Kristen Bell Interview, Forgetting Sarah MarshallPosted by: Sheila Roberts
MoviesOnline sat down with Kristen Bell (TV’s Veronica Mars, Heroes) at the Los Angeles press day for her new film, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a hilarious, heartfelt look at relationships for anyone who has ever had their heart ripped out and cut into a billion pieces.
From producers Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up) and Shauna Robertson (Knocked Up, Superbad) and first-time director Nicholas Stoller (co-writer of Fun With Dick and Jane, TV’s Undeclared) comes the world’s first romantic disaster comedy – a raunchy, honest look at one guy’s quest to grow up and get over the heartbreak of being dumpedâ€¦if he can only make himself start Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Leading the cast is Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother, Knocked Up) as Peter Bretter, a struggling musician who has spent nearly six years idolizing his girlfriend, television star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). He's the guy left holding her purse in paparazzi photos and accidentally omitted from acceptance award speeches. But Peter’s world is rocked when she dumps him and he finds himself alone. After an unsuccessful bout of womanizing and an on-the-job nervous breakdown, he believes that not having Sarah in his life may ruin it forever.
To clear his head, Peter takes an impulsive trip to Oahu, where he is confronted by his worst nightmare: his ex and her tragically hip new British-rocker boyfriend, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand, St. Trinian’s, Penelope), are sharing his luxury hotel. But as he torments himself with the reality of Sarah's new life, he finds relief in a flirtation with Rachel (Mila Kunis, TV’s That ‘70s Show, Family Guy), a beautiful resort employee whose laid-back approach tempts him to rejoin the world of the living. He also finds relief in several hundred fruity cocktails.
Here’s what the lovely Kirsten Bell had to tell us:
MoviesOnline: How did you end up reining Russell Brand in?
KRISTEN BELL: There are definitely takes where he’s much more Russell than Aldous just because when they were first finding Aldous they were trying to figure out what’s the best rock star stereotype to portray – the ultimate destructive fast talking one or someone a little bit more aloof. He and Nick found that and brilliantly so I think. The thing about Russell is when he’s on, he has the vocabulary of an alien and he is hysterical. But when he’s off and more just one on one, he’s – I don’t mean to ruin his street cred right now – but he is really kind and he is much softer. We had a lot of sex scenes together and we didn’t really know each other that well but he was so comfortable to work with and quite protective actually.
MoviesOnline: Really? I couldn’t imagine that.
KRISTEN BELL: Nobody would.
MoviesOnline: He talks about his appendage throughout this interview.
KRISTEN BELL: Of course he does. That’s why I’m planning on outing and destroying his street cred because when we would do it, he would always make sure that I was tucked in like a burrito with the sheet when the cameras weren’t rolling. I am by no means an exhibitionist. I’m also not super modest. I grew up in the theater. So when I’m on set and it’s a job, if I’m wearing something skimpy, that’s the job. I’ve been lucky enough to work with wonderful crew members that create a very safe environment and nobody’s there to exploit you. But when you’re in pasties throughout the entire movie, you get comfortable with it. I don’t know how you do, but you do, and he would literally cover me up.
MoviesOnline: Is that how he has so much success by making all these women feel so comfortable?
KRISTEN BELL: I guess so. I suppose. I suppose people are saying “Oh well, that’s just going to get him, you know, more girls.” But I think it came out of a very sweet, caring part of Russell that not a lot of people see.
MoviesOnline: But he didn’t try picking you up obviously?
KRISTEN BELL: No. Well, a little bit. [laughs]
MoviesOnline: Why didn’t that charm rub off on you?
KRISTEN BELL: Oh, I don’t know. I adore Russell, but Russell and I are just friends.
MoviesOnline: What was it like holding a naked Jason Segel?
KRISTEN BELL: Whoooo! I wasn’t holdingâ€¦
MoviesOnline: Well you had to comfort him.
