Academy Award-winning actress Marisa Tomei was in town last Friday for a whirlwind day at Ringling College of Art and Design. Dressed in high-waisted mustard-colored trousers and a baby-pink silk top, her wavy brown hair perfectly tousled, the bubbly Tomei got down to business autographing posters, touring the college and answering a few questions for Sarasota Magazine.
Here as part of Ringling’s Digital Filmmaking Studio Lab—a collaboration between the college and Semkhor Productions—Tomei says she’s never been to Sarasota before. “It looks like there’s a lot of that old-fashioned Florida charm [here],” she says.
Tomei was invited to Ringling by college president Larry Thompson and Semkhor Productions owner David Shapiro, and is the latest film celebrity to make an appearance at the school. Past notables include Werner Herzog, Dylan McDermott, Anna Paquin, Matt Dillon, Adrian Grenier and Luke Wilson, among others. “I have a lot of friends in Florida,” Tomei says. “So I visited them, then came up to Sarasota to check it out.”
The actress, whose filmography includes My Cousin Vinny (for which she won an Oscar), Untamed Heart, The Wrestler (with Mickey Rourke) and Crazy Stupid Love (with Steve Carrell), has been busy, working on both film and theater projects and splitting time between New York and Los Angeles. So how does she choose between film, theater and television?
“The nice thing is, I don’t have to. I get to do all three and more—I mean, does singing in the shower count as another medium? That’s my favorite,” she jokes. “But I just came off [The Realistic Joneses] on Broadway, with Tracy Letts and Michael C. Hall, then went right to L.A. and am about to start a movie with Diana Keaton. I get to do a bunch of different things in different places, which is really nice.”
Tomei is also beginning to dabble in producing, another reason she was excited to visit Ringling. “There are some wonderful projects that I have going, and maybe there could be a collaboration,” she says.
Tomei also says she’d love to work on a project with directors Sarah Polley (Away from Her) and Lynn Shelton (Your Sister’s Sister; TV’s New Girl and The Mindy Project), and that one of the actors she’s most enjoyed working with has been Robert Downey Jr., with whom she starred in Only You. “I had a dream about him last night, so he’s on my mind,” she says with a laugh.
She says the best film she’s seen recently is Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and that she’s currently hooked on the TV show Transparent, with Jeffrey Tambor. And for fun, she loves a Sunday flea-market excursion. “I go religiously—I like a late breakfast and a treasure hunt,” she says.