Sundance Interview: Emmanuelle Chriqui Discusses ‘Shut Eye,’ ‘Super Troopers 2,’ & Splenda

Emmanuelle Chriqui
WENN

Emmanuelle Chriqui is best known for her role as Sloan on HBO‘s Entourage, but these days, the stunning star has a lot going on. She’s currently starring as a hypnotist on the new Hulu series Shut Eye, which centers on a con artist psychic whose real powers are uncovered after he’s assaulted. This summer, fans can see her in Super Troopers 2, the long-awaited follow-up to the 2001 cult classic. We recently caught up with Emmanuelle over the phone while she was at Sundance Film Festival to discuss her upcoming projects as well as her collaboration with SPLENDA®.

Cory Mahoney: Hi, Emmanuelle!

Emmanuelle Chriqui: Hi, Cory! How are you doing?

I’m good, how are you?

I’m good, thank you!

It’s so nice to talk to you.

Ditto. I’m in the hubbub of Sundance right now.

I’m jealous! It’s a rainy day here in New York…

Oh, man, sorry…

Well, it’s okay, I’ve actually been spending the day watching some Shut Eye

[Gasps]

And I’m really hooked, I just watched the first episode. I’m really into it.

Aw, yay! Thank you!

What was it about the show that first caught your eye?

Listen, this is the most unique script that I have ever read, and I love, you know, the psychics and all of that. I think people are intrigued by it, as I am, and it’s just such a character-driven piece. The role, as you know, is unlike anything I’ve ever had the opportunity to play before, so I just jumped at it. And, you know, proceeded to fall in love with my cast because they’re a-MAZING! You just wait. You just watched the first episode? It gets SOO good.

It set it up like there’s gonna be so much to come, so I’m excited to see that.

Yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Well, you said that you’re intrigued by it, and I actually just went to see a psychic for the first time.

[Laughs] Ohh…

Yeah, so I was left with some mixed feelings, but I’m wondering — have you ever gone to see a psychic?

I have. I don’t go often, but I have. It wasn’t mind blowing to me… I have had much greater experience going to healers, not for, like, an intuitive sense, more just really feeling energetically different. That’s kind of what I gravitate to… I think, especially after this show, I have mixed feelings about going. [Laughs]

[Laughs]

But, in all honesty, I actually really believe that there are very gifted people. I just think, like anything, when you invite someone into that close proximity, you have to be careful who you invite in, you know?

Oh, definitely. I completely agree. Actually, as the show started, I had a flashback to my experience with the psychic, because the first thing she said was “oh, I can give you this candle for a price,” and that’s the first thing Charlie Haverford [Jeffrey Donovan] says in Shut Eye

[Laughs] Yes! And you’re like, “Oh. My. God. Have I been had?” [Laughs]

[Laughs] That was my first concern. But the other thing I noticed, and loved, about the show was how strong the women are?

Mhmm…

I feel like I don’t see that on TV as often as I’d like, so how was that experience for you? Is that a decision that you guys make and talk about, or is it just kind of like, let’s put these badass women in here?

Well, I think, it was really Les Bohem, the creator, just wrote these incredible characters. Strong women characters, that I feel like we’re starting to see more and more of in television. But it’s really nice when a man writes them because I just feel like it says a lot. And it says a lot about Les. So, that was one of the reasons, in your original question, why did I gravitate to it, for all of those reasons. It’s just this intensely character-driven piece, all of them. There was never a moment where I was like, “oh, that’s, like, the typical chick role.” You know what I mean? I didn’t have that at all. I was like, whoa! These characters are all left of center, and intriguing, and crazy. And I’m in. I love it!

Yeah, that scene with you and KaDee [Strickland], where she burns you with the cigarette…

Yeah…

I was like, wow, I’ve never seen… that. Normally, it’s the guy doing the beat-down.

Yeah!

And I just — I didn’t love seeing you get burned, but I loved what was happening.

[Laughs] Right, right, right! I get it! [laughs] Thank you. Yeah, I love that too. It was an intense scene. That was actually one of our first scenes that we had to shoot, and it was crazy, but really exhilarating, and it absolutely set the tone for what the rest of the experience was going to be like, certainly for myself. I was like, wow, this is going to be… This project was one of those where, even if I worked one day or five days on an episode, there was no phoning it in. It was really, really, you were bringing it.

It shows, you guys are doing a really great job.

Aw, thank you so much, I appreciate it.

So, I have to say, I never watched Entourage, but I’ve always sort of been familiar with you because you and the character of Sloan were sort of inescapable, especially with such a massive fanbase… and it still looks like you haven’t aged a day since your Entourage days… What’s your secret?

Oh my god, you’re the sweetest. I mean… I don’t even… To be honest with you, I make a very concerted effort to live a really healthy lifestyle. I really do. I drink a shit ton of water, I work out, I eat well. I really believe in organic food, non-GMO food. One of the reasons I was so happy to come to Sundance and stand behind SPLENDA® Naturals with Stevia is because of that. It’s really believing in a big company, like Splenda, doing something like this, that’s conscious and cool, and healthy and delicious! Really, I’m not kidding you, that is a very, very important part of my life. When I’m in LA, at home, there is nothing that isn’t organic or non-GMO in my house, and I’m a big environmentalist, so I feel like, treat the planet as you would yourself. And that’s kind of, really, there is no big secret. That’s truly how I live my life. I love to live healthfully.

Well, now you’ve made me feel bad for already failing my New Years’ resolution.

[Laughs] You’re hilarious.

So, how did this partnership with SPLENDA® come about?

You know what? A delicious, all natural sweetener? I mean, the thing that’s so special about the SPLENDA® Naturals is that, I don’t know if you’re a big fan of Stevia or not, but most have such a crazy bitter aftertaste, and this one just doesn’t. So, you can have the sweetness without that foul aftertaste, which is awesome. [Laughs] So, I’m all about that.

That’s perfect! You’re also going to be in Super Troopers 2

Yes… I am…

That’s so exciting! Can you tell me a little bit about that?

You know, I don’t know much. We’re editing right now. “We” — I mean, they are editing right now. It’s supposed to come out in the summer, hopefully? Maybe late summer. Listen, I went from shooting Shut Eye to Super Troopers, and it was a welcome relief, it was actually amazing, as you could imagine, shooting something as dark and intense as Shut Eye to going and laughing my ass off for a month and a half was incredible. Honestly, these guys. Wow. I was working with the most consummate comedians, and my part was really fun. I think it will surprise a lot of people, it’s gonna be fun. It’s another way outside-the-box thing for me. But I can’t tell you what it is because I can’t ruin it!

[Laughs] Oh no, please don’t ruin it! I can’t wait to see it. Was there a lot of pressure on you though, to follow up such an iconic comedy, especially after such a long time?

No, no. Not at all. I think probably the troopers did more than I did. This is their passion project that they’ve been — it took a minute to get it going. If anything, I was just keenly aware of how the fans are chomping at the bits for this. Like, the fan support was unbelievable. I mean, honestly, it shocked me. I think there was actually a real crossover between Entourage fans and Super Troopers fans, like, there is a similar demographic, so people were stoked.

That’s perfect! So, are you working on anything else that you’re excited about?

At the moment, no. You know, I’m also dabbling in producing stuff, so there are a couple of projects that I’m going to be producing, but it’s all in the very beginning stages. But it’s yet another creative outlet that I’m excited about, and I really believe in those projects, so, that’s cool!

That’s awesome, I’m excited to see you producing more. I love when women get behind the camera.

Aw, thanks! I appreciate that. I’m excited.

CM: Well, thank you so much, it was such a delight to talk to you.

Thank you!

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