THE HOUSE BUNNY | An Interview with Tyrese Gibson
|(July: Main Page * Features * Reviews * Screenings * Teen ) Current Issue * Archive|
THE HOUSE BUNNY
You conceived the idea for "House Bunny" and is one of its producers. Where did you start—with the character or the situation? Was Marilyn Monroe an influence or inspiration for this?
Anna Faris: Marilyn Monroe is definitely someone I admire and I have since I was a little girl. But the Marilyn Monroe joke came later in the process.
I started with the situation. I initially had an idea; what happens to the playboy bunnies when have to move on from this sort of protected, contained life style where you're at parties all the time and that's your job.
I wanted to have her go on a really dark journey. Where she was a drug addict and moved back to her small Christian town. Turns out that's not commercial as becoming the house mom of a sorority [laughs] but I'm really happy with what we came up with. I pitched the character to the writers of "Legally Blond" and then they wrote the script and figured out the rest of the plot points. They weren't buying the drug addict who moves back home.
Was that meant to be a comedy as well?
AF: In my twisted mind yeah [laughs].
What was the feedback like from the Playboy Bunnies?
AF: We screened the movie for Heff [Hugh Heffner—founder of the Payboy empire] and the bunnies; they all seemed to really love it. I don't think any of them are going to tell me, "Oh I hated that."
They're really supportive, and really excited; it was really fun working with them. I was anticipating that the experience of being at the mansion to being highly competitive environment between the woman, but from my distant observations, I didn't see that at all.
Everybody was so friendly and nice and supportive, much more so than actresses can be with each other, which was interesting and really refreshing. I have a whole new respect for those girls.
Now you're wearing the Playboy necklace on the cover of the magazine, but not as a centerfold...
AF: They were kind enough to give me a few; but I don't they were that expensive [laughs].
Do you think too much is still being placed on that myth about the dumb blonde?
AF: One of the things that comedy has given me over the years is a really good ability to laugh at myself and to not take things that don't really matter that much too seriously. Having done the Scary movies and the other comedies that I've been apart of I feel like very little offends me anymore and I'm really grateful for that because I think I was an uptight little kid. I'm happy to feel that I can really laugh at myself.
How important do you think is for someone to try and develop there own material and also are you going to do more of it in the future?
AF: I felt like there's such a boys club with comedy in Hollywood. That's what they do—what Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell do. They develop and create their own comedies and I would really love to be a part of that as well. I did get a little tired of feeling like I'm waiting around for somebody to cast me in their comedy. That would happen at times but usually they were the straight girl roles that aren't as much fun to play. I felt like it was kind of necessary to take some incentive with my own career.
I feel very fortunate with this one. I certainly wasn't very powerful in the whole process but it makes me feel that, if I did it once, maybe I can do it again.
You pitched the film in character, costume and all?
AF: Yeah. At our pitch meetings, that was something that I've never done before. The two writers would sit either side of me on a couch; they would tell the story and I would be in character and throw out lines and jokes—sometimes it really didn't go so well [laughs] but sometimes it did. It was a great learning experience for me. It was like putting on a little performance and selling something.
What was it like actually casting Heff in the movie?
AF: Heff was a great sport. With that scene where he is eating all the ice cream… We were in his bedroom, it was like a 100 and ten degrees, and he had to eat a lot of ice cream but he was great about it. He was hysterical in the movie because it so clear that he can't be anyone but himself. I love the captain's hat. It was awesome.
What was it like to work with all the other girls in your cast?
AF: That was one of my concerns before shooting the movie. I thought. "Are the girls going to be able to lose their sense of vanity and wear the unattractive wigs and all the piercing?" But they were amazing about it. They looked forward to those days. Some of them only had to spend five or 10 minutes in hair and makeup and that's why they liked it so much. I was really proud of them.
That was something that Keenen Wayans taught me back in the early days of "Scary Movie"—the idea that there is no vanity in comedy. I was really proud that they seemed to embrace that idea so much.
Oh yeah, there's definitely no vanity in the movie. You are running around half naked, perfectly toned. What do you have to say about the Anna Farris blonde bombshell?
AF: I think that Shelley's sexiness was innocent and silly. It's not any kind of sophisticated sexiness. I wanted to create a character where, although she wore really skimpy clothes it didn't seem like she was sleeping with half the town or that she even know how to be savvy in a true sexual way. That's why she never got the centerfolds and she was only in small pictorials. If you add too much sexuality and vanity it can really take away from the comedy.
Was this the first time you did a nude scene in a movie?
AF: Yes and it wasn't supposed to be me. I originally had a body double but then the body double had some complicating factors. It was sort of a last minute thing where I was like "Oh, I'll go ahead and do this." And…. I was really uncomfortable [laughs]. There was this crew that I've been working with and kind of knows me when I put on my producer hat and suddenly, sees me naked…it was a little humiliating.
What did you learn about yourself making this movie?
AF: I thought a lot about how every character I've played really does change me in certain ways. You know when you're playing somebody that's so happy and such a cheerleader and so optimistic all the time…I felt like a goofier person. I felt like I could laugh at myself a little more easily. I felt a little sexier, a little more comfortable with my body, which was kind of cool because I always played girls that were the sweet, girl-next-door type. Shelley is clearly not the most intelligent girl but I think there is an idea that intelligence comes in many many different forms.
What's with you, having Shelley lower her voice and sound like Harvey Fierstein (or the possessed girl in "The Exorcist") every time she meets a new person?
AF: I wish I could take credit for that. It was something the director came up with on the day. We both thought this is just something to weird to make it into the movie, but it was fun to do and did really did kind of scare the girls, which was fun for me [laughs].
And what was the significance of having one of the outre sorority sister being pregnant in the film?
AF: One of the writers, when she was in a sorority, had a pregnant sorority sister. There is still a bit of a stigma of getting pregnant in high school or college. I think we sort of wanted to touch on that a little bit. Katharine McPhee was so excited to be pregnant. She was all for it. So we were like, "Great."
You were fantastic in the Gregg Araki's "Smiley Face" but no one saw it…
AF Well, thank you so glad you saw "Smiley Face;" I had the best time making that movie.
By comparison, this is such a commercial movie; it's no wonder you want to take more control of your career and develop you own properties.
AF: I wanted to be a part of movies that felt a little more commercial as well. I feel really fortunate to be able to do both. Each movie is a learning experience; between Adam Sandler [whose production company, Happy Madison, made this film] and Sony, that is the goal—to make something with a broad, mass appeal, which is exciting for me.
Will there be a sequel?
AF: I don't know I would love to play Shelley again. Maybe that's when we can do that drug addict [laughs].
How do you imagine Shelley when she's older, into her 80s?
AF: I imagine she is just loving and is motherly and good hearted. Maybe she's still single. Maybe she's still the house mom.
And what's next?
AF: I have a movie with Seth Rogen called "Observe and Report."
Are you naked in it?
AF: Almost. We Have a love scene in it but there's not alot of love
involved—I can tell you that [laughs].
|(July: Main Page * Features * Reviews * Screenings * Teen ) Current Issue * Archive|
Copyright © 1999-2004, BlackFilm.com