KRISTEN BELL: You’re right. I did. You know, that was a very big day for Jason. It was one of the last things we shot and we were all really close as a crew and as a cast so we just wanted to make him feel comfortable. I don’t know if he told you that but they had T-shirts that had David on it and had the little sayings on the back, like he could up Jason and really fun stuff. And we tried to make him feel as comfortable as possible, but then there was a point where he got comfortable enough that we were so clearly in coverage and he was still naked. And I was sort of like, “Are we..? What’s that frame on? We’re here, right? And he’s still here.” And there was some sort of nylon sock involved which I’m gonna tell you just draws more attention to the area than if it didn’t have a nylon sock on it. So, you know, I just hope he was comfortable. I think he did a great job and I’m kind of proud of him.
MoviesOnline: Were you comfortable?
KRISTEN BELL: Yeah. I didn’t let on that I wasn’t. Yeah, you’re doing a scene with a naked man. I’m lucky he’s taller than me and my eyes stayed to the sky.
MoviesOnline: Have you ever dated a couch potato and tried to get him off the couch?
KRISTEN BELL: I’ve been the couch potato.
MoviesOnline: They’re trying to get you off the couch?
KRISTEN BELL: For sure. I tend to work very hard when I’m working and then in my off time I barely leave the house. I’m definitely one or the other. I will either have three jobs at one time like I do right now or I will just be completely stuck in bed all day, every day, watching reruns of Jeff Corwin and just happy as a clam.
MoviesOnline: Have you had somebody hold your purse while you take a picture?
KRISTEN BELL: I’ve had a couple different people in my life hold my purse so I would never ask anyone – friend, boyfriend or anyone – to do it too many times. I think it really does strip you of your dignity a little bit. In a pinch, it’s nice if somebody is doing it for you as a favor but when asked repeatedly, the amount of times they show him holding Sarah’s purse is what really gets it to be like “Oh, it’s no longer a favor. This is embarrassing.”
MoviesOnline: Have you ever had trouble defending a project the way Sarah Marshall did with the cell phone movie?
KRISTEN BELL: I’m sure you all know. I know what you’re getting at here. Here’s the irony in this situation. I did a movie that was about electronics coming to kill you. Fact. Did it a couple years ago. Nick and Jason wrote that scene and I said, “Really guys? Really? Like this is hitting home too much.” And honestly, sincerely, they went “But what do you mean?” And I said, “The cell phone thing.” They were like “You don’t think it’s funny? I think it’s hysterical. A plot line about a killer cell phone.” And I was like, “Because I did the movie about the cell phone, dude!” And they were like “You did?”
MoviesOnline: It was memorable obviously.
KRISTEN BELL: I know. Clearly not a lot of people saw it. It was unbelievable to me. We laughed about that for a week. I bugged them about it for a while. They really didn’t know I did that movie.
MoviesOnline: I interviewed you for that movie and you defended it to the hilt or are you just a damn good actress?
KRISTEN BELL: You know you never know how everything is going to come out. I thought it was a good movie. Was it the best horror movie ever made? Absolutely not. Was it the worst? No way. It did have a few holes, but whatever. It’s what it was. It was wonderful to make. It was an enjoyable movie. But the fact that they wanted to make fun of it made me a little uncomfortable because “A” I was grateful for that break. “B” I really loved the people involved. I love comedy but I don’t ever want to go so far with comedy that it hurts anyone’s feelings so I couldn’t figure out how they would have had that instinct to write it without knowing it and they really didn’t.
MoviesOnline: I actually didn’t know you were in the cell phone movie.
KRISTEN BELL: Really?
KRISTEN BELL: I was.
MoviesOnline: You were brilliant in that movie.
KRISTEN BELL: Thank you.
MoviesOnline: What and where would be your escape choice after a break up? Would you go to Hawaii, would you go somewhere else, would you just stay home? What would you do?
KRISTEN BELL: I would have a national tour of theme parks. Oh yeah! Mindless entertainment.
MoviesOnline: The entire country?
KRISTEN BELL: Sure.
MoviesOnline: What are your top five?
KRISTEN BELL: Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio. Knott’s Berry Farms out here. Disneyworld, Florida. Top five? Those are probably the top three. I do love theme parks. I love roller coasters. I grew up near Cedar Point. We went every summer.
