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Maid of Honor
Isla Fisher gets clap-happy — The scene-stealer in ”Wedding Crashers” talks about playing a woman who losers herself

It’s obvious that Wedding Crashers is meant to be a knee-slapper, but Isla Fisher was the only actor who took it literally. ”It was my first day on the set, and I was slapping Vince’s knee for the scene” — a bathroom escapade in which her character is supposed to be tending to an injured Jeremy (Vaughn) but ends up abusing him further. ”I was slapping it harder and harder, until I looked down and it was red and raw. I literally slapped it so hard that it was beyond red.”

A fitting anecdote for a woman who attacked every scene that Vaughn’s daft love interest was in with a heady mix of slapstick comedy and bunny-boiling zaniness. ”I needed someone that could stand toe-to-toe with Vince Vaughn’s energy — totally sexy one moment and scary the next,” says Crashers director David Dobkin. ”No one will ever win [his character] over unless they beat him at his own game, make him think, ‘This chick is the best! She’s perfect for me!”’ Adds Vaughn, ”I became the straight man in those scenes. She’s so off the reservation that I’m kind of responding to her antics.”

Although Crashers marks her first major film role (she had bit parts in Scooby-Doo and I (Heart) Huckabees), Fisher, 29, has long been a tabloid staple in Australia, where she starred on a soap opera called Home and Away in her late teens. (She also penned two best-selling teen romance novels.) Wary of being typecast as a soap star, she enrolled in Paris’ prestigious acting school école Jacques Lecoq a few years later and, among other things, became a bona fide clown, studying mime and juggling. She then moved to England to hone her craft but was soon better known for her sexy photo spreads in lad mags and active social life — until the Crashers offer came in.

”What was so exciting for me was the opportunity to get to do physical comedy,” says Fisher (who is engaged to fellow comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, a.k.a. Ali G). ”There are so many jokes you can do when you’re playing a girl who’s in heat and has no ability to control herself. I just pushed it as far as I could go.”