I’m interested in doing.
Q: You’ve been on so many sexiest-women and most-beautiful-people lists. I’d be curious to know who one of the hottest women in the world thinks is hot. Give me your top five.
Ooh. I really love Tina Fey. She’s so damn smart, and I just think people don’t give credit to women for being funny and being successful businesswomen.
I really love Rose Byrne – she was just in “Bridesmaids.”
Connie Britton, who is the wife on “Friday Night Lights,” she’s awesome; I love her. Reese Witherspoon, ’cause her speech at the MTV Movie Awards was hilarious.
And Jennifer Aniston, ’cause she’s a smokeshow.
Q: Switching topics. … What were you like as a kid?
I was sort of an over-achiever. I remember doing student council, and my class board and yearbook. I was just very involved. I loved school.
Q: Did you ever get into trouble?
Yeah, I got caught stealing Beanie Baby key chains from Kohl’s when I was in the fourth grade. I stole four. Once I came clean, my mom called Kohl’s and asked them if they could get like a security guard to scare me straight. I was just bawling.
That was the last time I stole anything.
Q: Still, not like you robbed a bank or anything.
Yeah, I was kind of a goody-goody-two-shoes. … But actually … there was like an old rock quarry in Monroe – I don’t even think it’s legal to go there, so I’m probably getting myself in trouble – but we used to go rock diving off these rocks into the rock quarry, which was really fun growing up. My brother and I would do that.
Q: Besides Kohl’s and the rock quarry, where were your favorite places to hang out?
I used to park in a church parking lot (at Matthews United Methodist) with my friend Ashley. My radio in my car didn’t work, so I’d bring a boombox and we’d put on Dave Matthews Band and sit and just talk for hours. When you go to Butler, Wendy’s is right there, so we used to walk to Wendy’s, and you also have Carolina Lanes right down the street. We used to go bowling a lot. And I remember Tremont Music Hall was really cool.
Q: Returning to the Charlotte area anytime soon?
My whole family’s coming to Austin (Texas) in July, and I’ll probably be down there in August.
Q: Aside from seeing your family and friends, what’s on your must-do list whenever you get back here?
I love driving. When I come home, I usually take a big long drive. I’ll go into Waxhaw and go through all the farms and just out in the country. It just seems like the stars are prettier (in North Carolina), and the sky is clearer. …
And I always have to go to Flying Biscuit, because the Creamy Dreamy Grits are like the best thing you’ve ever had.