LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Katherine Heigl has headlined several romantic comedies such as "27 Dresses" and "The Ugly Truth," but for her newest film, the former "Grey's Anatomy" TV star toplines an action comedy "One for the Money," in theaters of Friday.
The film is based on author Janet Evanovich's best-selling novel about Stephanie Plum, a divorced, unemployed woman who becomes a bounty hunter to pay the bills. To date, there are 17 installments of the popular book series.
"Money" sees Plum entering the profession, only to find herself chasing down a onetime romantic acquaintance and becoming entangled in a murder. The Emmy award-winning Heigl sat down with Reuters to talk about the film, her life as a working mom, adopting another baby perhaps within the year and a bad smoking habit she just can't seem to quit.
Q: Were you a fan of Janet Evanovich's books?
A: "I read the books when I was first approached about the project. The first one led to the second and by the time I got to the 10th, I was pretty hooked and obsessed. I just love Stephanie. She's savvy, brave and has a big heart. Her perspective on life and people is sort of wacky, charming and fun. She's got this great caustic sense of humor that I really responded to."
Q: And action film is a bit different for you. What was the most difficult thing for you to learn while shooting the film?
A: "I was pretty bad with the handcuffs. I really wanted to master the art of cuffing somebody quickly and efficiently. There's something about holding somebody's hands in a crossed way and trying to slap a cuff on. I didn't want to hurt the co-stars I was working within the scenes."
Q: You've established yourself as a romantic comedy actress. Is that a genre you feel comfortable in?
A: "If you asked me the same question two years ago I would have said, I love doing romantic comedies because those are the movies I tend to only watch. I want to laugh and believe in true love and romance. I'm still thrilled to be in those movies but at 33, I wouldn't mind breaking out of that genre a little bit. This movie had a murder mystery vibe to it, a kind of a caper film, so it was a different spin on the same formula."
Q: Did you have the whole family on location with you in Pittsburgh, including your adopted daughter Naleigh?
A: "Yes and it was chaos! (laughs). There was also my dog, my mom's dog, and then my mom would come for part of the filming because she's a producer on this as well. Then (husband/musician) Josh (Kelley) would come in and out because he's always on tour. Naleigh and the nanny were there all the time."
Q: Is Naleigh aware of what you do for a living?
A: "No, she isn't. Naleigh loves to play doctor and has a little doctor's kit. Recently my mom said, 'Naleigh, your mother played a doctor on TV.' And it was the first time that anyone has ever said to her that her mom is on TV. So she's starting to put the dots together."
Q: Any more kids for you and Josh?
A: "Naleigh's three now, so I'm hoping we have another child sooner than later -- at least maybe in the next year. Naleigh loves babies and the whole idea of babies."
Q: Will you adopt again or have biological children?
A: "We'd like to do both, but I'm on an adoption bent at this point. I'm afraid of pregnancy. That terrifies me. After being in (the R-rated comedy) "Knocked up" and having to watch birthing videos, I'm terrified! (laughs)"
Q: You are in a position where you headline your own movies, but you also produce many of them too. Was that always the plan?
A: "For me, there's so much inherent pressure in the position, so I started to feel neurotic and terrified all the time (laughs). I thought the only way for me to calm down was to take an active role in my future, not to sit and wait, but to create my own opportunities."
Q: So what's on the horizon?
A: "I'd love to write something. I'd love to direct. And there's so much great television, I would never rule out the opportunity to do a great TV show. I watch 'Homeland' and think Clare Danes is brilliant and if an opportunity like that came my way, I wouldn't say no."
Q: You've been spotted smoking electronic cigarettes to help you stop smoking. How's that been going?
A: "It's supposed to get you off the real thing, but I smoke it all the time because I don't have to step outside and it never goes out -- except when the battery dies. So I'm smoking it way more than I probably would a real cigarette."
Q: That's not good.
A: "I'm a nicotine addict and it's really ugly. If I could take anything back, smoking would be it. I wish I never picked up a cigarette. That was so stupid. That would be the one thing I would say to my kid as she gets old and inevitably will want to try a cigarette. I will say, 'Sure, go ahead, if you want to be a slave to something for the rest of your life!' I'll always be fighting the addiction."
(Reporting By Zorianna Kit, Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)