If Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, and Lizzy Caplan were regular humans, they would have walked into the small, but well furnished conference room at the Regency Hotel in New York and promptly passed out. But the stars of Bachelorette aren’t regular humans. They’re actors, a group whose bodies are trained to give and give and give whenever they are needed to stand on their mark. Fresh off of the film’s premiere the previous evening, the three women launched into the room with all of the ferocity of a boxer in the 10th round: too tired and punch drunk to do anything but react.
And react they did. Be prepared for a lot of (laugh)s. This was an incredibly fun interview to hold, one that I don’t know any of the women quite remember. They discuss the freedom of working on an indie set, how much their high school pasts influenced this decidedly grown-up high school drama, and the merits of drama. Seriously.
The following is our roundtable conversation and some quotes have been gussied up to make everyone sound like a real, live human person.
How long after reading this script did you want to do this movie?
Kirsten Dunst: I read it and was immediately so drawn to the character of Regan. I’ve wanted to do a comedy for so long and it’s hard to get back into that groove when you haven’t been in one for a while. So I met Leslye [Headland, writer/director] and I immediately wanted to be a part of this film. I hadn’t read anything for girls like this. I just had the confidence that it would be special because it’s so different from what we’ve seen.
Was there anything you felt in common — at all — with that character?
Isla Fisher: If these interviews have been anything to go by, then yes! No, she’s just the sweetest, she’s so mellow. She’s the most mellow, lovely, friendly, easy going.
Lizzy Caplan: (to Dunst) You’re very non-Type A. Nothing would get done if you were in charge.
IF: Yeah, if you were in charge, it’d be “we’ll have the wedding…or will we?” and then make some cocktails.
KD: Ah, so, I’m good.
Isla, you were hilarious–
(Caplan and Dunst talk amongst themselves)
IF: (to the girls) Hello! This is an interview! …And he said I was hilarious. (to interviewer) Tell me more!
I’m going there, I’m going there. Was there a time when maybe you and Leslye didn’t agree on how far Katie should go with the ditsiness?
IF: Well Leslye was cool. She let me write the scene of not knowing the guy’s name. I wrote that in the trailer in the morning. She let me write the bit of me being stupid in the store, I wrote that little scene and she let me do it. You know, not the intro but the “magic vagina.” Yeah, the stuff that’s in the movie. And she was really cool with me improvising. It was really collaborative, and she wrote the greatest character, Katie, she was already there on the page. She allowed me to bring as many of my stupid, probably lower-brow jokes to the mix, which was awesome.
Did you identify with your character at all, Lizzy?
LC: I did, in certain ways. I actually see my character as this sort of wounded, very afraid person who does all this stuff to distract herself from feeling uncomfortable, feeling afraid of her own life. And yeah, I can totally identify with that, this idea of numbing out reality in whatever way. Watching TV, anything, just distracting yourself from how you’re actually feeling about things.
IF: Deep, deep.
LC: (In her best DJ Kool voice) I GOT DEEEEEP JUST NOW AT THE ROOOUUUUND TAAAAA-BLLLLEEEEEE!
All my friends that I talk to about the movie [Lizzy Caplan's is] their favorite character, of the three. I liked all three equally….
LC: Good save.
I think because your character speaks to the generation of arrested development. Have people told you that they’ve related to that character?
LC: I think that all three characters are suffering from some kind of arrested development just in slightly different ways. I think Isla and I, our characters share a similar [trait] where we haven’t really changed much since high school.
IF: Essentially, this is Lizzy’s character’s story. When I was [first contacted for] the movie, she was sort of the lead, and then they re-wrote it to make it more of a three-hander once I got on board, then I asked for my days to be cut down because I had a new baby. It’s great if people do identify with Regan -
(Dunst looks confused, Caplan tilts her head)
IF: Regan, right?
KD: I’M Regan!
IF: It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie. …Last night.
IF: I think it’s good people identify with Gena because it’s really her story about her character.
IF: I mean I say that–
KD: –You think I care?
I don’t think you’ve ever played such a delicious bitch before.
(Fisher and Caplan sing a quick “del-i-ciiioouuus” refrain)
When she’s finally telling off the hotel employees–
IF: –It’s so good, the flowers…
KD: That’s the most fun for me, too. Someone said to me, “I haven’t seen this anger come out of you since Interview With the Vampire.” I’m like “okay!” That’s what their reference was, which was kinda weird.
IF: How could you even remember?
LC: It was like three, four years ago.
KD: Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s so fun to play. Girls roles like this aren’t written very often. And when they are, Tina Fey wrote the script for Mean Girls, and Kristen Wiig wrote the script for Bridesmaids, and Leslye this. You’re only going to get these kinds of roles coming from a female voice.
How do you guys deal with comparisons to Bridesmaids?
IF: We’re thrilled! We got made for zero money and they [were] made for a bunch of money. I love that movie, it’s hilarious, and we really like our movie. It’s all good. There’s room in the playpen for all the kids.
Do you think this movie opens up the door for more roles where women take on a more stereotypical male archetype?
LC: I think that the more movies that are successful like these types of comedies for women, the more movies like this they will continue to make.
