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Showbiz Today Star of Tomorrow

Rachel Miner: Independent spirit

By Lori Blackman
Showbiz Today Reports

Rachel Miner stars in "Bully"  

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Rachel Miner may have made an initial name for herself by marrying Macaulay Culkin at 17, but that was four long years ago. The actress, now 21, has redefined her public image in the film "Bully."

The controversial film centers around Lisa, an insecure teenager who joins her cynical high school friends in becoming unrepentant killers. Miner plays the uncertain youngster in the movie, which is based on real events and is directed by Larry Clark ("Kids," 1995).

CNN met up with this Showbiz Today Star of Tomorrow to talk about her independent spirit and her indie-movie career.

CNN: Was there any hesitation for you taking this part?

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Rachel Miner:: Yeah, actually there was -- not only (for) the nudity and stuff like that, but (because) I was worried by how that story can be taken by people. I didn't want these kids to be glorified.

When I learned that Larry (Clark) was doing it, I thought he would do it right, because he has a kind of nonjudgmental, truthful eye, and at the same time, he showed the kids as being non- attractive, not smart people, not cool. They weren't something that other kids ... would want to be like.

CNN: How was that for you, tackling such an unattractive person?

Miner comments, "I didn't want these kids to be glorified" regarding her hesitations in taking a role in "Bully"  

Miner: Well, actually most of the roles I get are often that way. I joke because all the makeup people ... are always trying to make me look as bad as possible for whatever film I'm doing.

... I don't see myself as being a particularly gorgeous person or something, and I tend to feel comfortable in roles like this one.

CNN: There are some very graphic sex scenes in this film. Was that difficult to shoot?

Miner: Yes, but this wasn't something where I was trying to turn people on. It was really ... realistic and because of that, yes, it was painful. But I'd rather do something like that that was honest.

One of the things with "Bully" that was interesting was learning to get over some of my self-consciousness because I did the nudity. ... It's actually made me feel more free because, now that I've done that, I don't feel like there's anything to hide.

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CNN's Lori Blackman talks to actress Rachel Miner about her role in the controversial new movie 'Bully' (August 29)

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CNN: You started acting at 8 and have been working ever since.

Miner: I did, I did. You know, I've learned there's a lot of things in my life that I do outside of (acting) to kind of fill myself up. ... I've done teaching and things like that because if you're acting, you're becoming other human beings, and you need to have time to find who you are as well.

CNN: That must have particularly challenging for you a few years ago when you married Macaulay Culkin at 17 and broke up two years later. That marriage was a big tabloid story at the time.

Miner: You know, I think my life is often more interesting in the tabloids than it is in real life -- or less; it depends. But I'm curious. I just try and see what they're going to make up next and I try to just have fun with it and not take it all too seriously, because otherwise you can't function.

CNN: Most of your projects have been independent. Do you purposely avoid Hollywood projects?

Miner: Yes, for two reasons. One, I tend not to get those parts anyway, because I'm really not what they're looking for - because, as I say, it's important for me to be able to speak honestly and truthfully and find the souls of these people and that's not what every film is made for.

But I try to avoid them as well because I think they can be dangerous. ... To make people want to be something they're not -- to make people think that you have to be perfect, to be happy and things like that (in) "teen movies" ... I am not attracted to. I'm not sure about the message they're giving to society.

CNN: Any plans to do any work behind the camera?

Miner: Certainly. Anything involved in the arts I love, and I hope to be able to explore. ... I would love to eventually do behind-the-scenes stuff.

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