The New Yorker has run an illuminating profile on the interesting career of comedian Anna Faris (subscription only unfortunately). After paying her dues in shit fare like Scary Movie and My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Faris has finally attained a position of power in Hollywood. Today she pitches her own films and gets them greenlit based on her proven bankability. Her performances in comedies such as The House Bunny and Just Friends channel the guts and bravado of pretty girl comedians like Chelsea Handler and Jenny McCarthy while managing to reach an even more mainstream audience. It hasn’t been easy though. Comedy especially is still a notorious boys club run by directors like Judd Apatow and Todd Philips. Women either have the option of playing the slutty temptress or the humorless shrew—something Faris herself abhors. She says, “These roles are destroying a generation of boys who think we’ll forgive any kind of assholey behavior.”
Faris is refreshingly candid and reveals that when she scored The House Bunny, it became clear that the studio would let her have her cake but they weren’t going to let her eat it too. In preparation for filming, they gave her a gym membership and had her subsist on turkey slices and carrot sticks. She says, “I remember feeling hungry a lot, because I had to wear such revealing outfits, because it was really important to the studio and to Happy Madison that I be Bunnyesque.” Faris also admits she injected collagen in her lips to be “centerfold-ready.” After she completed the film, she even decided to get breast implants.
The article includes a lot of admissions from major movie producers about how they believe female-driven movies don’t make as much money as movies about men. This idea is largely bullshit (paging the recent success of Easy A) but one top studio executive explains it more honestly, “The decision to make movies is mostly made by men, and if men don’t have to make movies about women they won’t.” (#dark). Such a quote makes Faris’ quest to be a famous female behaving badly even more admirable. Even though she has compromised herself in order to get ahead, in five years she could be as powerful as someone like Tina Fey and really change the Hollywood game. Not “Sex and the City 2” change the game because that film was just as vapid as something like The Ugly Truth, but “Mean Girls” change the game. Let’s cheers our man-hating Cosmos to that!