Q&A: Elizabeth Banks

Photo used with permission from Focus World.
Photo used with permission from Focus World.

Elizabeth Banks goes from news reporter to news headline in an epic “Walk of Shame.”

Photo used with permission from Focus World.
Photo used with permission from Focus World.

Meghan Miles, played by Elizabeth Banks in “Walk of Shame,” has an unexpected sleepover that leads to a nightmare she can’t wake up from. In the film, which opens May 2, the budding journalist trades in her sweatpants for a short, yellow dress and a girls’ night out, but things quickly get out of control. After going home with a man she meets at a bar (James Marsden), Meghan is offered a chance at promotion to be a news anchor, but every obstacle possible gets in the way, keeping her from her dream job. Banks has played many memorable characters, such as Effie in “The Hunger Games” films and Avery Jessup on “30 Rock.” We found out what separated her experience in “Walk of Shame” from these other roles.

Q: You shot all over Los Angeles for this film. What was your favorite part about touring all over the city?

A:  Downtown LA is sort of a hipster haven right now. There’s so many great restaurants — my favorite part about making this movie was the good food. I didn’t eat a lot of it because, I don’t know if you saw that dress, but I was definitely on a diet the entire time I was making this movie! But I really enjoyed finding out more about the city in which I live and discovering a lot of great new restaurants, and we shot a lot at night, so we had a lot of really fun evenings hitting the bars and really living this character!

Q: Do you ever think that men have to make a walk of shame, or are men just too shameless?

A: Of course, they can have a walk of shame! The great thing about Meghan Miles and this night [captured in the movie] is that we are calling it a walk of shame, but I actually don’t think she feels particularly shameful about what happened. This is about a woman at a crisis point who feels like she’s lost control over her life, and…she’s really lost control over this night, so it’s really about figuring out how to take control back in your own life. I think that we’ve all had those nights when we just want our own beds.

Q: What attracted you to working on this particular film?

A: I felt like I knew who Meghan was, and I thought I could be funny. It really comes down to that. I really wanted to do a role that uses my abilities as a comedienne — I don’t get to do that very often! Or, if I do, it is usually in support of funny leading men, and I love my funny men, but I relish the opportunity of being able to play this character, present a complicated girl who is figuring out what to do with her life and is really a good girl at heart and is misperceived. I think that there are a lot of good messages in the movie, like not judging a book by its cover and the misperception of women, generally, who do certain things like go home with a man after meeting him at a bar. She doesn’t have any shame about these things. I felt like she is a really free character, and I wanted to delve into that.

Q: Do you relate to Meghan? Was there ever a moment when you felt that you needed to take control back in your life?

A: Yeah, of course. You have to see a little bit of yourself in every character you play and bring some experience to it. I spent my early twenties in Philadelphia and New York — big cities — where I definitely had a lot of fun nights like you’re supposed to in your 20s, and I was telling someone earlier that I get easily carsick, so I hated to get into taxis at the end of the night, and I felt really lucky that I lived in really walk- able cities. And I spent a lot of nights — I mean, don’t tell my mother — but I spent a lot of time walking home from places. That sense of finding your way — that’s what this movie is about.

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