IF: And when I am a studio head, I will make sure that movies…
KD: You could be studio head.
IF: GREENLIGHT! GREENLIGHT! (she smacks her hands on the oak table) Bring me more scripts!
IF: Losing our minds, one interview at a time….
Speaking of women writing scripts for women, I was wondering if any of you had any interest writing something.
IF: I actually just finished writing something (which I probably shouldn’t say on record). I love to write, I really get off on it. It’s fun. And I love Celeste & Jesse Forever, Rashida Jones‘ movie.
KD: I have an idea with a girlfriend. We haven’t written it, though, but it’s something that I would definitely explore. But I think I’d be more open to doing it with–it’d be more fun to do it with someone.
LC: I’m bad at structure so when I write something it’s like the first half of the first act is 65 pages! I need someone to crack the whip. But I really like re-writing.
IF: Punching up.
What about directing?
LC & IF: That would be awesome!
IF: That’d be super fun.
KD: I did two shorts a while back but I would do that, too, again.
IF: There’s only so much directing one can do around the house without becoming annoying.
Did you feel that this was a morality tale? It said in our notes that was the thinking. What do you think?
LC: I don’t think so at all.
IF: Listen – we do face this issues head-on. We don’t glamorize them. You see vomit and you see the ramifications of the night and how it affects us all. It’s not like *Limitless or something where you take a pill and everything’s alright.
IF: Yeah, well, I shouldn’t speak anymore, I’m sorry.
What was the most liberating, naughty thing that you each got to do?
LC: Shooting the dress ripping scene and all of us doing cocaine and messing around with each other, that was a really fun night. Naughty.
IF: I liked smashing things! I got to smash a vase–
KD: –That was the most liberating scene, that’s true.
IF: Yeah, yeah.
KD: I liked sticking my fingers down [Isla's] mouth.
LC: That’s so sweet.
KD: That was liberating.
IF: (with a smile) That was.
What did you think about the character who is overweight, she’s rewarded in life because she’s good and kind. I look back on high school and people who were overweight were tortured. Did you guys have any feelings about that character?
LC: I think it’s a risky thing to show that visual representation of us three versus [Rebel Wilson]. Her character is winning at the game of life, far more than we are. Leslye said something really smart. This play is based on the seven deadly sins, she’s written a play for every sin and this one is gluttony. Immediately what comes to mind with “gluttony” is consuming too much food but we’re actually the gluttons and she’s actually the one doing okay. I think it’s a bold, kind of scary thing to put that in front of people, but Rebel’s like…I don’t know. I think it’s just so obvious when you look at us and you look at Rebel in this movie that one person is succeeding in life and the other three are really struggling.
Your characters are just older versions of them in high school. Is there anything about yourselves where you look back and think, “man, I still do that?”
KD: You obviously grow, but you still have those little kid things….
IF: I really liked high school. I went to an all girls school. It was super nice and easy. We didn’t pick on anyone for their weight.
LC: Well that’s nice.
IF: It was just a good vibe.
LC: My high school was artsy so the weirder you were then you were more popular. It wasn’t one of those cheerleader, football player situations–
KD: That was my high school. Very much so.
KD: But we were the one [diverse] lunch group. My girlfriend was a cheerleader and also in the drama club. My girlfriend Cindy was basically the class president vibe and great at sports. It was a very eclectic group. And I always had my seat saved whenever I went away to make a movie, so I had a very good group where I never felt like [an outsider]. I would definitely downplay myself in high school cause I never wanted to be picked on or anything for being an actress so I was very nice, tried to be my best.
LC: That would be so complicated….
KD: It was hard. And guess what? Those feelings sometimes happen in life.
IF: You keep your head down! Keep your head down.
Do you guys read reviews of yourselves?
KD: I’ll read certain reviews, yeah. I’ll read like LA Times.
IF: I don’t. I tell my publicist to not send me any reviews, and then sometimes they forget and then you cry yourself to sleep.
LC: No, Isla, you’re amazing.
IF: No no, that’s a joke. (knocks on the table) Oh please, God. I feel like I haven’t done that badly and when I read the occasional one, but who knows.
(Dunst notices how Caplan and Fisher are idly twirling paper in their hands; they laugh and discuss how weird this is).
IF: Look how tiny mine became!
LC: You made it so small!!! (beat) Sorry.
That’s okay. One of the questions I asked Leslye, the three girls, they’re quite different. Why were they friends?
LC: It never came up in my mind. My high school situation was the same as [Kirsten's] where everybody was into different stuff but we were still a group of friends. I wasn’t part of this homogenized group, and I think it’s weird that people think that, “oh, you grew up together, you were high school friends, you’re all supposed to be exactly the same.” I dunno.
KD: Although me and my best friend look like sisters.
LC: Yeah you guys do look exactly the same. Just with a little sprinkling of Jewess! (beat) I can say that.
KD: I have a really eclectic group of girlfriends but I notice that the through line is that they all have foreign parents and so do I. It’s a weird thing. One parent’s from Russia, one parent’s from Iran, my father’s from Germany. It’s a weird grouping, but it gives you a certain work ethic that a lot of people don’t have. I really get along with people who have grown up in a different way.
