People Like Us comes out today, and I chatted with the film's leading lady, Elizabeth Banks, about her role in the dramedy. She describes her character Frankie as "a struggling single mom with an alcohol addiction who really needs a break in her life." And adds, "The break comes in the form of Chris Pine's character Sam, who as it turns out, is a brother that she never knew she had." Although this role is serious, Elizabeth's comedic roles from movies like the recent What to Expect When You're Expecting and cult favorite Wet Hot American Summer seem more aligned with her fun-loving personality, which came out during the interview and fans get a glimpse of on her personal blog. Read what Elizabeth said on everything from her Girl Scout days to who she could see as the first female US president now. And watch the video of the interview at the end!
TrèsSugar: What drew you to People Like Us?
Elizabeth Banks: I just loved the characters, and it's a character-driven movie. It's really a story about connecting with your family. I went on an emotional journey when it first came to me and I really loved it — people have been watching it and saying to us, "Gosh this movie inspired me to call my mom or text my brother, or call my dad." I think it's a great message. We don't have a lot of time with each other on this earth together and let's make the best of it.
TS: You've said that you're not as badass as Frankie, but are there ways that you can relate to her character?
EB: Absolutely, I saw a lot of myself in Frankie. She's just trying to hold it together, and I think a lot of women who carry the weight of the world on their shoulders every day, especially working moms, can relate to this character. There's never enough money, there's never enough time, there's never enough reliable help around, anything you plan always goes wrong — it's just hard to be human, isn't it?
TS: Do you agree with director Alex Kurtzman when he said that you and Chris Pine look like siblings?
EB: If you mean are we two good-looking white people who live in Hollywood, yes, but I think there are probably a lot of us out there. I just love that people think that about us. We're both blondies with blue eyes . . .
TS: Is there a past costar that you have a sibling-like relationship with?
EB: I have sibling relationships with a lot of my costars, but probably Paul Rudd. He and I have made a lot of movies together. Also Tobey Maguire and I have made about six movies together.
TS: Do you have an example of a sibling moment with one of those two?
EB: We just are constantly giving each other crap back and forth. Like any good little sister, I'm constantly making fun of them. They dish it right back out to me. It's a one-ups-manship contest 24/7 with those guys.
TS: You've played a wide variety of female types: Effie Trinket, Avery Jessup, Laura Bush, and my personal favorite Lindsay in Wet Hot American Summer. Who was the most fun to play?
EB: There's a lot of fun being had. I really loved Beth the bookstore clerk in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. I thought she was really fun. I just thought, "Oh, I know this girl. She lives in the valley in LA, goes to community college, and is just looking for a good time. She'll probably never make much of her life, but she'll marry and have kids." I just saw her whole life laid out in front of me. I really loved Beth; I just loved how much fun she wanted to have.
TS: What funny actresses inspire you?
EB: I'm really inspired by the classic actresses. Rosalind Russell is an all-time favorite of mine — I think she's fabulous — I based a lot of my Effie Trinket character on Rosalind Russell. I'm a huge Lucille Ball fan, and I was a huge Carol Burnett fan, May West, Marilyn Monroe. Anybody I felt really paired a comedic sensibility with a vulnerability with sort of a pathos, those are the ladies I loved.
TS: On a sad note, I saw your tweet about Nora Ephron's passing, which was such a loss. How did she inspire you, and do you have a favorite film of hers?
EB: Well, I love When Harry Met Sally, of course. I loved Julie & Julia, I thought that was a great movie. Nora Ephron, in my opinion, was one of the great wits of our day. She's compared a lot to Dorothy Parker, and I think she was even a brighter woman than Dorothy Parker and inspired me because she was not only an amazing writer, but she was a director in Hollywood. There are not many female directors in Hollywood. She was always very passionate about what she did, she was a passionate woman, she loved being a woman. I think she advocated for women and I was just so inspired by her. I was very lucky to meet her and hang out with her, and I just thought she was a great broad. I hope someday I can even come close to her essence.
Keep reading to find out about Elizabeth Banks's Summer camp romance!