Amy Adams is holding a baseball. Someone has given it to her as a joke because she stars in "Trouble With the Curve." In the family drama that has baseball as a backdrop, the actress plays the daughter of Clint Eastwood's Gus, a longtime professional scout whose eyes are going.
Since her character, Mickey, is an ambitious lawyer who has been raised around the sport, Adams worked with a coach so she could look like she had some game when she had to take the field for a scene with Eastwood.
"It took a while to get me out of my bad habits, which were being really clumsy and awkward," Adams says with a smile.
Sitting there in a velvet dark-red jacket, blouse and jeans, though, she turns the baseball in her hand with the ease of a veteran pitcher. One senses that the three-time Oscar nominee can handle anything thrown at her. And if you look at the number and variety of films she's been in recently or has coming out, you know that Hollywood thinks so too.
In "The Master," Paul Thomas Anderson's drama set in the 1950s about the founding of a suspect spiritual movement, Adams plays the wife of the group's charismatic leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a woman who, as one critic described, "is either pregnant or holding a child in almost all of her scenes." The film is already generating Oscar talk.
"It's funny, when you walk out of 'Trouble With the Curve' it is really lighthearted and warm," Adams notes, "and leaves you feeling better about your relationships. 'The Master' is the opposite -- at least for me -- it was unsettling."
Working with Eastwood, Adams says, was one of the reasons she was attracted to "Curve," which is directed by the actor's longtime producing partner Robert Lorenz. But she also liked the way the screenplay explored its father-daughter relationship.
"Personally, the characters' problems are very contemporary. A lot of times I play characters that feel old-fashioned -- or they actually are period pieces," Adams says. "This just felt like problems that I've had, problems my friends have had, the lack of communication with your family members, really wanting a conversation to go a different way, having to accept and concede to the individuals that your parents are as opposed to who you want them to be."
Raised in Colorado and her parents divorced when she was 11, Adams was a late bloomer when it came to Hollywood. She worked in dinner theater in Minneapolis before coming to Los Angeles in 1999 at age 24.
She started auditioning right away, getting TV roles, and in 2002 won a plum part in Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can" with Leonardo DiCaprio.
But it wasn't until Adams made the 2005 indie "Junebug," which brought her first Oscar nomination, that her career took off. The Disney musical "Enchanted" made her a star, and since then she has received two more Oscar nominations, as a young naive nun in "Doubt" and as the tough girlfriend of Mark Wahlberg's title character in "The Fighter."
Next summer, audiences will see Adams as Lois Lane in Zack Snyder's Superman movie, "Man of Steel."
"She plucky. She's spicy. I like her," Adams says about the role.
Adams says for "Trouble With the Curve" she had to get over her awe of Eastwood to play the role of a daughter who has to show her disapproval of her father.
"You cannot conquer what you ignore," she says. "So if I'm fearful, I have to admit that I'm a little intimidated by Clint and I have to get over it because I'm playing his daughter and I have to kind of take him down a little bit. And I have to do that with the manliest of men -- that's a challenge."
She says being in "The Master" was a bit intimidating, too. When Adams got the call from Anderson after reading the script, she thought it was "a no-brainer" to take the role but still wanted to hear from the writer-director how he saw the role.
"She is totally different than any character that I've played. She has so much going on internally in the way that Paul envisioned her being sort of omnipresent," says Adams about the role. "This posed a great challenge for me. I didn't know how much would make it onto the screen, how he was going to edit the film or anything, but just being there just getting to watch everything going on was pretty amazing. It was such an intense film."
Adams is also slated for the next untitled film from David O. Russell, who directed her in "The Fighter" and whose "Silver Linings Playbook" just won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival.