BBC Newsbeat – February 17th 2009

Isla Fisher on shopping and fashion

Isla Fisher’s come a long way since Summer Bay and has now bagged herself the lead role in Confessions of a Shopaholic. Based on novels by Sophie Kinsella, the film charts the life of Rebecca Bloomwood who takes a job as a financial journalist to try to settle her shopping tab. Newsbeat caught up with the actress and British co-star Hugh Dancy, to find out about life on set, appearing on billboards and dealing with fashion.

So Isla, what’s it like to play the lead, having never played one before, is it a big pressure?

It is. You’re more responsible for the tone of the movie than when you’re just in a supporting role. Obviously the character from the books was so beloved that I did feel a little pressure not to do a disservice to the fans of the book. I was just really lucky, I had Sophie Kinsella on set every day so I was able to check in with her.

I hadn’t really thought through when I accepted the role that I had my head on a billboard so that’s taken a little getting used to. It’s just been a lot of fun. I can’t complain – I love my job!

How much can you identity with your character?

I do identify with her in a lot of ways. I’m not a shopaholic obviously, and I don’t really enjoy shopping – it seems like a total drag. But I’d like to think that I’m optimistic like her and I definitely think when I was younger I was quite imaginative with my excuses like she is. I have a great relationship with my friends and family like she does. I think she’s a great character to play.

Her outfits are incredible and I guess that’s a lot of credit to Patricia Field, did you have any input?

I did, only in the sense that I wanted to feel comfortable and I had some ideas about not making her too wacky just because I thought she wouldn’t be as relatable.

I just trusted Patricia Field. She’s a woman who’s created iconic images for Sex and the City, for The Devil Wears Prada, and I’m definitely not a fashionista – I’m completely honest about that, so I wasn’t about to come in and tell her how to do her job.

Was it fun dressing up?

It was a lot of fun and it’s such a departure from what I wear in my everyday life.

There’s something about showing up on set and being bejewelled and pulled into all these costumes…and in these heels. You just walk differently and you feel glamorous. It’s so different from anything I’d experienced in character.

Hugh, do you think this is the sort of film guys would see – if forced to by their girlfriends?

I would go even further than that, I would say that I’ve watched it with my mates that came to see it in New York and they genuinely like it.

It’s a romantic comedy – but with the emphasis on comedy. Isla is genuinely a really funny person, but not just Isla, John Goodman and Joan Cusack, the list goes on, so there are some really talented comedians.

Did you have any insight into women who are shopaholics?

That’s what amazed me is the number of girls in particular who identify themselves with Becky.

Although in the movie of course it goes to extremes, and she’s in a Shopaholics meeting, but what people see in it is something that’s much more common, more universal than that.

What was Isla like to work with?

People underestimate the amount of work that goes into a movie, and particularly being the lead in a movie like this.

You’re there every day of the week, long hours, but just constantly bringing new ideas – I think that’s her strength – throwing new things into the mix, new jokes. And running the risk that they don’t all work, and then you pick yourself up and start again. So, I was very, very impressed by her.

Fashion, was it just a completely different world to you or did you love that aspect?

Now you talk about it I feel like the least qualified person to talk about this movie ever!

In fact I’m playing a guy who’s opposed to fashion, hates the idea of it, hates the idea of shopping. So I didn’t have to get into that too much. On the other hand, I wore some nice suits. I can’t complain.