Faris Talks About Her ‘Yogi Bear’ Experience
Editor’s Note: The Orange County (Calif.) Register recently interviewed Anna Faris, one of the stars of the movie “Yogi Bear,” which opens Friday (Dec. 17) at theaters across the U.S. The interview, written by Barry Koltnow, follows.
The last time I spoke to Anna Faris, I asked her whether she would rather be thought of as funny or sexy. She didn’t hesitate. The answer was funny.
You might remember her from the comedy “The House Bunny,” in which she played a sexy but comical Playboy bunny who is kicked out of the mansion for being too old and takes on the job of mentoring a dorky college sorority. She also starred in the horror-movie spoof “Scary Movie” and its three sequels, and she played a Britney Spears-like pop princess opposite Ryan Reynolds (the “Sexiest Man Alive”) in “Just Friends.”
The new 3D kids movie “Yogi Bear” combines live action and animation. Anna Faris, shown here with the animated character Boo Boo (voiced by Justin Timberlake), is part of the live action, although she is quite animated.Her latest movie is the 3D children’s movie “Yogi Bear,” based on the old cartoons about a talking bear in Jellystone Park. Dan Aykroyd voices the title character, and Justin Timberlake provides the voice of Yogi’s pal Boo Boo.
Yogi and Boo Boo are the only animated characters in the movie, which opens Friday. Faris, 34, and the rest of the cast appear in human form. She plays a nature filmmaker who apparently thinks that talking bears is a common occurrence.
Interviewing Faris is always fun because she never worries about her image, and never follows a public relations script. She’ll talk about anything, and she laughs easily and often.
Sitting in her Beverly Hills hotel suite, the actress explained what attracted her to her new husband (actor Chris Pratt of TV’s “Everwood” and “Parks and Recreation”), why she feels pressured to get naked in a movie next year and whether the Internet rumors about her appearing in a new “Ghostbusters” sequel are true.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Do you think you’re cuter in 2D or 3D?
ANNA FARIS (laughs): That’s a good question. I normally get real nervous looking at myself on the screen, so I’d have to say that the 3D is too intense for me. But the bears were really cute in 3D.
Q. So you think you’re cuter in 2D?
A. I guess so.
Q. How did it work with you being in a scene with animated characters who aren’t really there?
A. It was hard. Tom (Cavanaugh) and I would take turns staring at a branch or something and pretend it was the bears.
Q. Do you mean that the director didn’t have a tennis ball or something up there for you to look at?
A. Sometimes he did. Or they’d have a stuffed animal or a human stand-in. But sometimes it wasn’t possible. The trickier thing was the distance. Was the bear supposed to be 10 feet away or 15 feet away? The eye-line issue was very tricky. But discussing eye-lines is the boring part of filmmaking. Do you think we’re boring people right now?
Q. I hope not.
A. Let’s talk about something more interesting.
Q. OK. Most actors and actresses who suddenly start making movies for kids have recently had children. They say that they wanted to make a movie that their kids could watch. But you don’t have kids. What’s your excuse for making this movie?
A. (laughs) You’re right. I probably should have a couple of kids right away so I can use that as an excuse. The truth is that I loved the cartoon when I was growing up. I watched it every day after school.
Q. You really liked Yogi Bear?
A. Honestly, I found myself usually frustrated with Yogi. I always rooted for the ranger. Either way, when this script came to me, I felt like I was doing something meaningful because it was based on something that was so iconic in my childhood. That’s also why I did “Alvin and the Chipmunks.”
Q. You’re actually a lot like a cartoon character in real life, aren’t you?
A. I think you may be right (laughs).
Q. Was it an odd experience being in a movie that combined live action and animation?
A. It was odd. But the trick was to act as if nothing was odd. You must act earnestly in movies like this.
Q. How would you describe your character?
A. She’s quirky, but not as crazy as some of the characters I’ve played. But she has an important role to play because she represents the audience. Tom and I indicate to the audience how they’re supposed to react or feel in any given scene. They watch Yogi and Boo Boo through our eyes.
