Femme on Fire: Agnes Bruckner

By Vanessa Butler

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Filling the shoes of one of our most iconic Playmates, Anna Nicole Smith, is a big task, but our latest Femme on Fire Agnes Bruckner was up for it. Transforming into Smith is something that Bruckner may never have imagined she’d be doing, but now that we’ve seen Anna Nicole we couldn’t dream of the role being given to anyone else. Anna Nicole is now available on DVD.

Playboy.com: Transforming into Anna Nicole Smith must’ve been quite the feat, and I know that this was a different kind of role for you! What drew you to this film?

Agnes Bruckner: It was one of my favorite experiences as an actor. Anna Nicole was really fun, such a larger-than-life person, so it was definitely intimidating to step into her shoes. But we had an amazing team of people—from prosthetics to makeup, hair, wardrobe, as well as Mary [Harron], the director, and Michael Simmonds, our DP. I had so many people to help me transform physically and emotionally to become Anna, which was really fun.

Playboy.com: You definitely captured her bubbly personality! Speaking of makeup and prosthetics, is it true that you had to sit in the makeup chair three hours a day to get the boobs put on?

Bruckner: Yes! Our first day our call time was at 2:30 A.M.; I didn’t really sleep. The whole process started out taking three and a half hours but eventually we got it down to about an hour and a half. Between the glue and touching them up all the time I feel like the boobs were a whole other character! [laughs]

Playboy.com: Well, they’re very prominent throughout the whole film. When I read that you actually had to get them applied to your chest I had to go back and watch a couple videos and I thought they did a really good job!

Bruckner: It turned out so great, better than I could have ever imagined it would. When I first got the role, everyone would look at my chest and say, “Uh, what are they going to do to make your boobs big?” It was one of the most common questions and I honestly had no idea. I had never really done prosthetics before, so for me it was a total science project. But the amazing team of makeup and hair really came together and made something amazing.

Playboy.com: Anna had a lot of different qualities. Was there one in particular you could really relate to?

Bruckner: Of all the video footage I watched, and from the articles I read and the interviews I saw while I was researching, what I connected to most was Anna Nicole’s vulnerability. I sympathized with her because I feel like she was a genuinely loving person. I connected with that big time. I fell in love with her.

Playboy.com: There were so many different locations in this film! You must’ve had a crazy call sheet. Do you have a favorite memory from set?

Bruckner: Yeah, we bounced around every day. It was a four-week shoot and every day we shot at four or five different locations. And on top of that, there were about five or six different changes. I’m not talking just clothes; I’m talking about wigs and hairpieces, too. It was just insanity. I think some of my favorite things that I got to do are work with such an array of actors with this role. What was interesting about that was with every actor I worked with, it was a different phase in her life, so my acting would change too.

First of all, Martin Landau was just amazing to work with. He’s a remarkable actor and a really cool guy. He has such amazing stories, I love listening to them. I have a soft spot for a good storyteller! Being on set with Adam Goldberg was just comedy. He was so funny and so cool. And as for Cary Elwes, it was so awesome to be mean to him! [laughs]

Playboy.com: That’s funny you mention that; watching it I thought how there aren’t a lot of people that get to talk back to Cary Elwes in their lifetime!

Bruckner: I know, and he played such a dick! For me it was so weird because I’ve worked with him a few other times and he’s just the complete opposite of the character he played. He’s such a loving, friendly, cool guy. Every time we’d shoot a scene I’d think, “I feel so weird right now that I’m about to be mean to you because I love you!” He was awesome, he was really cool. So I think just working with this great cast throughout the different phases of Anna Nicole’s life was my favorite part of the whole project.

Playboy.com: You and Cary have another film coming out, A Bit of Bad Luck. Can you tell me a bit about it?

Bruckner: It’s a very interesting film about karma: making sure that you live your life and you are as nice and as good to people as possible because you never know what could happen to you. I guess that’s kind of the basis for the story. Cary plays the lead and he did a fantastic job. I had no idea that he was going to be in the Anna Nicole film. He actually made everybody say it was not going to be him and he showed up on set one day and really surprised me. I was sitting there in the kitchen doing a photo shoot scene and I was super nervous and when he showed up he made my day. He’s so amazing and played a perfect ass!

Playboy.com: So what else are you doing this year? It’s only February, so I’m sure you have a lot on your plate.

Bruckner: We’re right in the middle of pilot season right now so there’s a lot of TV stuff, but I just finished doing a film called There Is a New World Somewhere and it’s a really amazing film. I executive produced it. The director/writer is named Li Lu and she’s really great. I played opposite Maurice Compte, who’s an amazing actor you probably know from Breaking Bad. It’s a really beautiful journey of life and love, beautifully shot by our amazing DP Igor [Kropotov]. It’s going through the editing process right now, but it’s going to be a really beautiful film when it’s all finished.

Playboy.com: Is it your first time producing?

Bruckner: Yeah! It was a very cool experience. We shot in New Orleans and it was really fun to put on the producer hat and to take a different side to the process aside from just being an actor.

*Playboy.com: *What’s your…

Favorite food: Burrata!

Favorite drink: Malbec. I’m a wine and beer girl, I don’t do liquor that much anymore, but a nice red wine is always really good.

Worst pickup line: This happened recently at the gym. I was leaving and this guy walked up to me and asked, “Are you a model?” and I told him I wasn’t, to which he replied, “Oh man, if I was a modeling agent you would be my number one client.” I was like what is happening? That is such a strange thing to say to somebody! He was cute, too, until he said that. I didn’t know what to say after that so I just put my head down and kept walking.

Most embarrassing moment: The first day on Anna when I had the prosthetic boobs on I was sitting on the bed shooting. I was wearing a tank top with no bra, just the prosthetics. Todd [McIntosh] and David [DeLeon], our makeup people, came over and told me that they needed to do some touch-ups. To me it felt like I was wearing a shirt with the prosthetics on because they covered everything of mine, so I just kind of dropped the tank top. But a lot of the crew members didn’t realize that they were prosthetics because they looked so real, so everyone immediately just turned around and tried to pretend they didn’t see. So I started screaming, “You guys, don’t worry, they’re fake! They’re not mine!”

First memory of Playboy: I would have to say Marilyn Monroe. I forget which picture, but I remember seeing a picture of her in Playboy and noting how beautiful her body was. She was so curvy in all the right places.


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