It’s often said that she outshines her material (like The Hot Chick, Just Friends, or each Scary Movie), but Anna Faris has proven she can also steal scenes in critically acclaimed fare such as Lost in Translation and Brokeback Mountain. After appearances in Gregg Araki’s cult stoner comedy Smiley Face and a guest arc on HBO’s Entourage last year, Faris hops back into the spotlight (as both star and coproducer) with The House Bunny, in which she stars as a former Playboy bunny who teaches socially inept sorority sisters what boys like. Considering her varied résumé, it’s no surprise that Faris also knows what gay boys and lesbians like.
By Brandon Voss
The Advocate: When I told a friend of mine I was interviewing you he said he loves you so much he wants to be you for Halloween. How can he best achieve the Anna Faris look?
Anna Faris: [Laughs] Well, it’s not that exciting or that glamorous. It’s mostly sweats, a vintage T-shirt, and grubby nails. It really would be kind of a letdown.
So did you have a team of gay professionals behind your glammed-up look as Shelley in The House Bunny?
I didn’t have gay hair and makeup on set, but I did have my [gay] friend Jake Bailey, who’s a makeup artist, help me create the whole over-the-top look — the big hair, the nails, and everything. If you saw me right now, you would have a completely different impression of me.
Did the trio from The Girls Next Door give you any good makeup or fashion tips?
They didn’t really talk to me — not that I necessarily want to put that in print. [Laughs] But you know, they’re about as blond as blond can be, and I definitely absorbed some of that.
When you shot your non-nude Playboy spread to tie-in with the film release, did Hugh Hefner pressure you to show more skin?
No, but in the middle of the photo shoot I was, like, “Aw, I just want to take it all off! I don’t know what’s come over me.” I was in the mood. But my publicist was, like, “Don’t you dare!”
Might you finally bare all for your starring role in the upcoming Linda Lovelace biopic, Inferno?
It is something I’ve thought about. The director and writer [Matthew Wilder] of that movie really wants to tell the tragedy, and he doesn’t want to exploit Linda’s story, so I don’t think it would be anything gratuitous at all.
There are some butch sorority sisters in The House Bunny. Was there ever any discussion of making one of them a lesbian?
Well, one of our characters is a feminist and certainly not interested in guys. We wanted only a couple of the characters to get with guys at the end, because we didn’t want to make a movie that was necessarily based around the women’s sexuality; we wanted the story to be about the female friendship. But having said that, there might be plenty of room for that in the sequel.
Shelley’s kicked out of the Playboy Mansion for being too old at 27. At 31, are you already feeling the pressures of aging in Hollywood in these very Miley Cyrus times?
Yeah, it manifests itself in so many different ways. Even when I was on set, working with these 18-year-old actresses who are able to eat whatever they want to because they have such great metabolisms, and I’m eating my raw almonds and turkey slices, I was totally annoyed. But I feel like I’m in this for the long haul. I’d love to be Betty White, working at 86. I consider myself a bit of a character actress, so I’d love to continue down that road, and I like to think that’s ageless.
The Scary Movie franchise flirts with potentially offensive homophobic humor, such as the Brokeback Mountain parody in Scary Movie 4. As an actress, where do you draw the line?
I feel like I’ve been broken in so early on, I rarely feel offended — and I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. I certainly was easily offended in college by fraternities and that whole guy-pack mentality, especially in terms of homophobia and sexism, but now it’s really hard to offend me.
But 2005’s Waiting… took the “fag” jokes pretty far.
I know. It’s so obviously homophobic, it’s not even funny anymore. That kind of humor is played out and so young. So I’m not offended, but I don’t necessarily find it funny either.
On the last season of Friends, your character, Erica, gave her baby up to Monica and Chandler for adoption. I imagine that your uterus would be in high demand amongst gay couples, Anna.
Oh, thank you! It’s funny, I just asked one of my best friends, “Can you have my baby for me so I don’t have any stretch marks.” And she agreed to. [Laughs] If the people are close in your life, I think it would be a wonderful gift to give somebody. But I’d need a lot of money, though. [Laughs]
Who is your closest gay friend?
My makeup artist, Jake Bailey, has become one of my dearest friends. We’ve been friends for about three or four years now and have become very close. After a few glasses of wine, he told me all about his experiences coming out, and I told him all about my first [sexual] experiences as well — and they seemed just as painful.
Though many dismiss it as body-switching teen fluff, couldn’t 2002’s The Hot Chick actually be a cleverly disguised celebration of transgenderism?
I love that you asked me that. My parents and I were just talking about that. I don’t think anything about The Hot Chick should be overanalyzed, but I do think that it was about a girl’s love for her best friend, and the lines get blurred there sexually. I think that’s something that everyone sort of experiences, especially young women.
You played a lesbian in the 2002 thriller May. How did you approach your love scene with star Angela Bettis?
It was awkward, but just as awkward as doing a love scene with a guy. You’re still kissing and being intimate with someone you might not have romantic feelings for when there’s a whole lot of people around. It was just the same as kissing the men in my life on camera.
After that film, did you have lesbians coming up to you and repeating your signature come-on line — “Do you like pussy…cats?” — on the street?
[Laughs] No, but I wish that I had! I always get the goth guys who are big fans of that movie coming up to me.
Which of your roles do gay men respond to the most?
They seem to like Just Friends a lot, but it honestly depends on what’s playing on HBO or whatever. As far as Brokeback Mountain goes, I usually have to explain to people who I am in the movie, and even then they can’t remember. Even though my role is so small, I’m so honored to be a part of such a beautiful movie. That was really thrilling for me.
Did working on Brokeback Mountain affect your views on homosexuality?
I don’t think so. I grew up in Seattle, I went to the University of Washington, and I felt like I always had a pretty liberal view of sexuality. So it didn’t even occur to me — it just felt like a tortured, unfortunate, but beautiful love story.
Your character, Lashawn, was married to another gay cowboy, and your boyfriend Bobby turned out to be gay in Scary Movie. Do you also find yourself accidentally falling for gay men?
Probably. Especially when I was younger, because I was drawn to people who weren’t quite as machismo — not to stereotype anyone in my life. But yeah, I have no sense of who’s gay and who’s not. It has to be spelled out for me.
Do you have a girl-crush? But be warned that we’re sick of hearing "Angelina Jolie."
Oh, I know, me too. I wasn’t going to give you that! [Laughs] I’ve got to say Charlize Theron really intrigues me. She’s not only beautiful, but she seems like she has a good sense of humor; she’s a pretty chill girl. And Jessica Biel’s got a great toned body, but I would be pretty starstruck to meet Charlize, and I probably wouldn’t be able to help but admire her beauty.
The Advocate, August 2008; extended online version.