Enjoy the Unlikely Chemistry of Natasha Lyonne and Waris Ahluwalia


Natasha Lyonne is a veteran actress who's rebounded from a well-publicized stint in rehab with new roles on stage and in the upcoming American Reunion, as well as a recent guest spot on New Girl. Waris Ahluwalia is a jewelry designer, Fashion Week staple, and occasional actor. The two of them showed up together at last night's premiere of Relatively Speaking (a series of one-acts scripted by Woody Allen, the Coen brothers, and Elaine May) and had a lot to say — most of it, to each other.

First of all, Waris, I don't think I've ever seen you at a Broadway opening before.
Lyonne: I'm trying to broaden his scope.
Ahluwalia: That's what she's trying to do.
Lyonne: I feel like, you know, fashion is so passé, you know.
Ahluwalia: I am excited.
Lyonne: What do you think?
Ahluwalia: I am excited. She's trying to class me up. She said there's more to life. I got a call, she said there's more to life.
Lyonne: Yeah, more to life. You know, we're getting older, so we'd better start getting good-looking on the inside. That was the big idea. But you love theater.
Ahluwalia: I do. Yeah.
Lyonne: You love theater. You love the picture business. I mean, Waris is interested in all kinds of [stuff].

So this is three one-act plays. What would your one-act play be about?
Lyonne: I don't know. Waris would probably be in my one-act.

Have you done a Woody Allen or a Coen brothers movie?
Lyonne: I think I have. I'm almost certain I have done one. Everyone Says I Love You. I feel almost certain this is for sure a Woody Allen movie, and incidentally not a Coen brothers movie. I think that was me. It was so long ago, who can be sure. I was 16 then; I'm 32 now.
Ahluwalia: There's a Coen. [Joel Coen is sneaking into the theater behind them.]
Lyonne: You see a Coen?
Ahluwalia: I see Joel.
Lyonne: Ah, you know Joel. I bet he goes to Broadway openings with him.

Have you ever talked to Joel Coen? He's a man of few words.
Lyonne: Really?
Ahluwalia: He speaks.

So are you going to give up fashion for the theater?
Ahluwalia: No.

We won't be seeing you on the stage?
Lyonne: No.
Ahluwalia: It's a no. No.
Lyonne: Are you going to bring fashion to the theater, is the real question.
Ahluwalia: I'm not going to be responsible for that. [Laughs.]
Lyonne: I don't think of you as just fashion. I was just kidding.
Ahluwalia: No.
Lyonne: You're much more than that.
Ahluwalia: I'm much more than fashion.
Lyonne: Yeah. You're also, uh ... blood and guts. Glory.
Ahluwalia: There's more to me than fashion. I just don't want to be seen as fashion.
Lyonne: Yeah. That's so minimizing of your whole existence.
Ahluwalia: How could you do that?
Lyonne: And now I feel terrible. Why did you do that?
Ahluwalia: Were you doing that?
Lyonne: I did it, didn't I? I feel like I'm going to end up eating my words now, instead of eating a sandwich. Better for the figure, eating words.

How would you convince Woody Allen to cast you in another of his movies?
Lyonne: I don't know. I don't want to answer that question. It's icky. [Laughs.] How am I going to convince him? At gunpoint. No, don't print that.

Are you coming back to the stage soon? You did a play last winter.
Lyonne: Yeah, I've been doing a lot of plays. I would hope so. I love the theater. I just love learning new things, and keeping my mind active seems to be very healthy, keeping troublemaking at bay. [Laughs.] So, this is something I'm definitely into, is the theater.
Ahluwalia: The theater keeps trouble at bay.
Lyonne: It does. And you're trouble.

I saw your play last year.
Lyonne: Thanks. Anyway, good luck with that [nods at tape recorder]. Good luck figuring it out. [Laughs.]