Breaking Out of Her ‘American’ Persona


In the new film “The Musketeer,” Mena Suvari lives the life of a fairy-tale princess.

In this retelling of Alexandre Dumas’ classic “The Three Musketeers,” Suvari plays an orphaned girl who is swept off her feet by the heroic D’Artagnan, played by Justin Chambers.

Tim Roth, the villain, then snatches her, and she must be rescued from the tower of a 17th century castle, where she is the bait to lure the hero for the final showdown.

“I’m almost like Rapunzel, who lets her hair down for the prince to save her,” Suvari says with a laugh and shaking her golden locks.


But the 22-year-old star of “American Beauty” and the “American Pie” movies says she’s no princess.

“I try to live a normal life. I’m not normal because I work in this business and I’m recognized, which isn’t normal. But I’m not a big diva. I still love what I’ve always loved: We cook, we buy fresh vegetables at the market, we have dinner parties, we go hiking if we can.”

The other half of Suvari’s “we” is her husband, Robert Brinkmann. The couple, who’ve been married for less than two years, met on the set of the cheerleading-caper film “Sugar & Spice.” Suvari was the star, he was the cinematographer.

They live in the 1920s Spanish-style home in Los Angeles that was Brinkmann’s bachelor pad. It’s very old-Hollywood glamorous, she says. But Suvari added one feminine touch: “I brought my enormous wardrobe.”

Question: Are you a shop-aholic?

Answer: Shopping is my one vice. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke.... I can shop.

Q: What do you buy?

A: I have a lot of shoes. I collect Pucci. I’m all about “I see it, I like it, I buy it.” I go through different phases all the time. Lately I’ve been buying a lot of black and pumps. I wear heels a lot--my poor feet. Basically I’m a clothes shopper, but I can shop for anything.

Q: Did you like wearing the period costumes in “The Musketeer”?

A: I love period films because the costumes are so amazing.... [Costume designer] Raymond Hughes had me wear a real corset because he had to have the real thing. My character was middle-class, but her mother was the seamstress to the queen, and I really looked that part. Everything made sense. The costumes really help a lot to get into your character.


Q: Many older leading ladies complain it’s hard to find good roles in youth-obsessed Hollywood. How is it for a younger leading lady?

A: It’s a good time right now because there are so many younger-geared films, but it’s also hard for me because I don’t want to be just the pretty girl in high school. I want something meatier and that’s hard to find.... “American Beauty” was an exception.

Q: Were you the pretty girl in high school?

A: No, but I don’t hold any grudges.