Brad Pitt upset Angelina Jolie cast Jenny Shimizu lookalike for her new film
at Full Throttle
By Shauna Swartz
March 7th, 2006
Nearly ten years later,
Jenny Shimizu is still
being hounded by the
tabloids about the brief
relationship she shared
in the ‘90s with actress
In January, a British tabloid claimed that Jolie –
who is currently in a high-profile relationship with actor Brad Pitt –
was still seeing Shimizu on the side.
And just last month, another British rag wrote that Jolie had asked Shimizu to be the godmother of her children.
“I’d love to be that
responsible that someone
would ask me to do that,
but even I was shocked,”
says Shimizu about the
“maybe [Angelina] called me
and I didn’t get the message.”
But she says she’s still
friendly with Jolie,
and thinks it was admirable
that the actor,
who knows how sensitive
gave her a heads-up about
the January rumor.
Shimizu has more important matters to focus on these days.
The mechanic-turned-model-turned-actor is about to have her own show, Full Throttle.
It’s being picked up by a queer cable TV network that she can’t yet name because the deal is still in the works.
Q Television was originally slated to host the show, but in February the network halted all production for more than a week and laid off the majority of its staff, according to reports.
Shimizu is happy with the latest turn of events, however, and excited about her show’s new home.
She is also happy about what she describes as a big change in her life this year:
In addition to Jolie, Shimizu has dated ,
Ione Skye and Carla Bozulich of the L.A. punk band Geraldine Fibbers, among others.
But the woman who once boasted she had French-kissed Christy Turlington and been with
“every fine girl there is in the world”
is currently “happy in love” with the first steady girlfriend she’s had in almost three years.
In addition to doting on her new girl, Shimizu also cops to a soft spot for ferrets.
A friend of hers has an entire room in her house dedicated to a herd of the critters, and Shimizu regularly keeps new members for a two-week quarantine period before they can join the others.
“I’m like a halfway house,”
Now 38 and still striking, Shimizu was just 23 when she was scouted while hanging out in front of a club in L.A..
Soon she was appearing in music videos, guest-starring on Ellen, and eventually modeling for Calvin Klein.
In the early ’90s the five-foot-seven Angeleno was living in New York, and could be seen on the covers of fashion magazines,
in the pages of modeling’s legendary Pirelli calendar, and on the catwalk for Jean Paul Gaultier, Anna Sui, and Gianni Versace.
Shimizu’s foray into acting started in 1995 with queer director Todd Hughes’ indie flick Ding Dong,
about lesbian serial killers who sell cosmetics door-to-door and give their victims one last makeover before offing them.
She was later in another Hughes movie, The New Women (2000),
in which the world’s female population wakes up after a decimating flood to find all the men in comas,
conveniently sporting erections every 45 minutes.
But Shimizu’s most notable performance was in Foxfire (1996) a female bonding and revenge-taking flick based on a Joyce Carol Oates novel, which also stars Jolie and features a group bosom-tattooing scene.
Shimizu was an early adopter when tattoos were still on the fringe of queer hip, and her well-inked body features a woman straddling a Strap-One wrench.
(Snap-On being a leading tool manufacturer).
From age 22 to 24 she went to a trade tech for auto mechanics, but her true passion is motorcycles.
These days she doesn’t get to ride much because she’s still healing from an accident that happened last summer when a clutch lever failed while she was taking off at high speed.
She broke one of her legs in 16 places and was in bed for three months and on crutches for half a year.
Now she has a titanium screw in her knee and a Harley chopper in her garage, and says she’s always building something.
Shimizu’s passion for engines will play out in Full Throttle, which she describes as an action-packed, self-deprecating adventure show.
She says the series will reflect her weird and super athletic personality:
“I’m always willing to try to drive anything and drive it as fast as it can go.
I’m just open for any kind of new adventure.”
Each episode will follow the escapades of Shimizu and a celebrity guest such as Grassolean and bio-diesel advocate Daryl Hannah,
and , director of and Herbie: Fully Loaded.
Shimizu plans to host Quentin Tarantino for a NASCAR episode and Jenna Jameson for a segment on the best cars to have sex in.
And maybe we would physically find the best positions for each of the cars, says Shimizu.
She also wants to have Patty Schemel on the show, riding a burro, just for no reason.
It seems that the network has given Shimizu free reign on her show. She envisions a fantastical side to it, and speaks of an episode that will feature Daniela Sea, whom Shimizu describes as ethereal.
She says she wanted to base the episode on what the pair would have been doing if they’d met when they were nine years old, so they’ll be traipsing through the woods in search of the elusive unicorn.
She’s open, honest and compassionate, without playing that I’m-open-honest-and-compassionate thing, Shimizu says of Sea.
Recently the two bunked together at the Sundance Film Festival, where Sea treated her roommate to steamed veggies and brown rice each morning.
Shimizu met another future guest for her show, a skater sponsored by Element Skateboards, while taking part in an upcoming film called The Itty Bitty Titty Committee, a comedy about a woman who hooks up with an underground radical feminist group.
Directed by Jamie Babbit (But I’m a Cheerleader), it’s the first feature from queer filmmaking nonprofit POWER UP.
The film stars Melonie Diaz, and the cast includes Clea DuVall, Daniela Sea, and Guinevere Turner.
Itty Bitty will be the first film Shimizu has done in a while;
in recent years her work has largely consisted of TV appearances.
She says she enjoyed readjusting to the pace of film:
It was nice to get back into that slowness and thoughtfulness.
With TV it’s more manic.
She says her own TV show will be high-energy, with a lot of talking over each other, a lot of bragging.
Boasting is part of Shimizu’s shtick, but in real life she’s actually fairly humble, with a strong sense of humor about herself.
Recalling a recent conversation she had with Turner about how things have changed at this point in their careers, she says
I couldn’t even get a
role to play an Asian dyke
She quickly adds,
“but maybe that’s more about
how bad of an actor I am, really.”
She acknowledges that the field is more competitive these days,
now that Asian Americans are more frequently featured in film and TV.
Still, she says, casts are either all Asian or there’s none.
She adds that the modeling world has always seemed more open in that respect.
But viewing audiences will soon have a chance to embrace Shimizu again,
when Full Throttle finally comes to the small screen.