Malin Akerman: White House Home Wrecker?
This Woman We Love has a thing for the Internet, and quite a thing for President Obama
By A.J. Jacobs
There were some hints that Malin Akerman would play along. For one thing, she agreed to wear an exceedingly tight latex outfit in Watchmen — a costume she compares to a human condom. For another, there’s her appearance in The Heartbreak Kid with Ben Stiller, for which she donned the most memorable merkin in Hollywood history. Also, she was raised in Canada (they’re polite). And she was born in Sweden (they’re accommodating).
So I wasn’t surprised when Malin said, “Absolutely. Let’s do it.” The request? To go on the Internet and see what’s out there about Malin Akerman — the good, the bad, the depraved. I open my laptop and click on Malin’s Wikipedia page. She scans it. Pretty accurate. She’s thirty-one. She’s got the Swedish version of an umlaut over the first a in her last name (as in Åkerman). She went to a bunch of schools (“I got bored easily,” she explains), including a Catholic one called Dante Alighieri Academy in Toronto. So she’s Catholic? No, actually her mom brought her up Buddhist. “My boyfriend at the time was moving to that high school. And you know how the Catholic girls wear those little uniforms? I said to him, You are not going there without me. So I lied and said I was Catholic. It was fun to get the uniform. It works.”
Right now, she’s wearing a comparatively demure black top and jeans. We’re meeting at a sunny café in Greenwich Village. Malin is in town to shoot a movie in which she plays a woman with alopecia (sort of the opposite of her Heartbreak Kid gig).
“I shaved off my eyebrows for the part,” she says. “See?” She points to penciled-in blond eyebrows — which look impressively realistic. “Mona Lisa had no eyebrows, so I figure I’m in good company.” Even with no eyebrows and minimal makeup, she’s beautiful.
I click on a photo from a Google image search. It’s the time-honored getting-out-of-the-car crotch shot. Malin unleashes a gasp, then a laugh. “Can I tell you something? I am wearing underwear. It’s skin-colored underwear. I couldn’t believe these guys were such perverts — they’re getting down as low as they possibly can, and then I’m like, They’re going to think I’m naked and, sure enough, lo and behold.”
We click on some of the awards she’s received. One site has bestowed upon her the coveted Thigh of the Week — and she’s in contention for the Thighnal Four. “Thank you to the thigh people.” She laughs. She has a high tolerance for creepiness.
She also won the Spike TV Guys Choice “Hot N’ Fresh” award. I click on her red-carpet interview, in which she confesses to a crush on President Obama. I ask her to elaborate: “I get sweaty palms when I think about him. He’s so supremely intelligent, and he’s a man. I just want to go in there and become a home wrecker. No, I really don’t.”
I tell her the Internet has pictures of a shirtless Obama vacationing in Hawaii. “I might have to have a little bathroom break. Change my panties.”
The woman is clearly passionate about politics. I find the photo.
“Oh, my God. I really need to meet him and mess up his marriage. And mess up mine, too… Have you seen his hands? I’m sorry, but I’m a big hand freak, and those hands could wrap around you twice.”
Her other celebrity crush, by the way, is… Bill Paxton. Paxton? Seriously? “I think the fact that he’s able to handle three women at once on Big Love, you’re like, Wow, that guy is a man. I mean, I don’t know what he’s like in real life…”
I love that she has a Paxton crush. She may look like a conventional down-the-middle blond, but clearly Malin has an appealingly off-kilter brain, and not much of a filter attached to it.
Malin’s real-life husband is Roberto Zincone, an Italian drummer for her band, the Petalstones. We’re watching their video on YouTube. “If you read the comments, it’s like, What is this shit? I’m like, Listen, guys, I never claimed I could sing. I gave it a shot.”
Roberto and Malin were the only single people in the band, so after band practice, they’d “sit for hours with a bottle of wine, a pack of cigarettes, and an English dictionary, because he didn’t speak a word of English.”
The video cuts to him in a sleeveless black T-shirt. “How can you not love a man banging on the drums? He knows how to keep a rhythm,” she says, adding her best Monty Python-esque “know what I mean?”
It helps that he has imperfect teeth. “I’m a tooth person… I like quirky teeth. My husband has little teeth with spaces in between them. He hates them and I love them. I like people with buckteeth, and I like it when they crinkle a bit. It’s very charming.”
Like her heavily tattooed husband, Malin has a couple of her own, which landed her on the cover of Inked magazine. The first is a Buddhist lotus on her upper back. She twists her torso and tugs down the top of her shirt to show me.
The other is a Z on her wrist in honor of her husband, Zincone. “If he doesn’t behave, it can be for Zorro. Or turn it on its side and find a man named Nathan.”
We click on the trailer for Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn’s Couples Retreat, in which she plays Vaughn’s wife. But what I really want to show her is one of her first breakout performances, a threesome with Eric and his girlfriend on Entourage. She laughs as we watch.
“That’s how I met Emmanuelle Chriqui (the other female third of the group). And now she’s one of my best friends. That was the one and only time I kissed that hot little mama. Unfortunately, I like to feel a little stubble when I kiss. Women are too soft.”
We’ve been looking at Malin Akerman online for the last couple of hours. So I decide to finish our adventure by asking her what non-Akerman sites she visits in her off time. She hesitates. “I have this weird obsession with kids and old people falling. Like funny falls. It is awful, but it’s the thing that makes me laugh the most. And you know that they’re fine, or else they wouldn’t post it.”
We click on a “funny falls” collection on YouTube. Kids wipe out on an icy pond. A lady face-plants on a treadmill. “Ohhhh!” she says. “Come on, you can’t tell me it’s not funny.” A dad falls on his son in a wading pool and the kid goes flying. “Oh, my God! Oh, oh, oh!” Malin is laughing hard now, taking deep breaths. “Sorry, it’s so evil… There’s the dog… oh, and the kid!” She claps her hands. It’s unrestrained laughter, like when you’re tickling a three-year-old. “Oh, my God, that’s so good. Oh, Jesus. It’s great. It’s mean, but…” The famous clip of a local-news reporter stomping grapes at a winery, and then slipping and plummeting from the platform. “Oooooh,” says Malin. “I’m sure she’s extremely hurt, but it’s just so good.”
Malin unleashes the most infectious, contagious laughter, drowning out the screams of agony onscreen. As she once said about buckteeth, it’s very charming.