Director: Scott Frank
Writer(s): Scott Frank
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Crime
Filming: Filmed in Manitoba, Canada, from March 2006.
Box Office: Grossed a total of $5,371,181 worldwide, $4,600,585 of which came from the US. Took $2,017,795 on its opening weekend in the US, landing it at #11 on the BO charts. Took $17,710 in Australia, and $133,533 in the UK.
Runtime: 99 minutes
Rating: R in the US, 15 in the UK
An admired high school hockey player with a bright future foolishly takes a drive in the night with his girlfriend and two other friends with his headlights off with devastating results. The former athlete is left with a brain injury that prevents him from remembering many things for extended periods of time. To compensate, he keeps notes in a small notebook to aid him in remembering what he is to do. He also lives with a blind friend who aids him. Obviously, with the mental incapacitation, he is unable to have meaningful work. Thus he works as a night cleaning man in a bank. It is there he comes under the scrutiny of a gang planning to rob the bank. The leader befriends him and gets him involved with a young woman who further reels him in. After they get close and after reeling him in with his own failures, the bank plan unfolds. Confused but wanting to escape his current existence, he initially goes along with the scheme…
Joseph Gordon-Levitt … as Chris Pratt
Jeff Daniels … as Lewis
Matthew Goode … as Gary Spargo
Carla Gugino … as Janet
Bruce McGill … as Robert Pratt
Alberta Watson … as Barbara Pratt
Tinsel Korey … as Maura
Premiere in the US on March 30th 2007. The film was released across Europe during the summer of 2007, including Spain in May, Italy in July, and Germany in September. Released in the UK on November 2nd 2007.
Isla’s character in The Lookout is Luvlee, a former stripper, who now works at the Chamber of Commerce. Luvlee went to high school with Chris and Gary, and is now the girlfriend-of-sorts of Gary. She approaches Chris at a bar, and invites him to come and join her, Gary and their friend Maura for a drink. Luvlee is a sweet but naive girl, but not very clever. She seems a bit lost, and depends on Gary a lot because she doesn’t know anything else. Chris and Luvlee start to become close, and Luvlee tries to seduce him. But Gary is not as friendly as he seems, and it soon becomes clear he has an ulterior motive, with Luvlee serving simply as a tool to achieve that.
There is a lot of intrigue surrounding Luvlee, with many who watch the film questioning whether she does know about Gary’s plot and her role in getting Chris on board, or whether she is just as in the dark about it all as Chris is. Isla describes Luvlee as “innocent” and a “people-pleaser”, and seems to have approached the character as having her not complicit in the knowledge of the heist. Instead, Isla seems to have played her as an innocent, and just someone wanting some friendly company because she is “vulnerable”, “insecure”, and in a “horrible mess”.
• The Lookout won the award for Best First Feature at the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards.
• Isla said she didn’t do any research into brain injury or any of the issues within the film, because she felt her character had no idea about them either, so she wanted to maintain authentic reactions.
• Isla speaks with an American accent in this role.
• Isla apparently agreed to play this role on the stipulation that Luvlee would have a naive, child-like innocence, rather than in-your-face, sexual, scheming femme fatale as the script initially called for. Luvlee was intended to be a more sinister character in the script, but Isla lightened her and made her more vulnerable.
• Isla took this role so she could work with Scott Frank. She says she was “very happy it did sort of break me out of that mold” of being a comedienne that she was in, but that was never her overall intention when taking this.
• Isla loved working on this film, and said of her time on set that she found herself “often pinching myself … realizing that I was going to get to say these incredible words”.
• Kept her American accent up whilst taking breaks in filming, because she found it to difficult to get back into it otherwise.
• Sam Mendes and David Fincher were both attached to direct this film, before writer Scott Frank decided to direct it himself.
• Isla says she is “so proud” of The Lookout.
– Isla Fisher: “I just thought, I don’t want to play a cliche femme fatale, the woman with sexual appetite who wants to take down this man. I want to give her this big, beating heart and make her innocent, a woman who has no identity — a woman who doesn’t have an agenda.”
– Isla Fisher: “I read the script and instantly thought this is a role I have to audition for. But I knew I was up against huge obstacles — being a comedian actress or at least being known that way in the marketplace.”
– Isla Fisher: “The thing about the movie was, it was a pretty masculine thing. It’s a story about a guy who was a jock. His roommate’s a guy. There’s a bank robbery with guys and guns. It’s a pretty manly movie.”
