It would be fair to say that Liv Tyler is more than just a pretty face. Walking into a room, she remains a luminous presence, with her unusual hand-made blouse, cut off at the shoulders, her one individual earring that extends below the ear, and cigarette daintily in hand. She was courting the press to talk about her life and her role as Arwen Undomiel in the upcoming Lord of the Rings trilogy. Paul Fischer had a chance to chat to the beautiful 24-year old about her work and recent engagement.
Liv Tyler looks every bit the movie star. Youthful and charmingly playful, she is wearing a strange top that appears to have been loosely strewn on her fair skin. "It was hand made by a friend of mine in New York. It's pretty unique, don't you think?" Worn above her jeans, Liv is also sporting a simple earring drooping below her right ear and a subtle diamond engagement ring, though smilingly concedes that there is no firm date for the wedding.
Gushing over her fiancé, Brit rocker Royston Langdon, Tyler cheerfully describes him simply as "beautiful and from Leeds in England." The couple had known each other for about 6 years, having met just through mutual friends. "I ALWAYS had a huge crush on him and him on me, and I used to fantasise about him all the time and think about him, but never thought we'd really get together, but we have been together for about three years. I'm madly in love with him and we have a very special relationship and friendship. I couldn't be happier." She sounds it.
It is an ironic twist in the life of the ex-model now movie star, that she found love with a musician. Those days of rocking around with two rocker dads didn't impact on her romantic decisions. Nor did rocker Steve Tyler of Aerosmith try and deter his daughter from marring a rocker. "Even if he did, I wouldn't be taking advice from my dad anyhow."
Possessing the same, sensual, full-lipped mouth as her famous rock singer father, Tyler initially followed in her mother Bebe Buell's footsteps and began a modelling career at the age of 14, though she soon soured on that profession. Raised by Buell and rock musician Todd Rundgren, she did not learn the true identity of her biological father until she was 11.
Tyler admits that her unique upbringing resulted in her attaining a conservative streak. "When I grew up, I had 2 dads, a mum, my grandmother and even my aunts at times, so I got all these perspectives. My grandmother is the most successful etiquette consultant in America, my mum is who SHE was and always a strong, outgoing woman, and my dads were different again, so I got to see all these different sides."
Professionally, it was her appearance as a teen siren, along with future star Alicia Silverstone, in Aerosmith's "Crazy" video in 1994 that really put her on the map. That same year, Tyler made a strong film debut in the unsettling role of a teenager who kills her sexually abusive father and complicit mother when she discovers him molesting her brother and then comes on to her therapist (Richard Dreyfuss) in Bruce Beresford's "Silent Fall". She followed with roles in James Mangold's "Heavy" and in "Empire Records" (both 1995).
6 years later, Tyler's movie career has gone from strength to strength to strength, though she thrives on being cast in smaller films. Her most recent film, "One Night at McCool's" cast her as Jewel, the love object of three men who all tell their tale of woe sitting around a bar. She avoids discussing the sense of identifying with this manipulative nymphet "because it's not a question of me identifying with her or not; I'm PLAYING her and so it and it's not about me thinking about that. I'm in her head and thinking: I don't have TIME to think about how I relate to her plus BE her at the same time." One cannot help but wonder how she, as an actress, felt about being cast as the embodiment of male fantasy. "It wasn't just in the film; it's not the embodiment of ALL men. It's just this film and it's a comedy, taken to the extreme, and most men have fantasies like that."
On screen, Tyler loves to be different and audiences continue to get a different taste of the accomplished young star. Resisting big-time Hollywood, Tyler will next grace our screens in the much-anticipated "Lord of the Rings", describing the experience as being "great but long." She spent 18-months in the climatically diverse New Zealand shooting Peter Jackson's ambitious epic. "It's very hard to talk about in a few short minutes because it was so much you know?" But Liv has seen some of the film and shares some thoughts. "Peter was very sweet and smart. He screened some footage twice. Once from the beginning, like halfway through and then once at the very end just one everyone needed that little push to get through to the last month or two and he showed us 35 cut minutes. It was such a beautiful thing to see. We were all like crying and clapping and standing up, feeling so inspired when we saw it, because everyone worked so hard on it."
Tyler admits she had not even read "Lord of the Rings" when she was offered the part of Arwen in the forthcoming film trilogy, but eventually became immersed in her role, even having learned to speak Elvish no less. "It's a legitimate language. There are only a certain amount of people in the world who can speak it, like Oxford professors and the like. It's also such a beautiful language too, and really brilliant; I can even speak a few lines."
Having spent nearly a year filming in New Zealand, Tyler admits she was homesick shooting the Rings trilogy.
"That was really far. It's not like flying to L.A. It was like going to a whole other world." Of course, she adds, the "Lord of the Rings" is set in an imaginary place. "So it made sense it was so far away. It was like going off to a magical place."
As for Tyler's OWN dreams and fantasies, the actress returns to her musical heritage and love of music. "When I was a kid all I ever wanted to be was a singer, because of my parents. I still love to sing. I feel hesitant about saying it because people will always twist it around whenever I say I love music or want to sing, because they go: So when's your album coming out? It's not about that. While Jewel's dream is to have a house, maybe music is MY hidden fantasy, you know what I mean?".