Isla Fisher walks into an interview room at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons dazzling in a Zac Posen dress. Her Confessions of a Shopaholic alter ego would be proud.
A Shopaholic’s secrets
Isla Fisher admits her personal passion for fashion is a little more reduced. “I shop rarely and poorly,” she says with her Australian accent. “When I shop, I get in and out, I have a mission and I fulfill it.”
Raised by Scottish parents in Australia, Fisher has shot to the A-list with her landing the role of Rebecca Bloomwood in the beloved book that is now a film, Confessions of a Shopaholic. The Shopaholic series is setting the literary world on fire and producer Jerry Bruckheimer has taken the Madeline Wickham book and brought it to America.
“I’m really grateful to Jerry Bruckheimer and completely bewildered how I was chosen to headline my own movie,” Fisher says and laughs. “I definitely felt far more responsible for the tone of the movie as a lead than you do as a supporting cast member. On top of that, playing a beloved character from a book that’s extraordinarily successful and knowing that she was going to be American and wanted to capture the essence of her as properly as I could added more pressure. Ultimately, we had an incredible producer behind you like Jerry Bruckheimer and an amazing cast. It was just an amazing and rewarding creative experience for me.”
What did producer Jerry Bruckheimer see in Fisher to give her the opportunity to lead her own film?
“She’s vivacious, she’s funny. She’s a wonderful dramatic actress which this movie wouldn’t work without the ability she has to pull that character off and for people to see that she is serious,” Bruckheimer says. “The comedic part we’ve seen she can do in Wedding Crashers and her other work, but the real surprise is that she’s a wonderful dramatic actress.”
Although Isla Fisher says her fervor for shopping is reserved, she did appreciate having Sex and the City costume designer Patricia Fields enlighten her wardrobe sense.
“The most fun fashion discovery was to use a lot of color in my wardrobe,” Fisher says. “I’m fairly conservative normally. I feel Patricia Fields brought out the color in me. Now I love to wear color.”
As anyone who has read the books knows, Rebecca Bloomwood has a small addiction to shopping. All kinds of shopping, from shoes to dresses, if it is designer, Bloomwood must have it.
Confessions of a Shopaholic was conceived during a different economic time. With the downturn, Fisher believes the film resonates more than ever. “The lessons that Rebecca learns in the movie, hopefully, we all have been learning recently. It feels very topical.,” Fisher says. “I’m really proud of the responsible way that we handle it at the end of the movie with that issue.”
One of many charms of the book and film is the sequences of Rebecca obsessively purchasing fine items with such zeal.
Having designer Fields to make her character look fabulous was a true blessing.
Patricia Field: Shopaholic designer
“Patricia is really is so creative. She did the costumes for Sex and the City and Devil Wears Prada, so I kind of let go and let her guide me and really enjoyed the process. In the beginning I couldn’t believe we spent 40 minutes discussing a belt. I was so frustrated. Halfway through, I suddenly began to understand there really is a sort of science to it,” Fisher says.
“This is an incredible world where people try really hard. It’s not just this ‘that looks cute, I’ll wear that.’ Patricia was extremely collaborative. I only had one request was that I wanted Becky to wear extremely high heels so she could teeter. There’s nothing funnier than a comedic character teetering wearing things that are clearly uncomfortable,” Fisher stops and laughs. “But, she’s a shopaholic. So she has to have it.”
Another comic gem in Confessions of a Shopaholic is the sample sale scenes. Serious physical comedy takes serious planning. “We had to choreograph that, so no one is trampled to death,” Fisher says. “There were a lot of heels on a very shiny surface. We had a lot of fun with it.”
The actress’ impeccable comic timing comes from extensive study. “I trained at a theater school in Paris under a very famous clown. Technically, I learned the skill set, but personally I’ve always been someone who likes to tap into her inner idiot,” Fisher says and smiles. “I’ve always been the clown of my family. I think I’ve always enjoyed mucking about and I’m fortunate that I get paid to do that now.”
Fisher also relished the chance to check an item of her bucket list.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to seduce a man doing a dance that’s actually repulsive,” Fisher says of one of the film’s more hilarious moments. “So, the opportunity of doing that arose during this movie and I embraced it. I enjoyed every minute. I’m embarrassed to admit, they’re my own moves,” Fisher says. “Plus, Hugh’s a really good dancer.”
High on Hugh
Fisher’s romantic interest in Confessions of a Shopaholic is played by Hugh Dancy. The actor is also on his own career trajectory of late. “What I loved about Hugh is he came to the movie and took it seriously as if he was in a dramatic movie, which is so important. As a result, he played the greatest straight man. And it gave me as Becky Greenwood someplace to go and be outrageous. The comedy was grounded in reality because of him,” Fisher says.
Isla Fisher fashion sense
After going from admitting she only shops when she must to discussing the finer points of fashion, it appears the Shopaholic experience has worn off on the actress. “I love Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood. I love Zac Posen. I tend to go for more classic like Prada. I love Prada. A part of this business is the pageantry of red carpet and you get dressed by incredible designers,” Fisher says. “I feel very blessed to wear any of those dresses.” Up next…quick questions with Isla Fisher including her take on motherhood.