party chat

Enjoy the Unlikely Chemistry of Natasha Lyonne and Waris Ahluwalia

Photo: Jim Spellman/2011 Jim Spellman
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 20:  Actress Natasha Lyonne and designer Waris Ahluwalia attend the opening night of "Relatively Speaking" at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on October 20, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
Photo: Jim Spellman/2011 Jim Spellman

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.]

Enjoy the Unlikely Chemistry of Natasha Lyonne and Waris Ahluwalia