Though shes been acting since she was 16, Liv Tyler doesnt revel in the limelight.
The star of the Lord of the Rings trio, The Incredible Hulk, Jersey Girl and That Thing You Do says, I never wanted to be an actor, to be the superstar, to be the center of attention.
I always wanted to be working with groups of people that would teach me and elevate me and inspire me so I always sort of thrive in the company of other people.
She fulfills that wish on Sunday when she stars in HBOs new series, The Leftovers, a mysterious tale about the unexplained disappearance of 2 percent of the population and a cultish group that tries to gain control.
Tyler plays one of the leftovers whos being cultivated by the cult. Just before the script arrived, she was considering quitting.
I started praying to the universe: Tell me now, am I meant to keep going, keep focusing on being an actress or am I meant to pursue my other passions and dreams? I think being second generation to the entertainment industry and being bitten by the bug, that happens when youre a performer in some kind of way, says Tyler.
Its made me a little bit head shy about the whole experience of fame and attention. Im kind of shy in a lot of ways and dont like a lot of attention, which is strange.
Born to model-singer Bebe Buell, she is the biological daughter of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith; her mother lived with musician Todd Rundgren at the time of her birth. She thought Rundgren was her father until she was 8.
I think Ive always wanted to have some kind of a normal life just growing up in the household of entertainers and seeing that experience, because its very extreme, she says.
Theres big emotions and big feelings and one minute youre being home and youre totally normal and everythings in order and the next thing everythings chaotic and crazy and nuts and full of mystery and new people and its sort of back and forth. So Ive tried very hard in my life to keep something sacred for myself and sort of private.
She aims to foster that balance for her son, Milo, 9. I actually just bought a country house; I found a place that I felt good about so thats our next adventure to sort of incorporate that into our life Im always dreaming of moving to the country on a farm with Milo where he can be totally free and I can be totally dedicated to being his mom. Thats my secret fantasy.
Tyler, 36, is divorced from British musician Royston Langdon.
When Roy and I got divorced I went through that whole period I really had to retreat for a couple of years to sort of heal that and make sure that I was OK and that he was OK and Milo was OK, she says. My dad always said when I was a little girl, I never forgot it: Theres no way out but through.
The Leftovers is her first venture into television, an adjustment from film work.
With this we get the script five days before an episode, so were all waiting. At first that was tricky for me being comfortable with being uncomfortable. But now I love it because its an incredible challenge, and I dont have that much time to think about it. The truth is thats how we are as people. We dont really know whats going to happen tomorrow or next week.
Because of her gentle demeanor, people often overlook her resilient core. People think Im timid, she says.
I remember feeling that at such a young age just in the way I grew up and having this job at such a young age, you have to be very, very strong in order to be around all these different kinds of people and in those situations.
Its not for the timid at all, she laughs, or you cant survive it.
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