MoviesOnline: Where is that?
KRISTEN BELL: It’s in Sandusky, Ohio. It was about a 2-1/2 hour drive from Detroit where I grew up. They always outdo themselves the next summer bringing in another enormous roller coaster and I was there for the opening of The Magnum which – not today – but I think is the third tallest in the world. And I fully went on opening day.
MoviesOnline: That’s what makes you happy and that’s what you do.
KRISTEN BELL: Oh yeah, I love it. I don’t really scream. I sort of just freeze up. But I do really like that feeling when your stomach goes up into your mouth. [laughs]
MoviesOnline: Fun date you’d make.
KRISTEN BELL: [laughs]
MoviesOnline: Did the writers’ strike shorten your Heroes arc? Was there more we would have seen?
KRISTEN BELL: Yes and there’s more that you will see. It interrupted my “Heroes” arc.
MoviesOnline: The rumor is that you weren’t coming back.
KRISTEN BELL: If I don’t come back, it will be because we didn’t work it out. I want to go back. As far as I’m concerned, I am going back. I’m not under contract but I’ve had such a good relationship with them and I’ve had so much fun doing it and had such a great storyline and I’ve shot two episodes that won’t air until we shoot the entire arc. I did take a movie unfortunately because I’m not under contract with them in New York for 12 weeks. So I’ll be about 4 weeks late coming back to when they shoot but as of right now the negotiation that’s going on is that they’ll be able to file my scenes in and I’ll just shoot a condensed version right when I get back and then catch up to everyone else and they don’t air until September so they have the ability to do that.
MoviesOnline: Is that When In Rome?
KRISTEN BELL: It’s called When In Rome.
MoviesOnline: Are you going to Rome too to shoot? That’s why you’re doing the movie, right?
KRISTEN BELL: Right. C’mon! I’m not very well traveled and I’m so excited to go. I’m excited to go back to New York for sure and the majority of it is in New York and I went to NYU so that’s sort of my old stomping ground.
MoviesOnline: Is it a romantic comedy?
KRISTEN BELL: Uh huh.
MoviesOnline: And you pick coins out of the Trevi Fountain?
KRISTEN BELL: Yes. She accidentally puts 7 coins in her pocket from the fountain and throughout the course of the movie there are 7 suitors that had thrown them into the fountain wishing for passion or love or a connection and start to stalk her in a really freaky way.
MoviesOnline: Have they cast all the suitors yet?
KRISTEN BELL: I can’t really say because they’re not signed yet but they’re in negotiations with some awesome actors and comedians. I’m genuinely excited about it because a lot of the people involved I’ve actually been excited to work with for a while, like before this movie started. I’m like “I’d really like to work with that comedian.”
MoviesOnline: Did you have to learn to surf for this movie and did you save any of that cool beach wardrobe for yourself?
KRISTEN BELL: I didn’t have surfing lessons. Mila had Japanese lessons. I had horseback riding lessons and Russell and Jason had surfing lessons. But during my horseback riding lessons, and I rode as a kid, I had 8 sessions or whatever it was to get me comfortable on the horses so we could do it, and that scene has actually been cut from the movie but it’ll be on the DVD. In two sessions I was remembering all the stuff that I grew up with so she was like “Well we can just mess around” and there were beautiful trails and we were right on the beach and she let me go swimming with my horse, Baba, into the ocean.
KRISTEN BELL: Baba. I’m sure you’ve heard about him. He’s the greatest horse in Hawaii. We went into the water because Baba loves to swim and so we’d go up to my waist and he’s completely submerged with just his head sticking up and he’ll start to paddle around. It is a divine experience.
MoviesOnline: Did you practice horseback riding with Russell because he gave a rather amusing anecdote?
KRISTEN BELL: Listen, I was there when his horse fell.
MoviesOnline: Well he was talking about how he’d never ridden a horse before and that he didn’t feel in control.
