– February/March 2011

Rango – Isla Fisher interview

ISLA Fisher talks about finding the voice of her character in animated movie Rango and why getting to actually perform with her co-stars was such a huge help to the process.

She also talks about her forthcoming self-penned projects and why she feels drawn to comedy.

Q. Where did you look to get the voice for this?
Isla Fisher: Actually, Gore had already had the idea of the voice when I joined. He wanted her to sound like Holly Hunter and a little bit like Clint Eastwood, so I just watched Raising Arizona a bunch of times and just kept practising until the pitch was nice and low and, of course, I watched a bunch of old Westerns. I didn’t really know the genre… I wasn’t really familiar with it growing up in Australia, so it was really exciting for me to see all those amazing old movies.

Q. You made this in a different way to a lot of animated movies in that you were there, actually acting it out, as opposed to being in a sound booth by yourself. How was that for you?
Isla Fisher: Absolutely, comedy is timing and you can’t replicate the timing you get from working with another performer, the chemistry, the humanity that you have in your own voice when you’re looking at a real person rather than a microphone. It’s irreplaceable, that kind of energy. So, it was hugely beneficial. I believe all the performances benefit from that, to be reacting opposite a real person. We were also so lucky on this movie because we shot it chronologically. We shot it all in 21 days, so we came in and there was almost no homework to be done as an actor because your emotional arc was there already. Doing it in order, you didn’t have to remember what you were doing in the scene before, we were experiencing it.

Q. Being a mum, does that influence the kind of films you make now?
Isla Fisher: Yeah, totally, being a mum I don’t want to be away from the kids so I only work if I really love the script or the character or the director.

Q. Are you critical of yourself when you see yourself on-screen? So, is this process a little easier and better for you?
Isla Fisher: Yeah, to see yourself as a lizard is a very surreal experience. It was so nice because I was able to enjoy my performance. Normally, when you watch yourself on camera, or at least when you’re magnified to that degree, you question why all the features on your face have been clustered together. There are so many things you don’t like about yourself [laughs].

Q. You said you channelled Holly Hunter for this film, but who did you look to for Burke & Hare?
Isla Fisher: For Burke And Hare, she was completely fictional because there wasn’t much to go on from that period. I think Jenny was completely invented actually. My father has a very thick Scottish accent so I just did my dad’s accent. Some people felt it wasn’t… you know. But I just copied my dad completely.

Q. Can you tell us the progress of the script you’re currently working on? And what made you decide to start writing it?
Isla Fisher: You mean Groupies? After Wedding Crashers I was surprised about the lack of comedic material there is for comedic actresses and so I had to actually start working on and getting stuff out there for myself. Groupies is, I think, pretty close to being ready and there’s a movie called Life Coach I’m working on. Hopefully, one of them will go soon. It’s more frustrating being in development than it is to just be cast in something, obviously, because a lot of it is out of your control.

Q. What draws you towards comedy?
Isla Fisher: I just like tapping into my inner idiot. I think it’s fun. I’ve never aspired to have an Oscar. I love dramatic movies, I appreciate them, I love dramatic actors and actresses but I really love comedy. I studied at clown school in Paris, I wanted to be a clown, I always thought I’d be doing comedy d l’arte and mime, I never thought I’d be in movies but I love being in movies. I feel so blessed and grateful for every second. But I’m just a comedy fan.