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INT: Anna Faris

This week Anna Faris reprises her role as the bubbly, vapid blonde Cindy Campbell in SCARY MOVIE 4. More than anyone else, she’s become the face of the Scary Movie franchise, having starred in all four of the hit comedies. It comes as somewhat of a surprise to Faris that she’s been typecast as a primarily comedic actress, since her work prior to Scary Movie was almost exclusively dramatic in nature. Whether she’s in a comedy or drama, she’ll always be hot. And that’s the most important thing.

Last week Anna Faris stopped by the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills to talk about making Scary Movie 4. Check it out.

Anna Faris

It seems that director David Zucker has emphasized more physical comedy in this and Scary Movie 3. Have you ever refused to do some of the physical comedy?

I’m always pretty game, especially because I think Cindy is so sweet and innocent. It gets a little bit annoying, so it’s fun to take me down, I think, every now and then. There was one shot where I get hit in the face with an airplane food cart. It happened so fast that it looks like it might have been a stunt double, which is frustrating for me, because it was me. They made it out of foam, but they had wood in the structure and it really breaks across my nose; I’m looking up and it lands right on my face. There was a guy standing on a ladder, like pummeling it right on face. That one I didn’t want to do more than twice because it hurt pretty bad and they saved it for the last shot of the whole movie for me, in case I was injured I guess, so they wouldn’t have to worry about it. So thoughtful.

How much preparation did you have to do for the boxing scene?

I did have to do a lot of boxing. Originally that boxing sequence was quite a bit longer. They always do this to me. So we had this like10-minute long boxing sequence, very carefully choreographed sequence that I spent my weekends training for, which at the time, it’s like, “Guys, it’s Scary Movie. We’re not really making Million Dollar Baby here.”  But there were worried that it wouldn’t look real. Inevitably the scene gets cut to like 30 seconds and they used my stunt double anyway.  But I think there’s always a little bit of that. For the first one I had to learn how to River Dance and I had to learn fighting and wire work. There’s always a lot of stuff that goes into it, I think and I don’t really have to do any research acting-wise, I guess, because my character is really uncomplicated.

Do you see all the movies you spoof?

We rent a lot of movies because I like to have a glass of wine when I drink. [Laughs]  I mean, when I watch a movie.  I like to be at home. We rent a lot of those kinds of movies. But I would see them anyway for Scary Movie, not necessarily because my character imitates anybody anymore. I don’t really think that I but I think I’m doing an impersonation of anybody. I think it’s important to understand the feel and the mood of a particular movie. Mostly that has to do with cinematography and set design.

So when you spoof a movie like The Grudge, you’re not trying to imitate Sarah Michelle Gellar’s facial expressions or anything like that?

You thing I did? [Laughs] Well, I do think it’s a little bit unconscious, maybe, of a performance, and because lot of my lines are similar to what she’s saying.  But I wouldn’t say that I’m trying to do an imitation. Because Cindy’s now sort of evolved. She’s so not bright. [Laughs] Cindy’s a nurse. I mean, I’m scared.  And she has to save humanity.

Do you feel like you have ownership of this character, to the point where you might go, “Oh, Cindy wouldn’t say that?”

Yeah actually, but not that often. I don’t tend to do that too often. I do think that sometimes I’m not always true to what Cindy would be, because I not only have to carry the plot as Cindy Campbell, but I also have to be a reactor to other people. There’s a lot of times where they’ll cut to me and I’ll like makes goofy face or whatever, and that’s not necessarily very natural. There was one scene where David wanted me to do what he calls a Landry.  He has names for every facial expression, and that’s this look. I had to draw the line there because Cindy wouldn’t do that look. That’s showing empathy or relatability, and I don’t think that Cindy can really…I’m probably analyzing it way more than Cindy should ever be analyzed. Instead I went with something that wasn’t quite as cynical.

Did he tell you why he called that look “The Landry”?

That was some…I know nothing about sports--

Tom Landry – the football coach?

Yes.  Exactly.  In fact, he sent me a picture of Tom Landry doing that.  So he calls that The Landry.  He has a few other expressions, like “Who Farted?”  “Downward Chomping” is one that he’ll tell me to do. It’s really a great acting process, working on these movies.  It’s broken down to a series of four facial expressions.

Do you improvise at all?

David’s not a big improv guy, especially for my character. That was all in the script. 

On a movie like this, are there writers on the set handing you new lines on a daily basis? Did the script change often?

Sometimes.  I think that happened more on the 2nd and 3rd films.  But it’s pretty easy for me to adapt and change, except for the Japanese stuff.  But yeah, I’m pretty good if they throw stuff at me; I don’t have too much of an issue adapting.  I will say that with this one it was a little different because we came to it with more of the script in tact, more of a finished product.  With the 3rd one they were writing as we went along and then there was a lot of additional photography and we had to change some of the plot all around.  There was a lot of changing everyday.  I think it’s more of an issue for the hair and makeup and wardrobe people having to run around and get a dreadlock wig in 30 minutes or whatever.  I think it’s tough for them.