KRISTEN BELL: [imitating Russell] He said “This is a wild animal!” [resumes normal voice] Yeah, I know. I’ve heard it. I shouldn’t make it any less dramatic than it is. We did have one scare where my horse was in front of his horse and maybe his horse sniffed my horse or did something and my horse kicked his and his horse just sort of went down and he slid forward and he felt really out of control and scary and it’s when he started talking more about the fact that “We are really riding. It’s not a car and you can’t pull the brake. This is an animal that has thought processes and if he’s hungry, he’s going to stop, no matter how hard you pull.” Which is very true and I think a lot of good horse riders can work with that and understand that and be as compassionate as possible. Somebody needs a snack, you know.
MoviesOnline: So did you get to keep the cool wardrobe?
KRISTEN BELL: Unfortunately, I didn’t. Believe me, I wish I did. Sarah Marshall has the best wardrobe ever.
MoviesOnline: How do you get ready for the beach?
KRISTEN BELL: Here’s an embarrassing thing that I’ll admit. I have lived in Los Angeles. It will be 6 years in October. I can maybe count a dozen times I’ve ever been to the beach. I don’t love the beach, at least in Los Angeles. So I don’t really know what my beach routine is. Outside of Los Angeles I guess I do. I went to the beach a lot in Hawaii. Basically it’s just SPF, a ton of SPF, because I don’t want to burn. I don’t want to get skin cancer. So other than that and hydrating and bringing someâ€¦oh I did go to the beach a couple months ago with my friends. We brought bocce ball and started playing bocce ball.
MoviesOnline: What is that?
KRISTEN BELL: It’s like where you try to throw the ball and see if you can get it as close to the stick as possible.
MoviesOnline: You don’t live by the beach?
KRISTEN BELL: No. I live in Studio City.
MoviesOnline: How did you like doing the voice in Assassin’s?
KRISTEN BELL: I loved doing that. I grew up playing a lot of video games and I’m not as avid of a player now as I used to be but I love video games. I think that the way “Assassin’s Creed” turned out is awesome. It’s on par with any movie you see that kind of animation for. It was really fun because I like that world and it’s a really intense game. It’s a gamer’s game. I mean that’s the game that you lock yourself in the house for 4 hours a day playing. That is an intense game.
MoviesOnline: Are you going to do more?
KRISTEN BELL: I think we’re working on a second one. Yeah. And I believe I will be signing on for it.
MoviesOnline: What about your music? Don’t you miss singing?
KRISTEN BELL: Very much.
MoviesOnline: So are you thinking of being in a musical movie?
KRISTEN BELL: Yeah. You never really know when things come up and it’s definitely a priority to go back. I just sang in a benefit that we did for Alzheimers a couple weeks ago that Jason Alexander directed so keeping it on the forefront of my life is very important, though when opportunities like When In Rome come up, it’s something that you gotta to take pause there.
MoviesOnline: What did you sing at the benefit?
KRISTEN BELL: We did all the selections from Bye Bye Birdie so I sang A Lot of Livin’ to Do which was really fun.
MoviesOnline: What other movies do you have coming out?
KRISTEN BELL: Fanboys, but it does not have a release date yet. I’m disappointed that it hasn’t come out yet. I don’t know where it is. I haven’t seen it. I can’t really make a judgment call. They’ve had quite a few release dates for it. I’m just trying to stay as supportive as possible because I really don’t know any more than you guys do. They’re really tight lipped about it and they don’t even tell us.
MoviesOnline: What about Serious Moonlight?
KRISTEN BELL: It was so much fun to do. I had been a big fan of Cheryl Hines before I worked with her and she stepped into the role of just cool, confident female director. It was so impressive. It was Adrienne Shelly’s last script so there was a lot of weight involved with that.
MoviesOnline: Have you seen Waitress?
KRISTEN BELL: I did and I loved it. And it was almost the same team from “Waitress” and the same producers. There were only 4 characters. It was really cool. It takes place where 3 of them are tied up in the bathroom for half the movie and we shot it in 15 days. It was really interesting.
MoviesOnline: Is it going to a festival?
