Details: You're in Dinner for Schmucks. You don't play one of the schmucks, do you?
Stephanie Szostak: No, I play Paul Rudd's girlfriend, Julie. My friend said the trailer looks funny, but that I look like the buzzkill.
Details: Are you a buzzkill?
Stephanie Szostak: I think I'm just the voice of reason. It depends on whose side you're on. She's caught in the middle of this thing, and her boyfriend is screwing up, and she loves him, but she's getting the sense that he's not that good.
Details: Dinner for Schmucks is actually a remake of a French movie.
Stephanie Szostak: Le Dîner de Cons, which means "Dinner for assholes." Or "idiots," but it's not idiots. "Con" means "vagina," but it's not used like that. So when you say "cons," you mean "asshole" or "jerk."
Details: "Schmucks" sounds a little more marketable.
Stephanie Szostak: A lot of people are really offended by the schmuck thing.
Stephanie Szostak: You know what "schmuck" means? Penis.
Details: Dinner for Penises would have been a great title. The name aside, how true is this film to the original?
Stephanie Szostak: The French movie takes place mostly in one apartment, very much like a play. My character isn't nearly as present in the original. And the story's completely different. The American version is very much a screwball comedy. The French one is awesome, but it's very mean-spirited. I remember watching it and thinking, "This could never be an American movie."
Details: American audiences know you best as Jacqueline Follet from The Devil Wears Prada—though they might have a hard time recognizing you.
Stephanie Szostak: Yeah, everyone has seen that movie. They talked about Jacqueline Follet the whole time, even though I was in it for about a minute. And they made me look older so it would be believable that I might take over a magazine.
Details: When did you decide to move to the U.S.?
Stephanie Szostak: I played golf competitively as a teenager. I actually took a year off after high school and just played golf and went to a university in France for maybe a month and dropped out. Then I started looking into American universities.
Details: You ended up at William & Mary. Williamsburg, Virginia must have been quite the culture shock for you.
Stephanie Szostak: It's the South. It's a state school. Looking back on it now, it was an amazing education, and I got to play golf, but it was just different. I mean, I smoked and wore black eyeliner, and people just looked at me sideways! I remember some kid asking me if we had salad in France. A good friend of mine was from Pakistan, and someone asked her if they lived in trees.
Details: Do people have a tough time pronouncing your last name?
Stephanie Szostak: My name is actually Polish. It's my husband's name. Most people say "Zaw-stak," but it's "Show-stack," like you're going to a show, eating a stack of pancakes. Or "Show me your stack." But I don't have a stack, so I can't say that...
Details: Wait, what does that mean?
Stephanie Szostak: [laughs] I don't know...
The New Beatrice Inn (Now Without Irony)
An Interview with The Gates Star Janina Gavankar
The New Queen of the Action Epic