– Isla Fisher: “There’s a pathos and a mystery to her that I think makes her really beautiful. I see her as a people pleaser, someone who basically operates only through her heart and doesn’t filter anything through her head. Mostly she likes to feel needed and wanted, so she wants to fit in with Gary and his gang. But she’s cultivated more childish innocence than worldly smarts. She’s so in the moment that she was a lot of fun to play and it was especially interesting to play a character like that reacting to people who are brain damaged and blind.”
– Isla Fisher: “I think she’s attracted to Chris because he doesn’t really have any sense of identity and she can relate to that. Really, they have a beautiful little love affair and I think they each gain a lot from each other.”
– Isla Fisher: “I really wanted Luvlee to be the one character in the movie that didn’t have an agenda. I felt like everybody else in the movie clearly wants something and I wanted her to be an innocent in a way, one of those women who doesn’t have a strong sense of adventure, who kind of mirrors the men she’s with and has never really belonged anywhere and has the appetite to belong. And that’s why her actions lead her into bad situations, but it’s ultimately coming from just the desire to belong. I don’t think Luvlee is a particularly smart character, I think she’s someone who’s just lost and sort of disassociated from herself in a way.”
– Isla Fisher: “My feeling with Gary and Luvlee’s relationship is that when she’s with Gary she kind of mirrors Gary and when she’s with Chris Pratt she’s a different person – just one of those women without a strong sense of identity. But that she loves Gary, but it’s more of a you know, not a paternal thing, but he sort of takes care of her, where as Chris represents the loss of her childhood and someone she idolized in high school. He was someone she watched at hockey games, she was never part of the cool group, she never had the opportunities to be near him and now she does obit through dubious means.”
– Isla Fisher: “When Joseph’s at work, he’s a very professional actor, he’s a method actor; he more or less stays in character between takes. He was playing somebody who was mentally impaired, so he sort of isolated himself on set, but witty at dinner every night with the cast and he’s just the greatest guy.”
– Isla Fisher: “Jeff Daniels is not a method actor as far as I can see. As far as I could see, he was looking around, there’s nothing blind about Jeff Daniels in between takes. But it was a really great scene, the dialogue in that scene, I love that scene. And that scene wasn’t in the original script when I got the role, Jeff Daniels had Scott write it in for us and he was right to cause people love that scene.”
– Isla Fisher: “I had a director who had the vision to imagine me playing someone other than a bipolar nymphomaniac.”
– Isla Fisher: “He’s nothing like the character he plays in this movie in my opinion, that’s why he does such a great job.” (on Matthew Goode)
– Isla Fisher: “I didn’t want her to have any experience. That was her charm. I wanted her to see this blind guy for the first time, reach out and touch him, and have no clue.” (on why she didn’t study brain injury and blindness for this role)
– Isla Fisher: “Everybody feels very differently about her. And, I can see when I’m talking about her with certain journalists, that people feel that it’s not what they saw, and I think that’s what’s great about the movie.” (on whether Luvlee knows about Gary’s heist plan for Chris or not)
– Joseph Gordon-Levitt: “She’s the sweetest girl.”
– Scott Frank: “I met with her and she really understood the part. She was really smart about making her not what you expect of her. She really turned her into a little kid, which I really liked, this sort of innocent who’s not quite sure what’s up until it’s too late. And I loved that, I really loved that.”
– Scott Frank: “I had no problem with their accents and sometimes, even Isla’s Australian accent would sneak through and she’d be aware of it and ask if I wanted her to change it, and I would say no because it sort of contributed to the whole childlike thing that I was going for. I just really liked it.”
– Scott Frank: “Isla came in and just lit up the room and was so clearly right for the part. We also had her read with Joe and they had great chemistry together.”
– Luvlee: “I used to dance at Wet Willy’s – you know that place in Raytown? It got closed down on account of debt. But right now I’m working with Maura at the Chamber Of Commerce … I’m answering phones. What do you do?”
– Chris: “Oh, I … sorry, I forgot your name.”
– Luvlee: “Again?! It’s Luvlee. L-u-v-l-e-e – Luvlee. Now you’ll remember me.”
– Lewis: “Let me ask you a question. What’s your real name?”
– Luvlee: “Why, are you gonna Google me?!”
– Lewis: “If I did, what would I find?”
– Luvlee: “Probably nothing.”
– Luvlee: “Do you know Gary?”
– Lewis: “Oh I’ve known lots of Gary’s. Few Luvlee’s too.”
– Luvlee: “Meaning…?”
– Lewis: “Meaning, something tells me that you really don’t believe that you’re going to be invited to the next Pratt Thanksgiving.”