KRISTEN BELL: I don’t now what Cheryl is going to do with it. She’s editing it right now. My guess is that it would.
MoviesOnline: You did the voice for Gossip Girl. Do you know if there are any plans to reveal who Gossip Girl is?
KRISTEN BELL: I don’t think so because I think that like when you watch the show, she’s just more of a narrative that doesn’t actually exist. So I don’t think so.
MoviesOnline: Would you do more TV?
KRISTEN BELL: Would I? Yeah, if I liked it, if it was the right stuff. I don’t really separate the mediums in my head so much. I did “Heroes” because I really loved the show. It would depend on what it was. It’s the same thing as taking a film role. It depends on what it is.
MoviesOnline: Had there always been that little element in the script that makes Sarah Marshall a sympathetic character towards the end?
KRISTEN BELL: It went back and forth. There were always elements of being sympathetic. I think we have the minimum amount. The more you can get in there, the better, though I completely trust these filmmakers and their editing process and think that it’s exactly where it should be right now. But yeah, it was definitely a balance of wanting to make her likeable but also there’s so much comedy in the ditsy, bitchy parts of her, but also accurately portraying that she did have her reasons for breaking this up. It wasn’t what was fulfilling her any more. It wasn’t out of being mean. It was just about it doesn’t appeal to someone anymore to be with someone who has completely locked themselves in the apartment and survives solely on Fruit Loops. You know what I mean? She was looking for something different and it was an unfortunate thing to admit, but I think that a lot of the speechesâ€¦some of them were improv-ed and some of them were what Jason wrote pretty brilliantly which is what let you in on her thought process and didn’t demonize her so much.
MoviesOnline: Were you comfortable with all of that improv because you’ve done a lot of structured shows? Was it fun to participate or was it daunting for you?
KRISTEN BELL: Both. It was very nerve wracking and it was a lot of fun and you just had to go in there and be game. You had to just try. And you had to come in with specific decisions made about your character and you also had to come in willing to let any of those be bulldozed by other people.
MoviesOnline: What was the biggest improv thing that you did? What was the funniest thing that you came up with? Do you remember?
KRISTEN BELL: The biggest improv? I don’t even know if I could remember. We did two weeks of rehearsals where we improv-ed all these different scenes. It’s unfortunate that I don’t exactly remember what was in the original, original script I read and then all of the rewrites that Jason did on top of it that were stuff that we came up with that sort of all meshes together in my brain. I wish I could separate it more but they were phenomenally collaborative about either giving suggestions about “Hey, try this” or me being able to say “Hey Nick, I really want to try this.” It’s a really neat way to work. A really neat way to work.
MoviesOnline: It’s funny they didn’t know about the cell phone movie. I think I remember talking to Jason on the set. He said the mystery show had nothing to do with Veronica Mars either.
KRISTEN BELL: Right. It’s weird. Those were the two definitely ironic circumstances. “Veronica Mars” was cancelled two weeks before we shot that scene so it was completely a realistic reaction.
MoviesOnline: How did that make you feel?
KRISTEN BELL: I thought it was going to go. I really did. I thought that the first two years too when it was picked up. I really did. We knew our numbers were stagnant. They weren’t bad and they weren’t good, but they were holding. I understand that being the head of the network you also have to take into consideration how much space you can sell and commercials. That’s really what it’s based on. So I totally get it, the business aspect of it, but it was just heartbreaking because those people were my family in San Diego.
MoviesOnline: Do you still keep in contact with a lot of the cast?
KRISTEN BELL: I’m seeing 10 of them tonight for dinner at my house. [laughs] We probably do it once every four or five months. We get together probably three times a year.
MoviesOnline: Are you cooking?
KRISTEN BELL: Yes.
MoviesOnline: Oh my god, for that many people?
KRISTEN BELL: Well people are bringing stuff as well. We do keep in touch a lot which is great because we did get along really, really well and that sort of family aspect hasn’t been lost, and Rico and I are still really, really close and I love that.
“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” opens in theaters on April 18th.