Mena Suvari — best known as Kevin Spacey's fantasy girl in American Beauty — went retro for her prostitute role in Sonny (opening Dec. 27). The film, which marks Nic Cage's directorial debut, is set waaay back in the early '80s. It's novel for the 23-year-old actress, who wasn't old enough to fully experience that time first hand.

"I loved that it was a period film," Suvari enthuses. "I loved the costumes and the hair and makeup design that I got to play with."

Only someone who didn't actually wear these "period" clothes the first time around could be that thrilled over Sonny's wardrobe. Like a little girl who's raided her mother's closet, she happily trills: "I loved the black skintight pants with the little collar and the hot pink [accents]. It was so rocker chic."

Suvari even traded her normally neat coif for feathered bangs, and she really liked it. "I got so into the hairstyle that I wanted to wear it like that back in LA," she admits. "The hairstylist showed me how to take the comb and hold it with your hand like she would do it. But I couldn't do it. I just thought it would be really funny to walk around with a comb in your back pocket."

For a woman who claims she's dull off-screen, wearing an outdated hairstyle amounts to a wild and crazy move. "I've been married a couple of years [to cinematographer Robert Brinkmann] and when I was [filming] in New Orleans, I didn't go out and drink," she smiles. "I didn't party, even though I was in the biggest party capital. I'd just go home and go to dinner. Pretty boring."