If you’re ducking into the movie theater to beat the heat during the last months of summer, you’re probably going to see a lot of our latest Femme on Fire, Christine Marzano. Whether you catch her in the role of Mrs. Strange in Neil Jordan’s latest thriller Byzantium or the gumshoe executive in Paranoia, starring Amber Heard and Harrison Ford, you won’t be disappointed.
Playboy.com: I believe you are the first Femme on Fire we’ve had who went to Princeton. What drew you to psychology?
Marzano: I always thought it was interesting to figure out why people behave the way that they do—and I’ve always had a scientific mind as well as an artistic one, so in an effort to combine the two I thought it would be the best thing to study and concentrate on.
Playboy.com: When did you take the leap from modeling to an acting career?
Marzano: I had been doing TV commercials while I was modeling, and I had always wanted to be an actress since I was a little girl—I was always going to see tons of different plays and movies—so while I was modeling I started taking acting classes and continued those through college, then gave it the real go after I graduated.
Playboy.com: You’ve taken on some pretty interesting roles. What kind of characters are you most drawn to?
Marzano: I tend to go for things that are interesting and different. Roles that I feel challenge me, so if it seems hard and a little out of my comfort zone, I usually try and do it. [laughs]
Playboy.com: Speaking of comfort zones, your role in Seven Psychopaths had you topless. Are you a pretty open person in that sense, or was it one of those roles that you knew you just had to go for it?
Marzano: That was definitely the first time that I had done something topless that was going to be on film. I really respected Martin McDonagh, the director, and his vision for the film; we talked about it beforehand and I felt like it was going to be a comfortable scenario on set and it was artistic and I figured why not, let’s do it!
Playboy.com: You also got to play a role in Neil Jordan’s beautiful new vampire film, Byzantium. What was that experience like?
Marzano: It was an amazing opportunity to work with Neil and to get to work in Dublin was quite cool as well. It was also a first for me to play a period character, which was fun because you get all the crazy hair, wigs, makeup, and the extras are all dressed up as well so you really feel as though you’re in that era. It’s freezing cold there, the heat isn’t on, so it all kind of helped me to form the character and the time it’s in.
Playboy.com: Your Twitter is always full of great photos of you traveling around the world. Where’s your favorite place to visit?
Marzano: I have a few all-time favorites, but it’s probably Istanbul in Turkey. I think it’s an interesting place because so much history is built on top of itself. So you have the Byzantine Empire then built on top of by the Ottomans, built on top of by the modern Turks, so you have these layers and layers of history that you can literally see when you go there, whether it’s the blue mosque that was at one point a Byzantine church; when you peel away layers of the wall you can see these mosaics with Jesus on them that were plastered over. It’s a really neat place, the food is phenomenal, the people are really cool; it’s definitely at the top of my list of the places I’ve visited.
Playboy.com: Can you talk about your role in the upcoming film Paranoia?
Marzano: The film is a big corporate espionage thriller and I play an executive that works at Harrison Ford’s company. We get Liam Hemsworth as a new employee at the company and everyone thinks that he’s this genius and he’s going to be the one that will come up with all these answers we haven’t been able to find up until this point. My character is a little bit skeptical of him; I don’t trust that he’s this savior that everyone thinks he is. I end up doing a little bit of research on my own and a little bit of diligence by questioning people I know and then I find out that he’s not this deliverer he’s cracked up to be. So his character has a reason to be afraid of me and the information I know about him.
Playboy.com: Of the two films you were just working on, Paranoia and Byzantium, was there a favorite memory on set?
Marzano: There’s a bunch of them! [laughs] I think just working with Harrison Ford. Just sitting down and having lunch with him at one point was pretty cool, and you get to sit there with this guy who you see as a legend and he’s sharing some advice with you about decisions that you should maybe make along your career, or what he’s done with his. That was pretty interesting and cool; that was kind of unexpected.
Playboy.com: Are you working on anything else this summer?
Marzano: I’m working on a film that shoots in Ireland, which started in the end of June. I don’t think I’m allowed to talk about that yet though.
Playboy.com: You pick really great roles, you get to go everywhere!
Marzano: I know! I have an Irish passport which allows me to work within the European Union without a visa, so that’s absolutely beneficial in that area. I can work in all these incredible places! And it’s great for me because sometimes they need an American cast member. I can do British and Irish accents as well, but when they want an American it’s awesome because they don’t usually want to deal with the visa and everything else, thus making me the perfect candidate! [laughs]
Playboy.com: What’s your favorite…
Drink: My favorite alcoholic drink is sake or tequila. I drink them straight with a little bit of lime.
Food: My favorite food would have to be just pure old-school Italian food. I grew up in Brooklyn, so the southern Italian home-cooked food would be my favorite.
Embarrassing moment: Oh god, too many! Every day of my life there’s something embarrassing that happens. I recently was moving and I packed all my stuff away and I realized that I only had these two outfits left to move in. You know the outfit: usually it’s a pair of old sweatpants or something you haven’t really worn in a long time and you plan on getting rid of anyway, hence why you didn’t pack it. So I realized after moving my entire apartment with these guys I had hired to help me move and drive the truck that the reason I hadn’t worn these pants for so long was because they had a massive hole in the butt. I don’t know why I hadn’t thrown them out yet, maybe I was saving them for some sort of special occasion [laughs], who the hell knows. But yeah, got to the new place and went to take them off and just went, “Oh my god, these guys who have been helping me move have been given a good little show.”
Awkward pickup line: I think any pickup line is an awkward pickup line!
First memory of Playboy: I remember being at friends of ours who we used to go visit at a cottage with kids the same age as us, so my parents would go up and hang out with their friends and we’d hang out with the kids. So the parents would be off drinking or whatever and the kids would be doing whatever kids do when they’re not being supervised and we found this stack of Playboys that I guess was the father’s in the basement. I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember thinking “Oh my god, he has these?!”