After some false starts to her career, Lucy Punch is poised for a breakout thanks to a couple of spot-on comedic performances, including one in Woody Allen's latest film, "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger."
In this new film, Punch plays Charmaine, a blonde bombshell of a prostitute hired by and ultimately married to the much older Alfie, played by Anthony Hopkins, who has just gotten out of a decades-long marriage and is desperate to recapture his youth.
Punch, who earlier this year went toe-to-toe with Steve Carell in "Dinner for Schmucks," this time holds her own against Hopkins. From the blue-collar accent to the smarter-than-she-seems guile, she provides some of the film's funniest and most insightful moments.
So the obvious question for Punch would be, did she watch Mira Sorvino's performance in "Mighty Aphrodite" for inspiration?
"I told some friends I was doing this film... You know, you're not supposed to talk about the part or the script, but it had been in the press that it was going to be this person and it was like, 'Oh, it's going to be like 'Mighty Aphrodite.'' It was like, 'S***, that's sort of a tough act to follow.'
"And also, I don't even want to follow it, I'd like to do something different. But I did watch her opening scene on YouTube and was amused -- I still haven't asked (Allen about it ) yet -- to discover that one of our first lines, we share pretty much the same first line, which is in explaining our profession, both her character and my character, says, 'But basically, I'm an actress.'" (see it here at about the 2:45 mark)
There's a brief pause as Punch lets her own words sink in. A moment later she's processed them.
"What's that say about Woody's opinion of actresses?"
"You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" opens Wednesday, Sept. 22