‘Break Point’ Star Amy Smart Defies Gender Stereotypes In The Bro-Centric Tennis Comedy
Having worked in Hollywood for over two decades, Amy Smart is no stranger to the typical "dream girl" role given to plenty of actresses, having played the "perfect girlfriend" role herself in everything from Varsity Blues to Just Friends to Scrubs. But in the new movie Break Point , she gets the welcome chance to switch things up, playing Heather, a veterinary assistant who works for J.K. Simmons' character and also serves as a love interest for his sweetly awkward son, Darren (David Walton).
"In some ways, women are just still so depicted like 'the girlfriend of-' or 'the wife of-' and defined in that way," Smart tells Bustle. "[But Heather] is this working girl who’s trying to make a career by herself and for herself and also aims to have a normal life."
Still, it's disappointing that Heather is the only real, meaty role for a female character in the film, a tennis-centric story based around two brothers' attempt to win a grand slam tournament. She serves as a foil to (and in some ways, a stabilizing force for) the frat-tastic dynamics of the boys at the sports movie's center, but is far from a leading character. Despite this, though, Smart is happy with the role she played.
"I feel like in every story there’s usually a balance of females to males, and this is definitely a male-driven movie," Smart says, "but I think my character is a good balance for the ups and downs that the brothers are going through."
It was the relationships between the characters that drew Smart to the role. "I honestly really, really liked the script a lot," the actress says. "I love character-driven movies — it’s what actors crave. It felt like the characters were really interesting and fun and three dimensional."
And even though Heather isn't the main character, her role in Break Point (out now) adds another layer to an already-hilarious film and proves that Smart can hold her own on-screen with some huge personalities. She says that a scene in which Heather hangs out with the guys at a bar, all of them sitting around a table drinking and bantering, was her favorite part of the movie to film.
"There is something very special about being the only girl amongst the guys because they open up and they’re more themselves and less censored," Smart says, adding that she had a great time improvising with her male co-stars. "[They are] in a more comfortable place where they don’t feel as intimidated by being surrounded by a lot of women, and they’re acting more genuinely themselves."
Watching Break Point, it's clear that the actors' real-life comfort with each other translated to the screen. When we meet Heather, she's at work in the veterinary office, and she riffs with Simmons' and Jeremy Sisto's characters, showing the relaxed relationship the character has with her family.
"I liked that she’s had this history with the family but she’s always sort of been on the outskirts, and that there’s this attraction between the two characters [Heather and Darren]," says Smart.
Smart's character Heather is not written as a Barbie doll or any other cliche, but as a relatable "cool girl" whose desirability comes from her personality, as opposed to simply her looks. It's a welcome departure from the Hollywood norm, and it's one big reason that both Break Point and its stars are so easy to love.
Images: Broad Green Pictures (2)