NEW YORK — Lynn Collins is busy studying an astrology book in her dressing room at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, where she’s starring as Rosalind in the Shakespeare in the Park production of “As You Like It.” Not that she needs any more luck — the pretty Texan has had a darn good year.
The actress, who declines to give her age (“Everyone always thinks you are lying,” she says), but is reportedly 26, was a relative unknown with Julliard on her résumé but not much else when she was cast opposite Al Pacino in last year’s “The Merchant of Venice.” All of a sudden, her name was being bandied about for awards. Then came a role in “Il Mare,” to be released next year, where she met now-boyfriend Keanu Reeves on the set. “I play Keanu’s secretary who falls for him,” she says, trying to suppress a smile.
Thanks to that relationship, paparazzi shots of her are suddenly appearing in the pages of People magazine. She’s sanguine about the sudden fame. “It’s just another aspect of the business,” Collins says. “I’ve never been a big trashy magazine person. It’s my life and for it to be scrutinized is strange, but it’s part of being a successful actor.
“I’m lucky to be with someone who’s tried very hard to get out of all that,” she continues. “I don’t like sceney-sceney stuff,” she explains, “it’s too much.” Instead, her life is a low-key New York existence of dinners and drinks with friends at neighborhood spots like Northwest and Isabella’s. A nomad who’s been living set-to-set, she’s calling the Upper West Side home for now, to be close to her Central Park stage.
As for preparing for the line-heavy part of Rosalind, which opens tonight with a Public Theater gala and runs through July 17, Collins only had one month, but she found it easy. “I was falling in love anyway,” she says, laughing. Her resulting on-stage enthusiasm for the romantic role is a bit like watching Punky Brewster do Shakespeare, but it’s contagious: Last week’s preview audience couldn’t help falling for her, too.
“It was a lot,” she admits of her whirlwind year. “But I was ready to kick it up a notch.”