People | 20 QUESTIONS

Mizuo Peck: 'Stay curious and never stop learning'

Special To The Japan Times

Name: Mizuo Peck
Age: 37
Nationality: Japanese/Irish/English/ Cherokee
Occupation: Actress
Likes: Flea markets, karaoke, popcorn
Dislikes: Arrogance, long winters, rats

1. Where do you currently live? Tribeca, a neighborhood in lower Manhattan.

2. What do you like about living there? Downtown has always been where the artists and musicians live and hang out. The architecture is beautiful and there’s lots of restaurants and cafes.

3. Where do you go to escape New York? I love driving upstate to my country house in the Catskills. I love to barbecue, garden and go canoeing in the stream.

4. What are the main differences you’ve observed between New York and Tokyo based on your trips here? From the shops to the restaurants, everyone is very friendly and welcoming in Japan. In New York, people tend to play it cool and not pay attention to you as much.

5. When you think of Japan, you think of … the food! I love everything from sushi to ramen to izakaya to onigiri.

6. Describe your favorite memory of Japan. I had such a wonderful experience when I shot a cameo for “Kyoryu Wo Horou,” with Hiroki Matsukata. I loved having a Japanese breakfast before going to set and driving through the Fukui countryside.

7. What ties do you or your family still have to Japan? My brother and I were in Tokyo together recently to visit our grandfather before he passed away. He was very old with long, white hair and a great sense of humor! Our aunt and uncle were there as well and it was very special to be together. We hadn’t been in the family home since we were kids.

8. Do you have a favorite Japanese word or phrase? I like “mizumizushī,” as it explains the “mizu” in my name. I was told it means “fresh and bright,” like a juicy ripe peach glistening in the sun.

9. What’s your favorite phrase in any language? I’ve always loved the Latin phrase “Carpe Diem” (“Seize the day”). Our time is so short here on Earth and we need to take risks, have great adventures, love deeply and enjoy every moment.

10. If you were a costume, what kind of parade would you be? I love Halloween and going to parties and the parade. I have dressed up as Carmen Miranda multiple times because I love her wild spirit.

11. What’s the most exciting/outrageous thing you have ever done? My first film after graduating college took me all the way up to the Yukon Territories in northern Canada. One evening I was in a saloon and drank a whiskey shot with a petrified miner’s toe in it, letting the disgusting toenail touch my lips. As insane and gross as this was, it was a local tradition and I was proud of myself for doing it.

12. What is your favorite film of all time? I really love the film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” by Michel Gondry. Every time I watch it, there’s something new to discover.

13. What should audiences in Japan expect from “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”? This movie is an adventure filled with jaw-dropping special effects and riveting action sequences. Plus all the characters bring the fun and mayhem out into the streets of London!

14. What attributes do you think you share with your “Night at the Museum” character Sacajawea? My aim was to endow the character of Sacajawea with her real-life qualities. She was a brave resourceful wife/mother/adventurer with neverending strength and resilience. I try to live my life with those attributes as well.

15. Any favorite on-set memories? There was something unique going on everyday on set, whether it was a bunch of dancers on stilts wearing special-effects body suits, running from dinosaurs, or Ben Stiller cracking us up in his “Laa” caveman prosthetics.

16. Any memorable moments with co-star Robin Williams over the three films? On the first film, we were standing together off screen and I was marveling at the music my costume was making with all the beads jangling around. I started moving to a beat and Robin improvised an entire rap song over it. I’ll always cherish those fun and spontaneous moments with him.

17. What song best describes your work ethic? I think Blondie’s “The Tide is High” is most fitting: “I’m not the kind of girl who gives up just like that.”

18. Who would win a fight between a lion and tiger? The lion, of course, because it’s the king of the jungle! I am also partial to lions because I was born under the star sign Leo, the lion.

19. What do you want to be when you grow up? I am already fulfilling my life-long dream of being an actress. I still have other ambitions such as becoming an illustrator, novelist, mother, homeowner, yogi and cellist.

20. Do you have any words of advice for young people? My advice is to stay curious and never stop learning. Life is about exploring, traveling and having great experiences. Take risks and live in the moment!

“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb” is screening in theaters nationwide.