Did you get to see Leslie Nielsen naked?

No. I wish.  I heard that Regina yesterday was telling everyone that I was sneaking onto set when Leslie Nielsen was naked, but no.  He’s such a sweet man. I applaud him. I like to think that I’m pretty good about going to places that make me uncomfortable, but I don’t know if I could have done that. He was pretty great. 

Have you run into any of the people that you’ve mocked?

Early on after the first one I met Jennifer Love Hewitt and Neve Campbell and they were both unbelievably lovely. In fact, Jennifer sent me flowers and told me how much she enjoyed the movie. I think that it’s so ridiculous that I don’t know how you could really be insulted by it. I like to think that if we’re spoofing your movie – I don’t know if people will view it like this – but I like to think it’s a compliment because it means the movie certainly had a lasting effect and was a box office hit and people enjoyed it.  I think most of our audiences really enjoyed the movies we are spoofing.

Are you the kind of person that pays close attention to things like opening weekend box office numbers?

I do now, I think, with movies that I’m involved in. Which I don’t like. I wish I wasn’t like that because I have no control over it. The first couple of years I was here I had no idea what anything meant. I didn’t realize that when Scary Movie opened at like $43 million or whatever, I had no idea if it was good or bad. I had never looked at box office numbers before.  I grew up in Seattle so there was really no reason for me to. So now, of course, I’m a little bit more savvy. I hope this movie does well. I think you can’t help but hope that a movie you’ve invested in does well.

Are you in for Scary Movie 5?

Not yet! I’m a free lady for right now.

Will there be many more? Can we look forward to a Scary Movie 10?

I wouldn’t put it past those guys. I think that because we are a series that can continue to reinvent ourselves – we have almost a new cast every time and no story line we need to follow – there aren’t any rules in terms of plot or structure. There’s nothing that we need to stick to.  In fact, I’m sure they could even dump me or Regina and feel okay about it. I think as long as they continue to make money they’re just gonna keep going with it.

Are you surprised you’ve been back for all four films?

I like to say that I do silly, fun movies like Brokeback Mountain so that I can do projects like Scary Movie 4. Yes, I’m surprised that they still hired me, they still kept me around. I’m flattered. I am. I think if you had told me this during the first movie I don’t know if I would be happy or depressed because I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m grateful because this is one of the few times where a young female can be comedic. I just don’t think there are that many roles out there for young women to have a chance to be funny. I feel good that I’ve been able to be a part of more legitimate, more critically acclaimed projects and still do this. Honestly, if I’m in Scary Movie 10, I think I’ll be pretty.  I never really imagined that I could make a living off doing this in any way so I feel really grateful for that. 

Do you have any role models from the older generation of actresses?

It’s hard to beat Lucille Ball. I think in terms of my own personal journey, I guess…I grew up doing dramatic work. I’d never done comedy before. So I don’t really think that I’m…I was certainly never the funny girl. I never really thought that I could…in fact, I think I took myself really seriously for a really long time. My brother said to me a few months ago, “What’s happened to you?  You used to be so anal and uptight and now you’re like fun-loving and goofy.”  I don’t know. I think it’s really about playing a character sincerely and taking risks. I think I’m willing to go to places other actresses might not want to go.

Do people recognize you at all from your role on the last season of Friends?

No. I think I looked so different – pregnant – and they put me in all these baggy clothes. My hair was shorter and they kept it tied back. When it first aired a few people recognized me, but I don’t get recognized that often in general. People recognize me right after a movie comes out.  Or at least I don’t notice if people do. I feel like I’ve been a little bit of a chameleon. 

Can you talk about your upcoming project, My Super Ex-Girlfriend?

I think it’s coming out in July. It’s with Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson and directed by Ivan Reitman.  It’s about a super hero, Uma, who starts to date Luke and he quickly discovers that while she’s a great super hero, she’s a crazy girlfriend. He breaks up with her and then Luke and I start dating. Then she comes after us in a major way.

Do you feel that you’re a little bit typecast because of the Scary Movie films?

Yes, it’s true that I’m still working on breaking that, the idea of being typecast. It’s funny because I never really…I was really surprised when I moved here and started out with Scary Movie and everything, that this industry thought of people as either comedic or dramatic actresses. I didn’t think it was two different categories, necessarily.  For a while it was hard for me to get auditions for dramatic work. Now the doors are opening up a lot more for me as I continue to chip away and try to do just do good work. If I do comedy for the rest of my life I’ll be really happy. Early on I had bigger career goals, but now I’m pretty happy doing comedy.

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at [email protected].

Source: JoBlo.com

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