Interview : Isla Fisher
Isla Fisher may be known to Australian TV viewers as star of the popular soap “Home and Away”. However, the now London-based and petite Aussie is slowly beginning to make a name for herself in Hollywood, thanks to her scene-stealing turn opposite Vince Vaughan in the irreverent romantic comedy “Wedding Crashers”. But when it comes to her own upcoming wedding to British comic Sacha Baron Cohen [aka Ali G], the bubbly 29-year old remains tight-lipped.
“If you’re after details, you’re going to be disappointed”, says Fisher, laughingly. Though, since we are, after all, discussing a comedy, she does concede that Cohen at least makes her laugh. “He definitely makes me laugh more than anyone, which is hence why I’m marrying him,” she says. She does seem cynical when asked if she remains a romantic at heart. “Am I a romantic at heart? Who knows.” And the actress adds that she has no idea when she and Cohen will actually wed, and has a vague idea of what she wants – or doesn’t want –from her own wedding. “I don’t know and I haven’t planned it yet. I’m engaged but I DO know when I was nine I wanted to wear fairy wings,” she adds, laughingly. “But I’ve let that go now because everybody wears fairy wings to raves and does Ecstasy, so it’s just wrong… I’m gonna not wear fairy wings, but that’s all I know.”
Born in 1976 to Scottish parents in the Arabian country of Oman, her family moved to Australia in the early 1980s. From a young age Isla showed an interest in both acting and writing. “I basically had ears this size when I was two and I didn’t grow into them, so I tended to make people laugh and muck around, which was always fun,” Fisher recalls. At nine years old she was appearing in Australian TV commercials and landed some small parts in the Australian TV series “Bay Cove” (1993) (aka “Bay City”). This led to a more substantial role in the series “Paradise Beach” (1993) and when that show ended she ended up as a series regular in the long-running Australian soap opera “Home and Away” (1988). While working on that show she indulged in another of her passions, writing, and published two best-selling novels, “Seduced By Fame” and “Bewitched”. In 1997 she was picked by the readers of FHM magazine as #35 on the list of the “100 Sexiest Women in the World”, and in 2003 was placed 26th.
Though Wedding Crashers does not mark her foray into Hollywood, it may be the film that establishes the young actress, as a sexy and diverse comedienne, but it wasn’t a film that was simply handed to her. “I went in, auditioned, did three scenes, then went back again and did the same three scenes.” In the romantic comedy, Fisher co-stars as Gloria, the seemingly sexually aggressive and precocious younger sister of a politician’s daughter, who falls for Vince Vaughan’s irresponsible wedding crasher. She smiles when asked if playing a sexually aggressive character came easy to her. “Whilst playing Gloria definitely,” she says. “It was an interesting character to play, because she was so crazy and lacking in any kind of social etiquette. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks.” One key scene, has Fisher’s Gloria doing all sorts of things to a tied up Vince Vaughan, but she was determined to use a body double for much of it. “I negotiated that from the beginning, trying to analyse why. I find pornographic violence, just gratuitous and unnecessary than nudity, because there’s nothing more peaceful and beautiful. After all, we’re all born naked, and I totally kind of hate the puritanical approach to the whole nudity thing, but then when it comes to me,” she trails off, before bursting into laughter. “I’m like double standards, no way am I doing anything like THAT, and it wasn’t because of my relationship or because of my parents. It was a personal choice that I just made.”
Fisher calls London home and is emphatic about her reluctance to move permanently to LA. Yet, as the newest Australian on the rise, the actress says that she has been welcomed in the City of Angels by what she laughingly scoop you in.” She adds that her greatest mentor amongst Hollywood’s Aussie elite, is Naomi Watts, with whom she worked on I Love Huckabees. “She has given me great advice, is very sweet and nice. You know, you get rejected a million times and she’ll always say, you just got to get one part, so she’s great.” As to why it is that Australians have emerged as that rare outside cultural group succeeding in Hollywood, Fisher has no answer to that. “I wish I knew. I think it’s just that we’re free spirited and we travel a lot.”
Fisher will next be seen in the low-budget Indie film, London, which has nothing to do with the city she calls home. “The film is set at a party which my character is hosting, all these people come and she’s very outraged by the antics that go on: just the opposite of Gloria in Wedding Crashers.” And she gets to play an Australian. “I acted in my own accent for the first time in a long time, which was quite fun.”
While she plans on writing and future scripts, Fisher insists that her future plans do NOT include working opposite her fiancé. “It wasn’t that effective for Nicole and Tom Cruise on Eyes Wide Shut, was it?”
WEDDING CRASHERS OPENS ON JULY 15.