Bijou Phillips is waiting for me at Starbucks on 42nd Street in NYC in the wee hours of a humid morning when the streets are teeming with fans eager to catch the Jonas Brothers performance on Good Morning America.
The model/actress, 28, tells me she has been waiting for this day – the one that her film What We Do Is Secret – is released – for ten years. The beauty scored the role as bassist Lorna Doom in the biopic about Darby Crash and his seminal punk band The Germs when she was 18! (Talk about a juicy storyline — Darby Crash had a five-year-plan to become a legend, but the leader of L.A.’s first punk act died of a drug overdose the day before John Lennon was killed.)
“It’s taken this long to finally get it made,” she tells me. “It’s been a crazy journey. We’ve been almost about to make the movie so many times. To have it be the day that it’s released is awesome.”
Surely her impressive pedigree – dad is John Phillips of The Mamas And The Papas fame, mom is model Genevieve Waite and half sister is Wilson Phillips singer Chynna Phillips – made her a natural for the role of a 1970s punk rocker.
“I just think the band is so cool and the whole story,” she says as coffeehouse music blares in the background. “I love the idea of a female bass player. I love Los Angeles in this era and this kind of music. It’s such an honor to be involved in it for me, it was such a big deal.”
Bijou, who learned to play all the songs in the movie during a three-month time span, spent time with legendary Lorna to research her role. Turns out, Go-Go Belinda Carlisle nearly joined the band, and gets the biopic treatment. Alas, Bijou doesn’t know if Belinda has seen it, nor did she give input to the role.
The girl named after the Lambert, Hendricks and Ross song My Petite Bijou released her own alternative-pop album in 1999 called I’d Rather Eat Glass, and this flick helped her get back to the music – albeit jazz music.
“I just did a movie called Dark Streets that’s doing the festival circuit right now, and I wrote a lot of the music for that. That’s coming out, and I’m thinking about making another record. I’m putting a couple songs on iTunes. You can check a lot of it out on my MySpace page.”
All right, so what was her most rock ’n’ roll experience growing up?
“I spent a lot of time on tour with my parents,” Bij tells me. “The most odd thing that happened was Christmas on tour when I woke up, and my dad had taken wrapping paper while I was asleep – I don’t know how they did it – but they wrapped the entire room – all the walls – in wrapping paper. It was special because God knows where we were, I think it was Minneapolis, and I got presents of course. It was really cute because we didn’t have a tree or anything and they made it pretty. It was nice.”
That’s a wrap – catch What We Do Is Secret in theaters now.