Finding the right Carla for The Other Sister proved very difficult for the filmmakers
because there were so many young women to see. "Juliette Lewis was someone I didn't
know very well," producer, director & writer Gary Marshall says. "She came
in and had such an interesting take on this character, I said we have to follow up on
this. There were a couple of scenes where she came up with a whole new approach that I
never thought of. I like to be surprised. Juliette loved the funny side of Carla. She
likes to be funny."
"I'm really a lot like Carla"
Lewis describes her character as one who "wants to have the freedoms that we all
take for granted. The freedom to love or to take that risk of making a mistake in love or
taking the risk of failure in school or living on one's own. The freedom to try and fail
and try again."
Lewis asserts that she shares a lot of her character's emotions. "I'm really a lot
like Carla in the way of not having all the answers in love; and in dealing with people.
Both Carla and I say just what we're feeling at the moment and are likely to blurt out a
thought the moment it comes up."
Her character's need for self-determination also mirrors the actress's history as a
teenager. With the support of her parents, the family chose to make the young actress
independent so she could bypass restraints on minors allowing her to choose how she wanted
"I've never felt anything like this before."
Lewis was born and raised in Southern California. Her father is actor Geoffrey Lewis,
and her mother is a graphic artist. Her first leading role was at the age 12 in Showtime's
miniseries Homefires, and she went on to star in several motion pictures, including
Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase and Crooked Hearts with Jennifer Jason Leigh. Lewis
also had a recurring role in the critically acclaimed television series The Wonder Years.
The NBC movie of the week Too Young To Die? soon followed.
In 1991, Lewis starred in Martin Scorsese's remake of the classic thriller Cape Fear,
co-starring Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte and Jessica Lange. Lewis was nominated for both an
Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.
Following Cape Fear, Lewis starred opposite Woody Allen in Husbands and Wives, playing
an educated college student with a penchant for older men.
"This role of Carla is so nice for me" Lewis explains, "because of the
beauty and purity of the character. It's really about someone being self-determined in
spite of all these obstacles. She has to fight through all these barriers that's sort of
remarkable and even inspirational. And playing it, I've never been so consistently moved
on a daily basis. I've never felt anything like this before."
Lewis found herself seeking out the childlike innocence and purity of her character in
the face and actions of her 2-year-old niece.
"She's flying on her own talent" Diane
Diane Keaton was in awe of the young actress who played her daughter. "It's like
she's flying. She's flying on her own talent and she doesn't need any help from anybody.
She's amazing." Keaton says. "Her impulses are so unique and natural and
instinctive. I wish I could learn something from her, but you can't learn talent."