Q. What do you mean?
A. If we acted shocked that these bears were talking, it would be a whole different movie. If we freaked out, the audience would have matched that reaction and the movie would have gotten lost on that tangent.
Q. Only an English lit major would analyze a movie like that.
A. (laughs). I know. Sorry.
Q. That’s OK. It was fun to watch you try to put a thoughtful spin on a movie about talking bears.
A. (laughs). But, in a way, I think it was more fun for the audience that way, and it was more fun for me. I didn’t feel the pressure of always having to be funny. It’s the bears’ movie; not mine.
Q. Explain to readers who are not actors what this brief kid-movie phase of your career means in the overall scheme of things?
A. I don’t know. I wish I knew. I do have an R-rated movie coming out next year. I suppose in an ideal world, I would get to play in all genres.
Q. You started your career in dramatic roles, but you made your name in comedies. I suspect that movie studios don’t like to see you move out of your comfort zone?
A. It’s true. There are small imaginations in Hollywood when it comes to casting. It’s always an uphill battle.
Q. You’ve been producing lately. Isn’t that a way for an actress to fight typecasting?
A. Exactly. I was sort of forced into producing. I wasn’t getting the scripts I wanted to do. It was the only option, not only for now but for the future. It’s a sad reality that aging actresses have trouble finding work.
Q. Speaking of aging actresses, I know you’re so insecure about your looks that you don’t think you’re attractive. So, how will you know when your looks have gone?
A. (laughs) Oh man, thanks for that. Maybe you’ll tell me?
Q. I’ll be happy to. If not me, you can always count on someone in this town reminding you that you’re getting old.
A. That’s what I love about Hollywood.
Q. There are rumors flying around town that Dan Aykroyd has approached you to be in “Ghostbusters III.” Is that true?
A. We haven’t talked about it.
A. I would love to do it, but nothing’s been talked about. Maybe these Internet rumors will help me.
Q. Is that the best Internet rumor floating around about you right now?
A. I won’t even read the rude ones. But I suppose there must be a baby bump rumor out there.
Q. That’s predictable after you get married. But you’ve been pretty lucky on the tabloid front?
A. I guess it’s because I’m boring. Man, if the tabloids had been following me when I was 20, it would have been brutal.
Q. Are you easily offended by what people say about you?
A. I’m not. I think being offended is a choice, and I choose not to be offended.
Q. What’s the R-rated movie coming up?
A. It’s called “What’s Your Number?” although there’s been talk of a title change. It’s a romantic comedy.
Q. But no nudity, right?
A. No. Why do you ask?
Q. Last time, you said you wouldn’t mind doing nudity but you didn’t think nudity was funny.
A. I still agree with that, but I am in my underwear an awful lot in “What’s Your Number?” It wasn’t supposed to be that way.
Q. Wasn’t it in the script?
A. No. Suddenly, I show up and they tell me I have to be in my underwear. I thought I could gain some weight for that movie, but forget that.
Q. You’re 34; if you’re ever going to be naked in a movie, you might want to do it fast.
A. You’re right. I’ve got to get naked next year.
Q. Make it a New Year’s resolution.
A. I will.
Q. Speaking of getting naked, where did you meet your husband?
A. We both acted in a movie called “Take Me Home Tonight.” It comes out next year. He has a great sense of humor.
Q. I suspect that that would be a requirement for any man you married?
A. Oh, I think so. A guy has to be funny.
Q. While we’re talking about funny, did anything funny happen during the filming of this movie?
A. I don’t know if it’s funny, but we were on the river shooting a scene when the camera boat smashed into us and part of the rigging smacked me across the head.
Q. That explains so much.
A. (laughs). Doesn’t it?
Q. No, seriously, what happened?
A. I was completely dazed. They dragged me to shore, and I was bleeding all over the place.
Q. Did you get stitches?
A. No, but it hurt. And the worst part was that I didn’t get any good meds out of it.
Q. That truly is a tragedy.
A. I know.