– Luvlee: “I could be…”
– Lewis: “Sometimes I wake up and think I can see, until I walk into the door.”
[Lewis is explaining how he went blind]
– Lewis: “I was about your age, some buddies and me wanted to make money, so we started a meth lab.”
– Luvlee: “You blew yourself up?!”
– Lewis: “Do I look like I blew myself up? No, I didn’t blow myself up.”
• TCUDailySkiff.com: “Since Daniels and Levitt always give great performances, the big surprises of the film came from Matthew Goode (“Match Point”) and Isla Fisher (“Wedding Crashers”). The audience was most taken aback to see Fisher play a sane woman, as opposed to her “Wedding Crashers” character. (I don’t think we will ever forget that one). “The Lookout” was a great choice for her and an even better choice since she did well. So if you need a reason to see this film, it is mainly to see a cast of talented, yet extremely underrated, artists perfect their craft.”
• NY Times: “Mr. Frank’s screenplay for “The Lookout” was long considered one of Hollywood’s great unproduced scripts. The end product doesn’t justify that buildup. Some of the minor characters are thinly drawn (particularly Luvlee, who never manifests the femme fatale qualities her plot function seems to require).”
• MovieFreak.com: “Jeff Daniels is an upbeat presence as well, and Isla Fisher and Matthew Goode deliver the goods also. Acting, directing, and especially writing are areas where The Lookout distinguishes itself as a cut above most crime thrillers.”
• Time Out: “Still, Gordon-Levitt is superb as the cognitively challenged protagonist, as is the aptly cast Isla Fisher, in the role of Luvlee Lemons, a sickly sweet femme fatale. Jeff Daniels leaves no scenery unchewed but provides sardonic comic relief as Pratt’s blind, sex-starved roommate. Forgettable fun.”
• Boston.com: “Isla Fisher , the sweet nutcase from “Wedding Crashers ,” plays an ex-stripper who holds on to her stage name like a security blanket — Luvlee Lemons (it may be the only creative thing she has done in her life). Gary uses her to seduce Chris, and Fisher gives the character a dim, honest integrity, as if the old film noir moll Gloria Grahame had been reborn as a pole dancer.”
• BeyondHollywood.com: “And Isla Fisher, besides her notoriety as the future Mrs. Borat, gives a performance that is driven by her carefully chosen line readings, which seem to hint at mysterious depths and hidden motivations at all times. Luvlee Lemons is the thinnest character in the script and yet, Fisher has the charm and charisma to make her seem more complex. She is also very attractive, and this is no small requirement in a story where the hero must fall for the potential femme fatale.”
• Cinema Blend: “Isla Fisher could have merely shown up and looked hot and been excellent, however her character, who serves as a potential love interest for Chris, has quite a bit of depth to it.”
• Rolling Stone: “The Lookout is Frank’s show. He’s crafted a haunting and hypnotic film that transcends pulp by creating characters that get under your skin. Frank is a director to watch. More, please, and soon.”
This is a very different film for Isla. It’s a grown-up, slow burning film with a serious story and message. The film has amassed quite a following over the few years it’s been released, no doubt in part due to the rise and allure of its talented stars including Joseph Gordon Levitt. It’s great seeing Isla act alongside such talented and popular stars such as Gordon-Levitt and Jeff Daniels, as well as the up and coming Matthew Goode. And Isla definitely holds her own against them, fitting right in – as much as her character allows. She’s great in her limited number of scenes, and Luvlee is an important character, although arguably underwritten/under-used.
This film is not for everyone, but if you’re looking to see Isla stretch herself and show off her versatility, this is for you.
Isla’s profile raised greatly in 2007, and she did a lot of promotion for this film. Promotion started with a press conference, and was followed by a premiere in Los Angeles, and a screening of the film in New York. Isla pulled out all the stops for the Los Angeles premiere, looking stunning with a classic Hollywood style look and wearing a Monique Lhuillier dress. During the promotional tour for The Lookout, Isla appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, which marked her first appearance on a major US chat show. Magazine-wise, Isla had new spreads in a few major US magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar and In Style.
• Isla Fisher Web‘s Press page (related: 2007 interviews)
• Isla Fisher Web‘s 2007 Appearances Gallery
• Isla Fisher Web‘s 2007 Magazine Scans Gallery
• Isla Fisher Web‘s 2007 video interviews
• Isla Fisher Web‘s 2007 talk show video interviews
• News & Updates for The Lookout at Isla Fisher Web