In the Venn diagram of Woody Allen audiences and Bachelorette fans, the union is so small that it is not visible to the naked eye. So who knows how many people who see Blue Jasmine, Allen's new film that opens in limited release this weekend, will experience the shrieking frisson I did when ex-Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky turns up in a small role in the movie?
Fedotowsky plays the personal trainer of Alec Baldwin's philandering Bernie Madoff-like character and Cate Blanchett's Jasmine, the dupe around whom the movie revolves. She's in a funny scene with Baldwin and Blanchett, and was cast, according to a story in The Los Angeles Times, after Allen's casting director, Patricia DiCerto, saw Fedotowsky's travel and lifestyle series, 1st Look, an NBC show that plays in the back of New York City cabs.
I talked to Fedotowsky about her Blue Jasmine experience, how she went from working at Facebook to becoming a reality star, and her predictions for Desiree Hartsock's season of The Bachelorette as it comes to an end.
I was at a screening of Blue Jasmine by myself, and when you came on the screen, I freaked the fuck out. Sorry to say "fuck," but Ali, that is what happened. And I had no one to talk to about it in the entire theater. You have to tell me how you got in this movie, please.
Ali Fedotowsky: Oh my gosh. Honestly, I'm still a little bit in shock about how it happened. Because it's just such a surreal thing. Over a year ago, my agent called me out of the blue and said, "I just got a call from Woody Allen's casting director, and they want you to come play a role in his new movie." I was, like, "What??? This is a joke. This isn't a real thing." I've never had any acting aspirations, or anything like that. I've never once even auditioned for an acting role. So I flew out to the Hamptons last summer, and I got to be in the movie for a small cameo. Which is crazy. I still can't believe it. Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett — and then Woody Allen walking in.
My head is exploding.
AF: A lot of my girlfriends are actresses, and they're, like, "Oh my god, that's what every person who's an actor aspires —" I mean, it's just a small, tiny little role. But I feel like the luckiest girl in the world that I was thought of.
So you went to film it.
AF: I went out to the Hamptons. I got into a trailer and got my hair and makeup done. They came in and gave me outfits. And then I walked into the room and Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin were there. I mean, it is crazy. The fact that I was even in a room with them is incredible. I haven't seen the movie yet, but my character started off with one line, and then Mr. Allen came in and said, "Why don't you establish that you're the personal trainer? Just say something." I'm, like, "Really? You want me to make up a line in your movie?" He was so cool, and so chill.
And you were in a scene with the stars of the movie. Were they nice?
AF: So nice. So nice. Alec was asking me, "Where are you from?" I'm, like, an extra basically. I thought it said a lot about them as people to ask those kinds of questions. I really was pleasantly surprised.
And what was Woody Allen like?
AF: He was the nicest, sweetest guy. He comes in just like you see him in his movies, like with his head down. He was just great. It's funny, one thing he did after my first take, he said, "Good job," like reassuring me. And then, "How about this time when Alec asks you if you like baseball, why don't you pretend you don't know he's going to ask you that?" I was probably just so eager and excited.
That is good advice.
AF: If I'm going to get acting advice, who better to get it from than Woody Allen?
Did it make you think you wanted to do more of this?
AF: Look. People used to ask me if I would ever do The Bachelorette again, and I would say, "Never say never" — but now I say no. I'm not going to go out and audition for shows or movies. That's not my thing. But if anything were ever to come up again, I would totally be on board. Because it's fun. It was just a fun experience. You won't see me at casting calls.
I was a fan of your Bachelorette season. But before that, you were an ad sales person at Facebook! This is such a crazy turn your life has taken in the past three years.
AF: The decision to leave Facebook was, to this day, the most difficult decision of my life. It was really a job that I'd worked at for years, and was super proud of, and did not want to give up. If you had told me when I got my job at Facebook that I would leave within a year, I would tell you that you were crazy. It was very, very hard. At the end of the day, I feel like you have to make the choice in your life that's going to leave you with the least regret. And I'd experienced Facebook. I was happy. But if I didn't go to this other path of trying to meet someone — I know the show doesn't have the best track record, but I believe you can meet someone in any way. I wasn't going to give it up. I knew that if I was watching at home, I always would have wondered, "What if?" and I would have regrets. And I had a really great relationship with my manager at Facebook. She was, like, "If you ever want to come back, come back. That option is there for you." I did The Bachelorette, and after, a bunch of opportunities started coming my way. I consider myself a businesswoman. I'm not stupid. And if good opportunities are coming my way, I'm going to take advantage of them and explore them.
