Isla Fisher, ‘Bachelorette’ Actress, Really Enjoys Playing A Party Girl
The first time you saw Isla Fisher may have been in “Wedding Crashers,” in which she stole the show as the sister of the bride. In the “Bachelorette” movie, which opens on Friday, she plays another not-so-innocent bridesmaid, but this time her antics are even more extreme and the humor is much darker. Her character, Katie, reunites with three friends, fellow members of the high school clique the B-Faces, for a wedding, and right from the start, she’s ready to party. When Katie and Regan (Kirsten Dunst) get high on cocaine and decide to try on the bride’s dress together, it rips, and they’re forced to race around New York City trying to get it fixed before the wedding the next morning. Fisher spoke with the Huffington Post about grown women who are stuck in a high school mind-set, the joys of working with a female-driven cast and what it was like to dig through trash outside a strip club at 4 a.m.
What attracted you to the character of Katie?
From a comedic stance, she’s just a classic fish out of a water, overconfident dumb-dumb who, when you’re improvising within the constraints of a character like that, anything you say is acceptable. So it’s very freeing. And then story-wise, it just felt like there’s a lot of pathos to her. She’s very unhappy underneath her bubbly veneer. So there was drama as well as comedy, which is my favorite combination.
There’s a line where she asks, “Do you think I’m stupid?” Do you think she’s just gotten used to playing the role of the ditzy girl and doesn’t allow herself to show her smarter side?
No, I think Katie’s actually stupid. I think she’s not bothered to get educated. She feels like the world owes her something. She’s part of that Peter Pan generation of people who are just rich, white, entitled, still stuck in high school mentality. And I think when she says that, it’s so poignant and tragic. I actually improvised that line. Because it just sums up how sad she really is. I’m sure if she’d applied herself she could be smart, but she’s just let herself go with drugs and alcohol.
She seems to also equate people liking her with people finding her attractive and wanting to sleep with her. Do you think that ever changes for someone like her?
I think it probably would change for her eventually because as she ages less people will want to sleep with her. I think it’s a very interesting character, and that’s what’s great about Leslye Headland’s writing — all the characters are really multilayered, and they all have their own individual character arcs. And there’s no redemption at the end really. You know the girls are just gonna go on ahead carrying on their lives in this meaningless way and not feeling any sense of social responsibility. They’re just lost.
What was it like working with such a female-driven cast and a female director?
It was just amazing. Leslye is a very big laugher, and that’s kind of all you want in comedy. She would giggle at the end of every take or every improv line or every one of her lines, however you delivered it. And that support from behind the camera is like a little engine behind you. You just feel like, “Oh, I can do this! I can do this!” And I think, too, sometimes men can be threatened if you’re funny in a scene, ‘cause they feel competitive, whereas what’s great about the dynamic between the three of us is we’re all really supportive of each other, and because of the different natures of our characters, there was never any need to outdo.
I think we got incredibly lucky with Rebel [Wilson] because that character, without her being so sympathetic, we wouldn’t really have cared about the dress, we wouldn’t have cared about the story. Then Kirsten was a complete blessing. She could have been shrieky, but instead, she plays it for real. And Lizzy [Caplan] is equal parts tough and vulnerable, which is really a wonderful and beguiling combination.
Was there a scene that was especially fun to do?
The scene that stands out the most is us digging through trash bags in New York. I just remember thinking, “Oh my gosh, how it is that I’m on all fours with my head in a black plastic bag right now at 4 a.m. outside of Scores nightclub?”
Is it fun to play the party girl?
Oh, gosh, yes! Particularly if you knew the contrast between myself and Katie in my everyday life. I’m usually Gymboree mom, super-organized and with the kids, and there I was pretending to be high on cocaine and alcohol at 4 a.m. on a New York street saying the stupidest thing that I could possibly think of.
You got married a few years ago. Did you have a bachelorette party?
I did, but I was pregnant at the time, so it was a very genteel affair.