Broadway star Bebe Neuwirth is best known as Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane from TV's Cheers and Frasier. Boy, would her psychiatrist alter ego have a field day with Tadpole (in theaters July 19). In the film, Neuwirth plays a fortysomething woman who beds her best friend's 15-year-old stepson — though the boy has more of a crush on his stepmom (Sigourney Weaver).
Sounding like the ever-proper Lilith, the actress adamantly insists she'd never indulge in such a liaison. "I didn't relate to the character in any way," Neuwirth says. "I don't think it's right for an adult to sleep with minors."
However titillating the triangle may be to moviegoers, she feels the need to point out: "I don't think that people are proposing that you go around and do [this] or saying that it's sexy. I don't think that's the message of this movie."
Still, the 43-year-old thesp did have a some concerns before accepting the role. "One of my first questions to the director [Gary Winick] was, 'How old is the actor playing the 15-year-old?'" she recalls. Fortunately, her co-star — newcomer Aaron Stanford — is actually in his early twenties. "When I found he was not a minor, I was relieved somewhat because I don't know what that would have been like for me."
While she's grateful Stanford isn't really jailbait, Neuwirth demurs when asked how she liked kissing an actor nearly half her age. "That's a secret between me and Aaron," she notes coyly, adding she had no problem with the age difference. "This was no more or less weird than any scene that I've done where I've had to be intimate with a fellow actor. One minute, you are at the craft table with [the cast] talking about something and eating Oreos. The next minute, you've had a spritz of breath spray and you're swapping spit with them. It's just weird."