After “Alien,” I was sent all these serious-person scripts and most of what I’d done was comedy onstage. I thought, “God, when am I going to get back to that?” That has been frustrating because a good comedy is hard to find, and so are love stories — I love them, but they couldn’t really imagine me in a love story. If I came in the room, all the producers would sit down, and if there was a leading man, he’d usually sit down, too, because they wanted someone different, someone much smaller.
Did you feel pigeonholed because of your height?
If you’re tall, people expect you to be more mature, and for many, many years, I was not that. I think because of my career, I’ve kind of fooled people into thinking that I’m a serious person. There are some things I feel quite serious about, but in general, I’m on the silly side. I think that’s why I love working with Jim Cameron — if it’s an adventure, let me at it. But this is something any actor has to deal with. Anytime a movie registers, you get 10 more offers like that — after “Ice Storm”  I got so many mean, cold ladies. I think the only recourse is just find things to surprise yourself, and you’ll surprise your audience.
What’s a good example of that?
They didn’t want to see me for “Galaxy Quest” , but I thought, “This is my chance to show my own insecurity when I go out to L.A.,” because no matter who you were, [Hollywood] could make you feel as vulnerable as [her character] Tawny feels. It was one of the reasons I made her such a babe: Babes should have all the friends in the world, but I’m not sure they feel secure about that because they think it’s only skin-deep when it’s not.
So now that you have planted these magic beans, and by sheer luck they’ve all bloomed at the same time, what do you do with this garden that you have outside your window?
I don’t want to pick it! Probably no one will get as much enjoyment out of these four films as I do. Imagining Norma and Hildy and Virginia and Kiri together, I just feel like I hit the jackpot, man.
I would love to see those four characters in a room. Who would get along?
I’m not sure what Kiri would think being in a room like that — I’m sure she’d find Norma completely terrifying. I guess it would depend on what kind of wine Hildy brought to the gathering.