Bell shot to stardom in 2004 as the titular character in the television series 'Veronica Mars.' When the show was cancelled, she racked up TV credits ('Heroes') and movie roles ('Forgetting Sarah Marshall,' 'Couples Retreat'). Now, in 'Astro Boy,' Bell enters the world of animation for the first time. The actress spoke to Moviefone about geek culture, getting in front of 'Gossip Girl''s cameras and why she'll never go to the theater to see herself. As the omnipresent narrator of uber-popular CW hit 'Gossip Girl,' a character in the video game 'Assassin's Creed' and Cora in the upcoming 'Astro Boy' movie, Kristen Bell's voice is almost as famous as her face.
Bell shot to stardom in 2004 as the titular character in the television series 'Veronica Mars.' When the show was cancelled, she racked up TV credits ('Heroes') and movie roles ('Forgetting Sarah Marshall,' 'Couples Retreat'). Now, in 'Astro Boy,' Bell enters the world of animation for the first time. The actress spoke to Moviefone about geek culture, getting in front of 'Gossip Girl''s cameras and why she'll never go to the theater to see herself.
Is it true you didn't know much about 'Astro Boy' before filming?
I had no idea. I just love animation and I read the script and thought this is such a cool character with so many neat scenes. It's way deeper than an animated movie should be, without being pretentious or preachy.
What was it that attracted you to the movie?
I liked the environmental element and how it dealt with the deterioration of the Earth. The need to protect it is a storyline that's just in the background, but it does cause you to think because in Astro Boy's world, no one can really live on the surface of the earth happily anymore. I also liked the idea that even though you've been told from day one to dislike something or keep something at arm's length, you should really question it if your heart tells you the opposite. It's important for everyone to make their own decisions. Otherwise, we'd all be lemmings.
You've done a lot of voice work. Do you approach a role differently when you're not on screen?
It's easier in the sense that you don't have to go through hair and makeup but you do have to approach the part the same way. If you try to fake it, you can hear it. If you pretend to sniffle, you're going to sound like an idiot. You have to be just as emotionally present and really know who your character is.
Over the years, you've become sort of a geek phenomenon. Was that planned?
It absolutely happened by chance. I looked for projects with good material and good writing and it just so happened that a lot of them were genre projects. I didn't plan it out, but I am ultimately flattered and happy to be accepted into that community. I love going to Comic-Con. I've been there five out of the past six years. The geek community has the most intelligent fans out there.
And also the most intense.
Oh absolutely, but that's what makes them cool. If you're just boring and turn a show on just because the rest of America watches it, who cares? If you love a show and you're passionate about it, as an actor, I feel proud to be involved in it.
Usually, they're the ones that help save flailing shows.
Totally. And I think Hollywood is recognizing how important and powerful they are. When I went to Comic-Con this past year, you would have thought it was the Oscars. There were so many Hollywood people there. I think people are realizing now that they're the tastemakers of the next couple of years and ahead of the game.
Yet a movie like 'Fanboys', which was made by and for that culture, performed below expectations. Did that surprise or disappoint you?
It's difficult to comment because I don't put too much thought into weighing the pros and cons into how much a movie made and what that says about the movie or the audience. I just like to be a part of good projects and have fun doing them and then hope people go see them. It's not really in my nature to look at the results as much. The journey is much more important to me.
'Couples Retreat' just came out. Do you ever go out opening night with your friends to see your movies?
Hell no! I see it at the premiere and I'm not that narcissistic to want to see it again. I don't think I would rent a movie that I was in -- not because I don't think I would enjoy it but [because] I already know almost everything about it. There are no surprises. I like to constantly see new movies.
Has the 'Gossip Girl' team ever asked you to appear on-camera?
That's a question for [showrunners] Josh [Schwartz] and Stephanie [Savage]. It's up to them to decide whether to keep the mystery or to show her face, but my guess is they're going to keep the mystery. I have a very empty threat with Josh where I joke that one day, I'm going to go to extras casting and get cast as a waitress and just start staring into the camera.
Having had such a prolific career in a short amount of time, is there one project people bring up the most when they see you on the street?
It ping-pongs back and forth between 'Deadwood,' 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' and 'Veronica Mars'. One movie that comes up all the time that you wouldn't think, though, is 'Pootie Tang.' It was my first movie ever. I played Andy Richter's daughter and I had one line at the end of the film. But people watch that movie all the time and will yell at me, "You were great in 'Pootie Tang.'" And I'm thinking, "Oh my gosh, you recognize me from 'Pootie Tang'? I was 18 years old. I'll send you my bio. It's updated."