updated 8 May 2012, 18:58
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Sat, Apr 14, 2012
The New Paper
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Blonde ambition
by Sylvia Toh Paik Choo

People want her to take her clothes off.

And Brooklyn Decker was off - by her own admission - on how being a model, and being blonde, stereotype you.

The blonde ex-model now actress cuts to the chase: "I don't blame them, people wanting you to take your clothes off, not all models can act."

Even as the samples of testosterone round the interview table tried to blink at the very idea - Victoria's Secret model bares her double-decker secret - she was off again, like a machine-gun pummelling you with names to the contrary: "Sharon Stone, Charlize Theron, Milla Jovovich."

Former models, famous actresses.

Said the American hottie who made four straight cameos in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition, before becoming the cover girl in 2010: "I'm still wetting my feet."

That same year, she sealed her spot in pop culture with a pair of unquestionable titles: Sexiest Woman Alive (Esquire) and Hotter Than Hell (Guys Choice).

Last year, she went the whole nine yards into the movies.

Her debut was as a hot, young school teacher in Just Go With It with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston.

We are in mid-town Tokyo, at the Ritz-Carlton, to talk about the role she plays in the blockbuster, Battleship, an epic action-adventure across the seas, in the skies, over land, battling alien invaders.

In Battleship, opening today, she has graduated to physical therapist rehabilitating combat veterans. She is also the admiral's (Liam Neeson) daughter.

Decker is skinny in the flesh, lanky, and any onlooker will forgive you for thinking: She's a model? (And to finish the thought, but she's so ordinary!)

Ordinary is good; indeed, director Peter Berg's film is "one for the family". Make it fun, make it credible, make it relatable.

It all begins with a chicken burrito.

Great opening, lead actor Taylor Kitsch's character does a crazy stunt to get the girl he wants get a chicken burrito.

Decker said: "Peter Berg deconstructs women. There are two women in Battleship, and we play serious jobs (sic)."

Was she intimidated to get cast in a summer blockbuster?

"Absolutely," she said. "Personally, it was intense, but I did not hesitate, (I) wanted to give women strength. Both (women) were new and vulnerable, it was a good part to mine."

With pride, she added: "I have auditioned for every role, several times, I work very hard. And I'm still learning."

The other woman, sailor rather, is played by popstar Rihanna and of course, we all want to know how the two got on.

Decker said: "We did not know each other, and on set, we hardly had scenes together. But it's on the press run (publicity tours) that we got to become friends.

"And... at the premiere, we sat together and rooted for each other's scenes, she'd nudge me and say: 'You go, girl!'"

Decker's "go", she owes to Berg.

"I feel a debt of gratitude to Peter, he made me tougher. In the heavy scenes, he made me go without sleep two days. And then he'd like hide in the bush and come out at you with a machine gun!

"To frighten the actor, get a reaction. He wanted that intensity from all of us.

"Don't relax!"

There was not much chance of that from the start.

Multiple auditions

"I auditioned five times for Battleship. First I sent him tapes, finally we met first time and he asked if I can take tough (roles).

"He grabbed me, wrestled me to the ground, saying: 'Show me snot bubbles'!

"What do you mean 'snot bubbles', yes of course I know what they are, but you want me to produce them now?"

The blonde wanted it more than anything, and worked her butt off physically snorting bubbles out her nose.

And she got the part.

She is next up in What To Expect When You're Expecting, with Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez. The romcom opens on May 17.

Decker is married to tennis ace Andy Roddick since 2009 and they have an English bulldog named Billie Jean.

Sporty as the couple is, has Roddick gone to as great a stretch as Kitsch's character did, to steal her a sandwich, or anything?

A pause, a tug at her $7 Topshop earrings, and Decker laughs off a no.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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