In feature films, Parker would do a terrific job with the kinds of roles being played by the likes of Jenna Elfman and Minnie Driver. "It's hard to get some of those parts once you're a little past 30 and you're not the new girl anymore," she says. "And it's kind of hard for me to do something just because it would be good for my career." She's hoping for a summer release of The Five Senses, a small-scale drama that earned Parker a best actress nomination in Canada, where it was filmed. "There are five stories that intermingle, each of which revolves around one of the senses," she says. "It's one of the first movies I've done in a while that I'm kind of proud of."
Appropriately enough, Parker's boyfriend of four years is a talented actor who shuns the limelight as much as she does: Billy Crudup, her co-star in Circle in the Square's 1996 production of Bus Stop. Somehow, it's hard to picture this photogenic couple working the crowd at an awards show and chatting about their wardrobe with Joan and Melissa Rivers. "I sometimes think people think it's pretentious not to want that," Parker says with a sigh, "but it's just not who I am. I'm happy to ride around in a limousine in a nice dress and drink champagne, but I don't necessarily want to be going to a place where there are a bunch of actors, you know what I mean? I have never liked to draw attention to myself."
On stage, it's a different story, and Parker admits I'm not the first person to suggest that she and Crudup ought to play Maggie and Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. "Mark Brokaw is really interested in that," she says of her How I Learned to Drive director. "I've been looking at it." She mentions that Nicole Kidman (with whom she appeared in Jane Campion's film version of The Portrait of a Lady) and Tom Cruise (?!) are supposedly planning to do Cat in London--which, even if true, certainly shouldn't dissuade Parker and Crudup.
"Sometimes [Billy] is attracted to a play and I'm not, or vice versa, so we have to find something that has two parts we both really need to play," she explains. "Maybe we should think about [Cat]. I really, really want to be on Broadway again," she adds, revealing that she'll follow up Proof with David Leveaux's production of Desire Under the Elms for the Roundabout Theatre Company. "I've never done O'Neill before, and I don't have any clue how to play that part," she says. (Presumably, Crudup isn't pining to play the doomed lover Eben opposite her tragic Abbie.)
Parker clams up only when the conversation takes a personal turn. Asked if she and Crudup might be planning a wedding, she replies, "No, there are no big life plans at all. I'm just staying here and keeping up with theater. I'm pretty boring."