Isla Fisher and Jerry Bruckheimer Press Conference
Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers) stars as Rebecca Bloomwood, an optimistic young woman who is addicted to shopping, in the comedy movie Confessions of a Shopaholic. Based on the bestselling book by Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic couldn’t be heading to theaters at a more appropriate time. With the economy hitting the skids and people in debt up to their ears, Isla Fisher believes the timing couldn’t be more right for this film.
“Obviously this movie was conceived during a different economic period and the lessons that Rebecca Bloomwood learns in the movie, we have all been learning recently,” said Fisher at the film’s LA press day. “So it feels very topical. I’m really proud of the responsible way that we handle it at the end of the movie – that issue.”
Did you feel any pressure going from ensemble to lead?
Isla Fisher: “Yeah, obviously I’m very surprised, eternally grateful to Jerry Bruckheimer and completely bewildered as to how I was lucky enough to be chosen to head my own movie. I definitely felt far more responsible for the tone of the movie as a lead than you do as a supporting cast member where you can sort of come in and muck about. On top of that, playing a beloved character from a book that’s extraordinarily successful and knowing that she was now going to be American and wanting to just capture the essence of her as properly as I could added more pressure, but ultimately, when you have an incredible producer like Jerry Bruckheimer behind you and a really amazing cast, it was just an amazing, rewarding creative experience for me.”
What was the most fun fashion discovery you made making this film?
Isla Fisher: “The most fun fashion discovery was to use a lot of color in my wardrobe. I’m fairly conservative normally and I just feel like Patricia Fields brought out the color in me. I now love to wear color.”
Can you talk about your fan dance?
Isla Fisher: “In regard to the fan dance, it’s always been a comic dream of mine to attempt to seduce a man doing a dance that’s actually repulsive. So the opportunity of doing that arose during this movie and I embraced it and I really enjoyed every minute of it.”
Did you do any choreography or was it all done for you?
Isla Fisher: “No, no, they’re all, I’m embarrassed to admit, my own moves.”
Is Hugh Dancy a good dancer?
Isla Fisher: “I think Hugh’s a wonderful dancer and what I really loved about Hugh is that he came to the movie and took it seriously as if he was in a dramatic movie, which was so important. As a result, he played the greatest straight man and it gave me, playing Becky Bloomwood, somewhere to go and to be more outrageous. The comedy was grounded in reality because of him. He brought so much integrity and heart to the film and yeah, he was a fabulous dancer actually. He remembered the moves, the traditional moves, far better than me and guided me through that scene.”
Which item of clothing can you not pass by?
Isla Fisher: “Oh, there’s nothing really material that I can’t pass by. Maybe underwear. Just out of necessity, just in general, underwear. It’s not such a good look, not having underwear.”
Have you had any experience getting a bill you didn’t expect?
Isla Fisher: “Actually, recently I did. Apparently someone had been buying petrol in Texas on my credit card and I wasn’t there. So I did have that experience, but not through any fault of my own.”
How did you develop your talent for physical comedy?
Isla Fisher: “Well, actually, I trained at a theater school called Jacques Lecoq in Paris where Simon McBurney who’s a very famous French clown – well he’s English, actually – but where a lot of the theatre Complicite troupe train. We focus on comedy dell’arte[…] and mime. So technically, I definitely learned the skill set but just personally, I’ve always been someone who loves to tap into their inner idiot. I’ve always been the clown of my family and I’ve always just enjoyed mucking about, and I’m just fortunate that I get paid to do that now.”
Do you agree shopping is better than men?
Isla Fisher: “No. No. I shop rarely and poorly. I definitely appreciate men more than stores.”
What’s your take on workplace romance?
Isla Fisher: “I think it works out very well for Rebecca Bloomwood in this story because Luke Brandon actually uncovers her voice and helps her to fulfill…she doesn’t realize how talented she is until she meets him. And for him, he learns to loosen up and that’s why their relationship, I think, is so nice. They learn so much from each other. Personally, I’m not a fan of romance in the workplace because you’re stuck seeing someone every day.”
Jerry, we were waiting for an explosion.
Jerry Bruckheimer: “We have explosions. We have a closet explosion.”
What was the appeal of this subject?
