Back in the day, Elisabeth Shue was pretty much the go-to Sweet Girl Next Door (see The Karate Kid, Adventures in Babysitting, Cocktail, Back to the Future II & III). Even her hooker in the Oscar-nominated Leaving Las Vegas came with a heart of gold. But lately, she’s been eager to chip away at that facade. This month, she returns to CSI as Julie Finlay, a blood-spatter expert with a complicated past. And on the big screen, she stars opposite Jennifer Lawrence in the thriller House at the End of the Street, playing a immature mom concerned about her precocious daughter’s creepy new boyfriend. Vulture called the mother of three to ask her questions about parenting Katniss Everdeen, her inaccurate Wikipedia page, and why she can’t tell her daughter she met Justin Bieber.
You worked on this movie with Jennifer Lawrence, pre–Hunger Games. Was it weird to see her blow up after that?
Well, this was her second film after Winter’s Bone, and that was the moment you knew that she was going to be nominated. I had a very strong feeling she was going to have a quick rise to the top. She also has a really strong sense of herself. She’s incredibly confident. I was not surprised at all, to be honest.
Your older kids must’ve been so jealous you worked with her.
My 11-year-old is really excited. I told her, “Look, you hung out with her. She’s like, “I didn’t know it was her though!”
What do you remember being around Jennifer’s age, when you filmed your first movie, 1984’s The Karate Kid?
I came into this business a little more innocently. I didn’t get a publicist until after, like, Cocktail [in 1988]. After three major movies, I was like, “Oh, I guess you’re supposed to get a publicist?” Girls that are in the business now that are successful are more savvy.