This week's Femme on Fire Cortney Palm has no shame in bearing all in this exclusive Sushi Girl interview. Read on to hear what she has to say about film blood, Star Wars legend Mark Hamill and why she has no problem with full frontal nudity.
Playboy.com: So first of all, who would win in a fight: Mark Hamill, Danny Trejo or Sonny Chiba?
Palm: In the context of the film I would definitely have to say Mark because of his chopstick fiasco.
Playboy.com: When I first watched the trailer I didn’t even recognize him!
Palm: I know; it’s so funny, everyone keeps saying that, they’re like, “Which one is Mark Hamill? Are you kidding me?!” Yeah, that’s right, that was him. He’s got extensions in. But it was really amazing working with him; he’s such an iconic actor and character and I really admire all his work. In person he’s just so smart and it was really great listening to all of his stories. He and Jimmy [Duval] would banter back and forth between takes about theater and film, a whole bunch of things. He’s just such a great guy, very passionate. I think that really shows in his character work.
Playboy.com: I can’t pronounce the actual word for it, but have you ever eaten sushi off a naked girl?
Palm: [Laughs] No, actually I’m a vegetarian, I probably would never. But if the opportunity arose I would probably take, I don’t know, maybe a piece of edamame off of her tummy.
Playboy.com: Thank you for being comfortable being naked for the camera. You, dear, are a knockout! Have you always been this open?
Palm: I think it started in college, to be honest. I was doing a lot of really artistic photography which made me realize it’s fine. It’s so normal in Europe; I volunteered abroad in Greece and absolutely everybody was topless on the beach and l was thinking, “Is this normal? I need a tan!” It’s normal; it’s just the human body. I just sort of became open about it, and if it’s done right I think it’s fine. I think Sushi Girl is very beautiful too. It’s just really showcasing the elegance of the woman’s body and I was so happy to be a part of it.
Playboy.com: Definitely, the cinematography was gorgeous.
Palm: Yeah, thanks to Aaron Meister and Mike Di Ricco. The lighting was just fantastic!
Playboy.com: What was the most memorable moment on set?
Palm: You have to wait until you get the DVD and watch the special features, because there’s a moment on there as a deleted scene. I did something that’s really funny—everybody was kind of down on set because it was supposed to be their day off and they didn’t want to be there. So I figured I needed to do something to make everybody laugh. It was funny and very memorable, but I don’t want to disclose it because it’s on the DVD special features.
Playboy.com: What originally got you into acting?
Palm: Actually this is a really funny story. I played with Barbies until I was a freshman in high school, and I think doing that really made me enjoy different scenes and costumes and playing out different stories. I loved to write and I was a performer all my life—I was a gymnast and did beauty pageants—so I was always in front of people. Then at one point my mother was like, “try acting!” I got involved in it and really loved being different characters and breaking down their story and their psychology. I wouldn’t want to do anything else!
Playboy.com: Speaking of gymnastics, I saw your impressive trampoline YouTube video. You’re still keeping up?
Palm: [Laughs] It’s pretty sad, that video, I used to be able to do so much more than that! But I do just jump on the trampoline every once in a while and do my tricks like that. I wish I could do more, but without the coach and the proper training techniques you lose a lot. But I try to keep up with that, just a little bit of trampolining skills.
Playboy.com: What has the Sushi Girl experience been like for you?
Palm: It’s been a rollercoaster, but a really fun one. It started out really small; I didn’t really know what would become of it. In the process we lost a lot of actors but gained some really great ones. We got Noah Hathaway and Mark Hamill out of our yearlong hiatus when we weren’t sure what was going to happen with the film. I was so married to the script and just felt so connected with the character of Sushi Girl when we eventually got to film it. We went to Comic-Con to showcase the teaser, and just watching it develop has been a really great experience for everybody involved. It just grew from nothing into everything we’d ever hope for.
Playboy.com: How was Comic–Con; was that your first time there? It’s pretty crazy.
Palm: I know, it was wild. Shuttling around from one interview to the next I got to see the really great costumes. We were so busy so I didn’t get to see a lot, but from what I saw you could tell that everyone was so passionate and having a lot of fun. It’s a really great place to get fans and showcase a film like Sushi Girl, and I will definitely be going back there now that I see what it’s about.
Playboy.com: Were you down for all of the blood and gore in the film?
Palm: I never really got bloody in the film, but I love VGP Effects, I think they’re really great guys. The team was excellent; I actually worked with the same guys on Silent Night—they bloodied me up for that massacre. So that was fun. I’ve really been involved in horror; I’ve been bloodied up, I have had prosthetic makeup on, so I know exactly what Noah went through as Fish. It’s not fun getting it all on, but there’s something about movie magic and practical effects, I really like it actually. And sometimes they make the mouth blood taste good, so… [laughs]
Playboy.com: You’ve done a wide range of films. What genre is your favorite?
Palm: A lot of people say that I’m such a chameleon and it’s hard to place me, but I work a lot in horror and thriller and what I like about that is that there’s a lot more going on. I really like emotional acting, a lot of depth to a character, and that’s something that was lacking in Silent Night, but I feel that there is a lot of depth in Sushi Girl. There’s a lot of struggle and power trips going on from Duke trying to take over everything and having such a terrible past. I feel that when there’s a lot of motivation a lot of great work can come out of it. I like horror, too, because there’s a lot of crying scenes, a lot of running for your life and you get to use your emotions. It’s so much more fun than, say, romantic comedy. I’d rather be covered in blood than in a cute dress.
Playboy.com: Lightning round! What is your favorite:
City: I really enjoyed Venice for its architecture. The beauty of the waterways and buildings and intricate details is amazing.
Drink: If I had to choose, I would have to say water! I really don’t drink that much.
Food: I love Mexican food, which is hard being a vegetarian. But hot, anything really spicy.
Embarrassing moment: My mother and I were painting my deck, I think I was still in high school, and I wanted to get a tan so I took my top off. We live out in the country so nobody is really around. But my grandpa shows up and comes around the corner and says, “Hey, Court, what are you doing?” I looked up, grabbed the paintbrush and painted over my boobs real quick and I’m like, “Uh, I’m just painting the deck!”
Awkward pickup line: This guy just gave this one to me the other day on set and it was so bad I remember I looked at him thinking, “Did you really just say that?” I had to walk away…I don’t remember what it was but it was something about my eyes. I get a lot of [compliments about] my eyes, but he thought he was being real slick. But it’s usually like “your eyes are really beautiful.”
Playboy Memory: I was in elementary school and I was at my best friend’s house and we went into her den and we had a couple of Playboy magazines and were looking at them and thinking, what is this? Is this what these look like? I don’t think we should be looking at this! So we were panicking and trying to figure out a place to hide them without getting in trouble. We were both curious but we had no real idea of what was going on.