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The Actors: Cameron Diaz raises her spy game

She stars with Tom Cruise in ‘Knight and Day.’

May 02, 2010|By Glenn Whipp, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • CHANGES AHEAD: Diaz portrays an accidental spy in "Knight and Day." She signed on before Tom Cruise, who plays the guy responsible for her predicament.
CHANGES AHEAD: Diaz portrays an accidental spy in "Knight and Day."… (Robert Gauthier, Los Angeles…)

We're talking to Cameron Diaz on her cellphone, and she's dishing about her action-oriented exploits with Tom Cruise in her upcoming movie "Knight and Day," when she asks us to hold for a moment. Muffled in the background, we hear men shouting, "Cameron! Cameron! A-Rod? Cameron!" and then she's back on the line, explaining what happened.

Paparazzi. Flashes. Brief mention of New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, whom Diaz is rumored to be dating.

"That's my daily action sequence," Diaz says, laughing. "Walking from the car to the entrance of the hotel."

That kind of on-the-run training came in handy for "Knight and Day," which opens June 25 and has Diaz playing an ordinary woman caught up with a super spy (Cruise) who may (or may not — you know how these things go) be taking a full-blown vacation from reality. Diaz's character proves to be a quick study in the ways of espionage and, soon enough, she's executing daredevil moves on a Ducati, firing guns and taking out bad guys left and right.

Diaz signed on for "Knight and Day" a few years ago, before Cruise and before any of the action took place in far-flung locales such as Austria and Spain. "It all happened in Wichita," Diaz says of the original script. Then she adds an imagined aside to a studio exec: " ‘I'm sorry. I need to go to Spain if I'm doing this.' "

That's not true. (We think.) But Diaz says the movie did change "completely" once she signed on, with her character losing the helpless act and becoming more involved in the action. Reteaming with Cruise, with whom she briefly costarred in "Vanilla Sky," was a bonus.

"This time I'm not trying to kill him," Diaz says. But is he trying to kill her? She laughs. "That's up in the air."

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