Emily Mortimer: Money Matters at Sundance

Actress Emily Mortimer at the Sundance Film FestivalShutter Island actress Emily Mortimer visited the Sundance Film Festival this week for the first time since giving birth to her second child last January. But an expanding brood doesn't mean she's picking movies that pay more.

"I certainly didn't take that into consideration when I signed up for this film," she told WalletPop about My Idiot Brother, which premiered at the indie fest."You take each job for a different reason when it presents itself," she said. "I hope I don't have to take too many films just for the money because that's a horrible feeling and it never turns out right. It's always bad to take a job for cynical reasons."

Mortimer, 39, (pictured at right) confesses she's not above being cynical when it comes to personal finance. In order to avoid paying 70% in taxes on the estate of her American actor-husband, Alessandro Nivola, in the event of his death, she became an American citizen. "I was very cynical about it and very sulking about it and very annoyed that I had to go through the whole thing," she said.

But after a long process that involved answering a battery of questions about the Constitution, several interviews and a blood test, she beamed red, white and blue when the big moment arrived. "I cried at my naturalization ceremony," she said. "I was totally moved and delighted and proud."

In My Idiot Brother, bought for distribution by The Weinstein Company, Mortimer plays an uptight mom visited by her blunt boob of a brother (Paul Rudd). The London-born Mortimer has logged major-studio time in a pair of Pink Panther reboots with Steve Martin. She took a giant leap in visibility as an upper-crust sweetheart in Woody Allen's Match Point. And she used the indie Lovely and Amazing as her calling card for work in American movies.

Sundance, a fishbowl of showbiz types, can provide actors an endless party platform to further their causes and align themselves with future projects. Despite disarming wit that seems suited for mingling, that hasn't been Mortimer's M.O. "I want to get more business-savvy in my mature years as an actress," she said. "I'm going to push and shove my way to the top!"

Mortimer said she's in a state of paranoia after a film premiere, wondering how it and she will be received. It can get in the way of schmoozing, a networking skill that is taken to artful levels at cinema gatherings like Sundance.

"I find it quite nerve-wracking and tend to deal with it by having too much to drink in the evening," she said. "And that's the way to deal with it, is to develop a small drinking habit while you're here."

Dad, it seems, wasn't much help in forging Mortimer's approach to money, either. Asked if her father, the colorful writer and lawyer John Mortimer, ever gave her any financial tips, she replied, "The only real advice he ever gave me was to make sure I always lined up for myself another boyfriend before I dumped the last one."
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