In Woody Allen's latest ensemble film You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, English actress Lucy Punch gets her first big laugh without uttering a word. (She's the cleavage-y, ex-hooker type that an aging businessman proudly introduces as his fiance to his dumbfounded daughter.) Recently, she spoke to Squid Ink why she's a great dinner guest, where in L.A. her Tall Dark Stranger character would be likely to prowl, and pretends not to notice when we make a bad pun about her last name.
Squid Ink: You've lived in here for four years. Where's the best place to get food that reminds you of home?
Lucy Punch: I tend to eat geographically. When I'm in L.A., I like to eat L.A. food. I really don't drink tea here. Even if the tea bags are like PG Tips, the milk isn't quite right. So I'd just rather wait until I get home. I've joined the Los Angeles brigade and drink gallons of coffee.
SI: Besides gallons of coffee, what do you consider L.A. food?
SI: Where do you like to eat?
LP: In my neighborhood – West Hollywood. It's easy and I don't have to drive too far. A.O.C. when I get a bit fancy. I love Joan's On Third. If I'm just going to go get a glass of wine and some pizza, I go to Terroni. They do this white pizza with gorgonzola, sliced fresh pears, honey, walnuts, speck and mozzarella.
SI: Do you cook?
LP: No, I don't. But I really enjoy other people's cooking. I'm a really good dinner party guest. I am always so appreciative, impressed that anyone has even managed to turn on the oven and cook for me.
SI: Does the Punch family have a punch?
LP: No, but I'm quite good at making drinks. I like to make a St-Germain Cocktail with a shot of St-Germain Elderflower liqueur, a shot of vodka and topped off with champagne. Delicious!
SI: If Tall Dark Stranger were set in Los Angeles, where would your gold-digging call girl character hang out?
LP: She'd probably be in the bar at the Peninsula. That's where her sugar daddy would find her. She'd really want to get on the list of somewhere really scene-y like STK or Koi, somewhere where she could go and get really dressed up. To her, the cocktails, who is at the table next to her and how many photographers are outside are much, much more important than the food.
SI: What would she order to prove she has a sophisticated palate?
LP: Once she'd gotten into the restaurant of choice, she'd be a really fussy eater. She'd just want bangers and mash even if she was at Koi, which is a sushi restaurant. “Raw fish? That's disgusting! Why isn't it cooked? This is so gross!”
SI: In Dinner For Schmucks, you play Paul Rudd's crazed stalker while in Bad Teacher, you're Cameron Diaz's unassuming target. What surprised you about filming movies in Hollywood?
LP: In England, you're lucky if you get a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit. Here, [craft services has] nicer food than I have in my own home. It's actually a disaster. I actually put on weight working on films here.
SI: What's a dish on a menu that makes you say, “No thank you!”
LP: I won't eat offal. Once, I was in London at the Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, which is this really fancy eating establishment and hotel and I almost got conned into eating testicles. It was one of the most delicious meals I've ever eaten, about twelve courses. That was one of the courses.
SI: What was the pitch?
LP: They kept saying, “It's soooo tender.” That was actually the thing that made me think, “In that case, I'm definitely not eating it.”