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THE SUNDAY CONVERSATION

Austin empowered

June 01, 2008|Choire Sicha | Special to The Times

Heather Graham stars in "Miss Conception," a comedy about making babies that opens Friday in L.A. Graham has appeared in "Boogie Nights" and "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," and on TV's "Scrubs" and "Arrested Development." She called at midnight on a Saturday from Austin, Texas, where she is shooting "Ex-Terminators"; she was being driven to her trailer.

Is there a bit of post-strike chaos in your life?

I'm really glad, I support the writers getting what they want. It's freaky when things shut down. But I've gotten into developing stuff, being a producer -- so, I want to get into these things I love.

How did you make that transition?

I'm still doing it. I just feel like there's a point of view out there that's not being represented.

Can you define it, or is it tricky?

I think it's kind of tricky! It's a female perspective, but not in an annoying and sappy way. I watch things and don't see out there what I can relate to sometimes, the stuff out there for women. I like stuff that's empowering to women, but not in an annoying way. In a good and funny way.

Do you have a bunch of writers or are you just recruiting?

I have two main projects, and another thing I'm working on. One is a sex comedy, and the other is about the Triangle Factory fire of 1911.

What have you learned?

Every day you just try to have fun and do what makes you happy. Then at least you're having fun.

Have you thought about producing stuff for TV?

You know what, I've thought about it -- but I don't have something right now. Theoretically, it could be interesting.

Have you gotten advice from the lady producers of our time?

I have! I guess everyone's path is so hard. I get inspired when I think how Salma Hayek took 10 years to get [2002's "Frida"] made.

So you have two jobs now, but what else do you do?

I'm really into food! I'm obsessed with food. And I like cooking and talking about food. My friend gave me this book, "The Fearless Critic: Austin Restaurant Guide." I'm trying to find all the places in it. And I like reading and yoga, spiritual-type practice.

You hippie.

I'm a little bit of a hippie. Like I meditate, I do yoga, I'm into nature!

Are you a decent cook?

I think I'm really pretty good actually. I think that's one of the reasons my boyfriend's into me. At first I cooked and he was like wow, that's so cool. Then we started cooking together. And he makes this amazing pizza from scratch. And this beer-can chicken! In your day, every day, you have to eat. So why not enjoy it immensely?

Sometimes you lose track of that. Like when you have a dozen Twinkies.

Yeah! Well, you have to let yourself be splurging sometimes. I try to be really grateful -- that's one of my new things, in my New Age category. It's easy to see things and go, 'What about this, what about that?' But I'm really grateful for everything I have, and I try to think every day of the things I'm grateful for.

Every day?

I do! OK, I probably don't do it every day, but it's a good thing to do. We are so lucky living in this country. All the places in the world people don't really get a fair shot at things.

What's in the top five of your gratefulness list?

Well, OK! Always, every time I do it, I'm so grateful that I own property. I love it. I have a place in L.A. and a place in New York. I'm pretty independent and I'm so grateful I own it and it's homey and I love it. Then friends, people you care about being in your life, their health and happiness. And then sometimes it's like, I ate this great piece of corn bread today. Or I got an extra hour [of sleep] -- I can sleep like 12 hours a night.

Did better sleep come with the yoga?

I always felt a bit guilty. Why do I want to sleep for 12 hours? So I just decided to get into it and enjoy my laziness. Also, I think it's good to spend one day per week in bed.

Does the boyfriend approve?

I'm training him. He used to think it was crazy. He has to get out of bed to eat food or watch a movie. I try to teach the people around me to be more relaxed. I think relaxation is undervalued in our culture. Let's go do more things! Relaxation is one of the great things in your life. People in Austin are really relaxed.

When you get to L.A. next you're gonna be overcome.

I know. At least I've lived there so long I'm used to it.

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