Jerry Bruckheimer: “I think we loved the character. I mean, Becky Bloomwood’s such a unique, fresh, interesting young girl who embodies a lot of what young girls around the world deal with. They deal with their credit cards. They deal with their workplace. They deal with a job that they don’t really like and how to get out of it. I think it’s a real empowerment, it’s empowerment for women. This girl comes through the movie, starts out in one place and ends up in another place much more positive than where she started. She finds romance. She finds something she really loves doing.”
Who are your favorite fashion designers?
Isla Fisher: “Oh wow. A part of this business obviously is the pageantry of red carpet and you get dressed by incredible designers, so I’d have to say I love Stella McCartney. I love Vivian Westwood. I love Zac Pozen. I tend to go for more kind of classic. I love Prada. I feel very blessed to wear any of those dresses.”
If you shop rarely and poorly, how do you fill your closet?
Isla Fisher: “You know, I do shop when I need to and I’m fortunate in that I’ve sort of maintained my same size, except obviously when I was pregnant. So I just tend to wear stuff that I have around, and when I shop I just get in and out. I have a mission and I fulfill it.”
Is that a solo project?
Isla Fisher: “Usually, yes.”
Did you do any research on Shopaholics Anonymous?
Isla Fisher: “I did actually. I went to Spenders Anonymous groups and Underearners and Overspenders groups and it was fascinating. There are all different styles and types of shopping. There’s trophy shopping, image shopping, collecting, bulimic shopping. As funny as it sounds, it’s obviously also pretty sad too. But I definitely learned a lot and just that it affects men as often as women. It was a fascinating experience.”
Did you work with Patricia Field on choosing the outfits?
Isla Fisher: “I did. Patricia was extremely collaborative. I only had one request which is that I wanted Becky to wear extremely high heels so she could totter. I think there’s nothing funnier than a comedic character tottering and the impracticality of wearing something that clearly doesn’t fit her and is uncomfortable but she’s a shopaholic so she has to have it. And Patricia really is so creative and she clearly knows what she’s talking about. She’s extremely experienced. She did the costumes for Sex and the City, Devil Wears Prada so I kind of let go and let her guide me and I really enjoyed the process. At the beginning, I couldn’t believe we were spending 40 minutes discussing a belt. I was so frustrated but halfway through, I suddenly, I just felt like I began to understand that there really is sort of a science to it and there’s this incredible world and people try really hard. It’s not just this, I don’t know, ‘That looks cute, I’ll wear that.'”
Is there anything in your closet you wonder why you ever bought?
Isla Fisher: “Oh gosh, absolutely. I try to remove those items and give them to friends but yeah, several times I’ve been suckered into a fashion that wasn’t very flattering on a small frame.”
Isla Fisher: “You know, just now and then, I’m terrible with peer pressure so once several shop assistants convince me that I look good even though I can tell I don’t, I will in fact make the purchase and live to regret it.”
Jerry, which of your producing skills carried over to this movie?
Isla Fisher: “Well, you know, it’s all about the character and the screenplay. That’s the key to everything. Tell a good story – and fortunately we had a terrific novel to work off of, so that’s a great help. How we put the movie together, the director we chose, the cast that we chose, it’s what a producer does. It’s putting the whole package together and convincing Disney to make it. Those are all things that help these things get made.”
Jerry, what did you see in Isla?
Jerry Bruckheimer: “Well, you see it on screen. She’s vivacious, she’s funny, she’s a wonderful dramatic actress, which this movie wouldn’t work without the ability she has to pull that character off and see that she is serious. The comedic part, we saw what she could do in Wedding Crashers and some of her other work, but the real surprise is that she’s a wonderful dramatic actress.”
Have you been a fan of the books?
Isla Fisher: “I was a huge fan of the books. I read them all long before I heard about the project, and when I heard about the project and that Jerry Bruckheimer was producing, obviously who I was a huge fan of, I didn’t think in my wildest dreams that I would even get a meeting, let alone get the role. I literally still cannot believe I got the role. It’s very exciting for me.”
With the facial reactions, do you plan those, practice them, or what is your process?
Isla Fisher: “No, no, I just try to keep really loose and stay in the moment and not have any sort of hope for what I’m going to do. I’m not a method actress but I prepare at home and then I just try not to be self-conscious. I think a lot of people ask how come I got the role or I got into comedy and I just think it’s because I’m willing and a lot of actors and actresses aren’t willing to pull faces.”
Do you believe a scarf can bring you love?
Isla Fisher: “Absolutely.”
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Confessions of a Shopaholic hits theaters on February 13, 2009 and is rated PG for some mild language and thematic elements.