Banks' Brilliant Comic Timing
Elizabeth Banks is enjoying straddling both the worlds of film and television. Her film career has spanned several years including the hits The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the Spiderman series, Definitely Maybe and The Uninvited, but it is her turn as Alec Baldwin’s love interest on 30 Rock that has earned Banks the biggest raves of her career.
Her CNBC reporter is tough as nails and caught in a love triangle with Baldwin and Oscar-winner Julianne Moore's character.
Banks caught up with SheKnows to discuss the May 20 30 Rock finale as well as the differences between working in film and television and if audiences can ever expect her to star in her own series. Here's a hint: Banks is having too much fun as a go-to guest star on TV and as a movie star -- next up starring alongside Russell Crowe in November's The Next Three Days -- to change a thing.
Elizabeth Banks: A bankable star
SheKnows: You have such a great established film career, yet between 30 Rock and Scrubs, you seem to delight in appearing on TV. Ever want a series all to yourself?
Elizabeth Banks: I'm very happy going back and forth right now. I really love playing multiple characters. You know, I'm not quite ready to commit to a single character for multiple years just yet. But that said, I never rule it out -- life is long and you just never know. But it won't be anytime soon.
SheKnows: How is the process of working on television different from filmmaking?
Elizabeth Banks: Well, they're totally different things. The main difference between television and movies is that when you make a movie you know the beginning, middle and end of your character's arc -- you always know where you're going, you know how the story ends. When you make a TV show they could decide tomorrow that I get hit by a car or I have a brother or I'm a lesbian -- you just have no idea what they're going to throw at you. So the main thing about TV versus film is that you have to create characters that could be open to anything at any moment because it's the consistency of the character that is really important. It's important that the writers write a consistent character, that you play a consistent character, but that you also feel like this character could go in any direction at any time.
Banks on comedySheKnows: Your comic timing is impeccable. Has that always been the case for you as a performer?
Elizabeth Banks: Well, the great thing about comedic timing is you're typically born with it, I think. So, the best people are born with it and they hone it after a long time. I think I was born with a little bit of comic timing and the sense of humor. And I have just sort of an openness to laugh. But the great thing about comedy is that there are rules to comedy that I really enjoy, like three is funnier than two, three is funnier than four, fart jokes are always funny and anytime a man dresses as a woman, it's funny. There are just a lot of rules to comedy. And the amazing thing about 30 Rock is that they break a lot of the rules or they explode them, but they also adhere to a lot of them too.
SheKnows: The fact that your character is a TV anchor is hilarious. Ever hear any input from real-life anchors?
Elizabeth Banks: Jake Tapper, who is the ABC White House correspondent -- I'm friendly with him. He tweeted to me after the first episode aired that Fox was probably already calling to try and steal me from CNBC because I had done such a good job on my countdown show, on the first show. He was very funny!
SheKnows: Alec's character has been dancing between you and Julianne Moore, any chance we'll see the two of you in the same scene on the finale?
Elizabeth Banks: I will tell you that Julianne Moore and I do have a scene together. I don't know if it's quite the face-off that you're expecting, but we do have a scene together so we meet in the finale.
SheKnows: Which character do you think Jack would choose, from the outside as a woman not involved in the 30 Rock love triangle?
Elizabeth Banks: Well, I mean, Avery's ego will definitely say you should choose Avery but probably only so that Avery can then dump him, you know what I mean. She'd really want to be chosen just so that she can have this -- the glory of then dumping him. I think he's probably playing with fire with Julianne's character. I think he's right in saying she's a fiery red-headed Irish lady from Boston. I know those ladies and they are tough, tough cookies. So we'll see. We're both tough cookies, I will say that. And I think he should do whatever's best for him. Let's put it this way, I think no matter who he chooses I don't know that this is going to be the be-all end-all for his love life.
Banks take on women in HollywoodSheKnows: I see you have gotten into producing. What prompted that new feather in your professional hat?
Elizabeth Banks: I got involved with producing partially because there's just a lack of interesting things for women to do in Hollywood. And, you know, I'm a sort of Type A personality who likes a little control in my life. So it's probably just gaining back a little control over what I'm doing in my daily life here in good old Hollywood, USA.
SheKnows: What do you think the state of women is in film and TV, with both directing and starring?
Elizabeth Banks: Well, I believe that women in film, technically the organization Women in Film, just came out with new statistics. And like most other things in the world, Fortune 500 companies, or the Senate, we make up I believe less than double-digit percentage-wise of people behind the camera whether it be writers or directors or producers, for that matter. So it's a sad state of affairs, my friends.
SheKnows: The finale is a who's-who of Hollywood including Will Forte and Matt Damon. What was that set day like?
Elizabeth Banks: There were a lot of Oscar nominees on the set that day. I actually did not work with Matt Damon because his schedule got a little messed up and he ended up coming in after we had wrapped the season to shoot just with Tina. So we actually worked with this photo double on those days. So I did not meet Matt Damon. But Michael Sheen is a doll. And I love Leslie, I think that's a great character for him. I love him with Tina. Will Forte looks so amazing on the season finale -- I cannot wait for people to see what he's dressed as. I took about eight photos of myself with him because I'm just so excited to have evidence that I was there when he was dressed the way he's going to be dressed next Thursday night.
SheKnows: You have The Next Three Days coming out in November with Russell Crowe. What's the film about?
Elizabeth Banks: I play a woman who is accused of murder. I go to prison and my husband, Russell Crowe, breaks me out and we go on the run. I'm very, very excited. It's a great movie.
SheKnows: Lastly, you've appeared with some of the hottest guys in entertainment. Have you spent your entire life being nice to everyone to earn such karma?
Elizabeth Banks: I don't know, I just have good karma I guess, because I'm definitely living all of the ladies' dreams, that's true. And I'm happy to do it because they're all great guys.
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