CATEGORIES Interviews
Elizabeth Banks"I've never actually murdered anyone."

Elizabeth Banks became a bona fide star in 2008 -- appearing in six movies, including high-profile parts as an amateur adult filmmaker in Kevin Smith's 'Zack & Miri Make a Porno' and erstwhile first lady Laura Bush in Oliver Stone's 'W.'

Banks kicks off 2009 with the horror thriller 'The Uninvited,' a remake of the South Korean film 'A Tale of Two Sisters,' in which she ditches her usually genial persona to play the possibly wicked stepmother to two sisters whose mother she may have murdered.

The gregarious star opens up about the joys of playing a "creepy psycho," the awkwardness of shooting porn and the series finale of 'Scrubs.'



10 Questions With: Elizabeth Banks

    Previously known for her roles as sweet-talking Daily Bugle assistant Betty Bryant in the 'Spider-Man' films, freaky sexaholic Beth in 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin' and J.D.'s baby mama on TV's 'Scrubs,' Elizabeth Banks became a bona fide star in 2008 -- appearing in six movies, including high-profile parts as an amateur adult film star in Kevin Smith's 'Zack & Miri Make a Porno' and erstwhile first lady Laura Bush in Oliver Stone's 'W.'

    Banks kicks off 2009 with the horror thriller 'The Uninvited,' a remake of the South Korean film 'A Tale of Two Sisters,' in which she ditches her usually genial persona to play the possibly wicked stepmother to two sisters whose mother she may or may not have murdered.

    The gregarious star opens up about the joys of playing a "creepy psycho," dishes on the awkwardness of shooting porn and reveals a potential spoiler about the 'Scrubs' finale. -- By Tom DiChiara

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    1. Your role in 'The Uninvited,' was kind of a change of pace for you. Why did you choose it?

    Pretty much for that exact reason -- I wanted to play the creepy psycho. I have this thing about when people tell me I can't do something, and I really felt like I needed to do it. And this was one of those things where most people involved -- except for the directors, who always knew that I could do it -- had to be convinced that it was something I could do. I kept getting told, "She's the smiley one from 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin'" [laughs].

    DreamWorks

    2. Did you do anything in particular to prep for it? Stalk any families or anything like that?

    I didn't stalk any families. I've never actually murdered anyone. A lot of it was that I really loved the genre and I really had a great time with it. I just really relished doing the role and sort of playing with the girls. It's fun to f*** with people, basically. I mean, what I was thinking about the entire time I was working was like, "Just f*** with this girl" [laughs]. And also I did do a little -- I wouldn't say research -- but I knew a lot about home care nursing and also what [my character] Rachael's background was, that this was the best situation she's ever found herself in and that she was not going to let go of that very easily.

    DreamWorks

    3. What was your favorite part of the shoot?

    I loved working at the house. The house we shot at was really amazing. It was on this island, and every day we got to take a ferry ride to and from work. And that was really cool. It was just a great way to begin and end every day, you know, with sort of a mini commune with nature. I mean, we were out on the water really early in the morning, and we would see otters and sea lions and birds and eagles -- you know, it was just very, very cool. And then at the end of the day, it's like you have this really long day there but then you get this really nice 20-minute boat ride back to the mainland. It was really a great location.

    DreamWorks

    4. You were in six vastly different movies in 2008. What do you look for in a role?

    A great director. When Kevin Smith or Oliver Stone calls, you just say "yes." I didn't even care what the material was. It just so happens that they're both writer-directors, which I love also because it just means that there's a clarity of the vision of the project. And mostly actors just want to be led. I want to know that there's a captain of the ship and that they know which direction we're going in, and that I can trust them to make a great movie and bring out a good performance. And so those were really easy. And with David Wain, it's the same. We've worked together [a lot over the last] 10 years, and he just called me and said: "I'm going to need you to be a girl in 'Role Models' and I have no idea what it is [laughs]. Will you come and help us?" So it was a lot of just being able to work with friends. And 'Definitely, Maybe' I loved. I wanted to be in a romantic comedy -- I'd love to be in more romantic comedies -- but they're very hard to find.

    Universal

    5. Was all the sex stuff in 'Zack & Miri' awkward to film -- or was it just straight-up fun?

    There's always some awkwardness around naked people. So when we shot at the strip club, for instance, or when Katie [Morgan] and Jason [Mewes] did their first scene -- it was a little crazy. You get over it really quickly, but it definitely starts out a little awkward. And when Seth [Rogen] and I first started doing our scene -- which Seth and I both think was the most fun scene to shoot, the like intro to our porn -- there was some awkwardness built into that because we had no idea what we were doing. I mean, we had some lines, but then we improvised the rest of it. So it really was just about us acting like goofballs.

    Weinstein Co.

    6. Were you at all reluctant to take on the Laura Bush role in 'W.'?

    I had zero reluctance. I don't know why anyone would be reluctant to be in that movie. I was so excited to be in that movie. I still am very, very proud of it. I never had any hesitation. I wanted to be in it. I was so happy that Oliver wanted me to be in it.

    Lionsgate

    7. You're reprising your role as Kim on 'Scrubs' this season. What can you reveal about Kim's storyline and how she'll play into what is likely to be the series finale?

    I will tell you that Kim helps wrap up the storyline not just for J.D. but also for Elliot. And that's my teaser.

    ABC

    8. What's next for you?

    I have no idea. It's going to be a crazy year. I hope they start making movies again soon. It's been a slow fall for movies because of the potential for an actors' strike. And hopefully that's not going to come to pass, and people will start making movies again. Then we'll see. I have no idea.

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    9. What's the craziest thing you've ever done for a role?

    Oh geez. I wasn't too fond of bleaching my hair [laughs]. I paid for that for about five years. So whatever you do, never bleach your hair. What else? I don't know -- I've done a lot of crazy stuff. I've probably done more crazy things for commercials than I have for movie roles. Making 'Wet Hot American Summer' was ridiculous. We were at a camp site for a month and half, and it rained every day, so that was fun and crazy.

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