Have you experienced any downsides to fame?
IF: I think there are negatives to fame, being in the public arena and being vulnerable and exposed. You don’t want to complain about it because we’re very fortunate and we’re worked really hard to be sitting in these chairs but there are always pros and cons to everything.
Are you allowed to talk about any upcoming projects?
LC: Plugs, plugs, plugs-plugs-plugs, plugs!
KD: On The Road, but I have a tiny part in that movie. But it’s great. They just did a refreshing, kind of, of the edit and it’s so good.
IF: I’m really excited to see it.
KD: It felt like I was reading the book. I was really, really excited about it. And I can say that cause I have a tiny part, so it doesn’t sound like I’m bragging.
KD: Then I’m doing a movie soon called Two Faces of January. We’re going to shoot in Greece, Istanbul, and London.
KD: With Viggo Mortensen! It’s based in the sixties. I’m excited! I get to look pretty, have emotional things. And then I want to do a comedy with these two, again!
IF: Bitch-lerette 2.
KD: (to Caplan) I don’t like doing only dramas. (in a 13-year-old voice) Drama suuuuucks!
LC: (in a 13-year-old voice) Yeeeaahhhh, they’re haaaarder.
KD: No, (laughs) drama sucks….
KD: I didn’t even know I said that! Sometimes we get loose-lipped with each other. Like, I just yelled “drama sucks!” Why did I say that? That doesn’t even make sense at all. We’re just delirious.
LC: (heavily affected) Drama suuuuucks!
IF: I have an animated movie out next year called Rise of the Guardians. And then I’ve got [The Great] Gatsby out next year and a movie called Now You See Me–
KD: Where she plays a mag-ic-ian.
IF: That’s riiiight!
Can you talk about Gatsby at all?
KD: I’m excited about Isla in Gatsby.
IF: I’m really excited to be in Gatsby. I’m Australian, so Baz Luhrmann is a dream director, so it’s amazing that I got the opportunity to work with him. I never for one instant in my entire life dreamt that I would ever get cast in a Baz Luhrmann movie. I’m super happy. I feel like I don’t have to do anything else. I’m so content that I was able to work with him. It was amazing.
LC: I have another couple little indies like this coming out. One called Save the Date, and one called 3, 2, 1… Frankie Go Boom and a Showtime series that’ll be out next year.
Can you talk about that?
LC: (as if a recording) It’s called Masters of Sex. It’s about Masters and Johnson, the famed sexologists from the 50′s.
And a Party Down movie?
LC: We will make a Party Down movie and I don’t know any of the details. We’re always getting in trouble with saying too much or not saying enough or whatever but yes, it will happen. I can’t imagine it not happening.
Would you guys do a sequel?
KD: I don’t think there’s a sequel in here.
LC: It’s a trilogy.
IF: I think there’s a sequel, fo’ shizz.
IF: Yeah, cause it’s just good characters.
LC: We should do First Wives Club TWO!
IF: But then we’d have to get so much plastic surgery to keep up with the original.
LC: Fuck, I was going to say something hilarious.
IF: What was it?
LC: It was…no, it’s gone. (beat) I remember! It’s hilarious! Are you ready? I think they should make seven sequels of Bachelorette but starring the cast of American Pie.
KD: Whaaat is happening here?
LC: DRAMA SUCKS!!!
Imagining life after the credits, do you think any of your characters would get it together and get married?
IF: Yeah, I think Katie would get married fo’ shizz.
KD: I think [Lizzy]‘d get married to Adam [Scott].
LC: Yeah. But then we’d die weeks later.
KD: Oh God….
LC: I don’t know.
IF: Party and a funeral!
KD: It’s like flashbacks from this movie and us doing a bunch of drugs….
IF: We just do the sequel with Janeane Garofalo instead of [Lizzy].
Was the “500 Miles” performance always in the script? It just felt very spontaneous.
IF: Yeah, but he improvised that, right? Adam did his own speech.
LC: Yeah he improvised a bunch of them.
How often do you get to have this amount of input in a movie?
IF: I think it depends on the director and it depends on the material. I would never dream of trying to write something for someone unless they’re open to it. Leslye was always like “I don’t know what should happen here” and “what do you think?” It wasn’t like I was some pushy actor who wants to come in and [force anything]. It just worked out in this particular character, that I knew her voice, and in this particular movie.
LC: We just had to talk to Leslye about it who knew this movie inside and out and the script so well. It’s a small-budget independent film.
KD: It’s a collaborative set.
LC: The lower the budget, the more collaborative it feels on set sometimes because you don’t have a bunch of suits around. You can’t change the script on a $50 million movie because it’s gone through so many people by the time it gets to you. On this we had way more freedom.
Bachelorette is now in limited release and on VOD.
BAMCinématek A new series entitled “Black & White ’Scope: American Cinema” commences this weekend, and, as for the series itself, with a Wilder double-bill on Friday: The Apartment and One, Two, Three. Manhattan screens on Saturday, while The Hustler can be seen this Sunday. Museum of the Moving Image The Gordon Willis tribute concludes with […]
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