After that, I was going to do a show on the Style Network that had a pilot, and I was on that for a year, working on it. It ended up not getting picked up. I always told my agent and lawyer, "I'll do this until it's hard." Like, I'll do this when opportunities are presenting themselves, because I'm not going to turn down great opportunities. But I'm not going to be then be one of those people who's a washed up reality star that's trying her hardest and showing up on every red carpet. That's not me. And that's never been my dream. Once people stop caring, I'm done.
I waited on that pilot, and my relationship from the show ended around that same time. I just was, like, "It's not for me." I moved back to San Francisco for three months and started looking into interviewing at Twitter. Because at that point, going back to Facebook after a couple of years, I would have been taking a step back — all the people I started with would be way higher up, and I would feel like I hadn't progressed in my life. So I was, like, "I'm going to interview at Twitter and go back to the Silicon Valley world." And then I got a call, randomly, from my agents that 1st Look, which is the show I do now, had called about me. I was, like, "What? The second I stop trying at all, this falls into my lap." I feel like some sort of force is telling me this is the right path for me. It took me a long time to feel like I'm good at my job; I'm self-deprecating.
I read your E! blog recapping this season of The Bachelorette. Do you still have a relationship with the show?
AF: Right now, I have more of a relationship with E!. I've been doing some correspondent work with them recently. But with ABC, absolutely, I was just on the "Men Tell All" episode Monday.
I've just have noticed you seem more honest about the show and the production of the show and what you actually think than past cast members are.
AF: Yeah, I may have gotten —
You called Brooks boring!
AF: I know. I may have gotten in a little bit of trouble before for saying too much. I push the boundaries with saying the behind the scenes things more, I think, than anyone else. It's a very fine line to walk sometimes. But I want to be honest. I want people to know really what's going on. For instance, one of the huge misconceptions I think out there is, "Oh, if the guy's in the Top 5, it means she really liked him." It's just not true. Maybe she did. Maybe there's a chance the Bachelorette or Bachelor likes everyone in their Top 5. But in my case, for instance, I was good friends with my Top 5, I thought they were great people. But really, I had romantic connections with two guys on my season. She's giving everyone a try, but you can't assume that every single one is love.
For instance, Drew seems extremely gay to me, and he's made it to the Top 3.
I know you can't say anything to that.
It is nice to read what the reality is. I feel like Desiree has gotten the worst deal of any Bachelorette ever — I'm surprised she made it out of there alive. The guy who wanted to lure her into a room alone the first night, maybe to kill her — and so on. I do think you're wrong, however, when you say that Chris wins. Ali, you know more than I do, but I assume it's Brooks.
AF: I 100% do not read the spoilers, but obviously I know the spoilers are that it's Brooks, because everyone tweets me the spoilers. I try so hard every season not to read them. I believe that I have detective skills on the show because I know what's going on behind the scenes that you're not seeing on camera. There's kind of a formula that producers use to try to get drama to unfold. I just really find it very hard to believe that they'd be playing up so much that Desiree is so in love with him and he is unsure if that really was the case.
I hope you're right.
AF: I just see something with her and Chris. Desiree definitely keeps quiet. She's a wonderful person, and I consider her to be a good friend of mine at this point.
The spoilers can be wrong sometimes, as you know.
AF: They were wrong on my season. They said that I ended up alone and I didn't pick anybody. That obviously wasn't the case. It really, really annoys me when people tell me I'm wrong, because the spoilers aren't always right.
You make a good point, and I hope that you're right and that Desiree and Chris write terrible poetry for the rest of their lives over her being bored with Brooks.
AF: I didn't call Brooks boring, I said the date was boring!
The headline was, like, "Is Brooks the Most Boring Frontrunner Ever?"
AF: I didn't say that! That's the headline they pulled! I just said the date was a little boring!
I blame things on headlines myself, Ali.
This interview has been edited and condensed.