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Interview with Anna Faris, star of The House Bunny

Anna Faris stars in The House Bunny, as Shelley, a Playboy bunny who gets kicked out of the Playboy mansion and becomes a house mother for an unpopular sorority at a college. Emma Stone, Kat Dennings, Katharine McPhee and Rumer Willis portray the girls at the small sorority, which needs 30 pledges to survive. While Shelley tries to make them more attractive, she starts dating a sweet guy named Oliver (Colin Hanks). Anna Faris also serves as one of the producers as the film. She has previously starred in the underrated, hilarious comedy Smiley Face as well as Just Friends, Waiting..., The Hot Chick and the Scary Movie franchise. She has played dramatic roles in May and Brokeback Mountain. It was a real privilege to interview such a sexy, refreshingly funny and bright actress.

Columbia Pictures releases The House Bunny nationwide on August 22nd, 2008.

NYC MOVIE GURU: You have done a lot for comedy in the past, but what has comedy done for you?

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 matter too much too seriously. I feel that very little offends me anymore and I’m really grateful for that because I think I was a pretty uptight little kid.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What were the pitch meetings for The House Bunny like?

AF: I pitched the idea of the character to the writers of Legally Blonde and then they wrote the script and figured out the rest of the plot points. At our pitch meetings, the two writers would sit beside me on opposite sides of the couch and they would tell the story [while] I would be in character. Sometimes, it really didn’t go so well, but sometimes it did. It was a great learning experience for me. It was putting on a little performance and selling something and that was great.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Did you always have this particular hilarious plot in mind during the pitch meetings?

AF: I initially had an idea of what would happen to the Playboy bunnies when it’s time to move on [after] living this protective, contained lifestyle at parties all the time. I wanted Shelley to go on a really dark journey where she’s a drug addict and moves back to her small Christian town. It turns out that that’s not as commercial as becoming a house mother at a sorority.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Who came up with the idea of the Exorcist-like voice that you briefly used in The House Bunny?

AF: That was an idea that our director, [Fred Wolf], came up with. We both thought, “This is just too weird to make it in the movie.” It was fun to do and did scare the girls which was fun for me, but a little hard on my voice.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What surprised you about your experience at the Playboy mansion?

AF: I was anticipating that experience at the [Playboy] mansion to be a highly competitive between the women. From my distant observance, I didn’t see that at all. Everyone was much more friendly 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.

NYC MOVIE GURU: How do you feel as a female comedic actress in Hollywood?

AF: There’s such a boy’s club with comedy in Hollywood and that’s what Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell do—they develop their own comedies. 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’d be more of the straight-girl roles that aren’t nearly as much fun to play. [So], it was necessary for me to take some kind of initiative with my own career. I feel very fortunate with this one. I certainly wasn’t very powerful, necessarily, in the whole process, but I feel like if I did it once, then I can do it again.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What trepidation did you have before production?

AF: One of my concerns was: “Are the girls going to be able to lose their sense of vanity and wear unattractive wigs?” They were amazing about it, [though]. They looked forward to those days. Some of them had to just spend 5 or 10 minutes in hair-and-makeup and that’s why they really liked it so much. One of the things that Keenan Wayans taught me back when I did Scary Movie was the idea that there’s no vanity in comedy. I was really proud that [the girls] seemed to embrace that idea so much.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think Shelley’s sexiness defines her as a person?

AF: Shelley’s sexiness was innocent and silly. It’s not any kind of sophisticated sexiness. I wanted to create a character that, while she wore skimpy clothes, it didn’t seem like that she was sleeping with half the town or that she even knew how to be savvy in a truly sexual way. That’s why she never really [was on the] Centerfold.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What was it like being nude onscreen for the first time?

AF: I [originally] had a body double, but then we had some complicating factors with her. It was sort of a last-minute thing where I was just like, “I’ll go ahead and do this.” I was really uncomfortable when this crew that knows me when I put on my producer hat suddenly sees me naked, [so] it was a little humiliating.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Why was there a pregnant sorority girl in The House Bunny?

AF: One of the writers, when she was in a sorority, had a pregnant sorority sister. There is a bit of a stigma of getting pregnant in high school or college. We wanted to touch on that a little. Katharine McPhee was so excited to be pregnant, [so] she was all for it.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What was it like working with Hugh Hefner?

NYC MOVIE GURU: How has the role of Shelley changed you as a person?

AF: I felt a little bit more comfortable with my body, which was kind of cool because I had played the sweet girl-next-door in most movies I had done. Shelley, clearly, is not the most intelligent girl, but the there’s this idea that intelligence comes in many different forms.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Was it a conscience decision to go from an indie film, Smiley Face, to a more commercial film?

AF: I wanted to be in movies that felt a little bit more commercial. I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to do both kinds of movies.

NYC MOVIE GURU: How do you imagine Shelley in her golden years?

AF: I imagine that she’s just as loving and motherly and as good-hearted. Maybe she’s still single and a house mom. [laughs]

NYC MOVIE GURU: Do you think there will be a sequel to The House Bunny?

AF: I don’t know, [but] I would love to play Shelley again.

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