Cameron Diaz is a movie star who no longer shoots movies these days, but she still has some great stories from her days as an A-lister. In fact, she recently shared a wild story from the set of her 2006 staple film The Holiday, a movie in which she was tasked with running -- in heels -- for an entire week. She shared the details behind what happened and why in a recent interview and after reading it, my own feet hurt.
You may remember the scene in The Holiday already--and spoilers if you haven't seen this movie in the past 15 years. In it, Cameron Diaz’s Amanda has just spent her Christmas holiday making a romantic connection in England. She’s about to head back to sunny California, but decides instead that it’s time to be bold. So, she decides to run back to a cottage. The only problem is that Amanda is wearing designer clothing and heels in the scene and Diaz had to run over and over again in the shoes. Unfortunately, as Cameron Diaz relayed in a recent interview with Vulture, they shot the scene over and over again, but ultimately only used two shots of Amanda running back across the landscape.
They only used two shots, but we shot like ten shots of me running across ten different fields. And I’m wearing that Valentino cashmere, wool trench coat, a turtleneck cashmere sweater and jeans, and my high-heeled boots. And we covered all the hillside with this fake snow, which was totally biodegradable.
The fake snow thing was a given, but I do like the added detail it was biodegradable-- no asbestos here! Meanwhile, this scene is very notable and popular in the film. It’s just as Diaz described. She’s running at a quick clip down a snow-covered lane, across a bridge and through a field, eventually even stopping to catch her breath. It’s a notable movie scene, but when you factor in the fact Cameron Diaz spent a week sprinting just to get around :45 seconds of footage, the whole acting gig looks a whole lot less glamorous.
I suppose things could be worse. Cameron Diaz, for example, seems to have a fairly good attitude about all of the running she did. She also was wearing heels, but it's worth noting they were boots with heels, so she wasn’t killing herself in stilettos or anything like that. And there was an added side benefit, according to the actress:
It’s all these long shots, like really far away. I’m just this tiny little thing running in the distance. And of course, the music is blasting while I’m shooting it. So I had the tempo to which I’m running. I’m flying down this field and up this hill and down this row of trees. And the camera’s on a track, and it’s tracking me as I run through the trees. Literally, I was so fit by the end of that week. I ran probably seven miles a day in those heels.
But when you factor in scenes like The Holiday’s running scene, I kind of understand why Cameron Diaz is “retired” from acting these days. She has a baby at home and wine to sell; she doesn’t need to be running around in heels for long hours at a time, at someone else’s pleasure (director Nancy Meyers in this case). Given Cameron Diaz also told the news outlet the scene was totally unscripted and she found out about it only later, running in heels really was outside of her control.
Being an actor or actress has a lot of perks, but running in heels is not seemingly one of them. (A fact Bryce Dallas Howard can also attest to.) The good news is that scene plays well in The Holiday and didn’t come off as schlocky, so it was probably worth doing, even if seven days of effort only let to two shots total.