The Sydney Morning Herald (Aus) – February 10th 2008

Isla Fisher has the last laugh

Her beau may be Hollywood’s comic darling, but Isla Fisher may be having the last laugh, writes Sal Morgan.

“Motherhood is my favourite topic and I never shut up about it in my personal life,” says Isla Fisher. But just as I expect her to launch into an extended rhapsody about her four-month-old daughter Olive, she abruptly changes tack.

“But I really don’t want to talk about it. Not publicly. I just think my daughter deserves to be protected,” she says politely but firmly.

“There is just so much focus on celebrity now and I just really don’t want her to be a part of it. Sorry.”

Neither is the petite star about to go into detail about all the sweating and dieting that went into getting her hot bod back.

“Do I work out? Gosh no. I’m not a big fan of that.” she says. “So how do you look like this? Um. I don’t like to say it but I am fortunate in that I just have good genes. My mum is small and so am I.”

In today’s celebrity-obsessed society it’s rare to find a movie star mum who does not want to tell you all the details of how they lost their body weight, how their life has changed, how it suddenly isn’t “all about me any more”.

Perhaps it’s Fisher’s sharp sense of humour that has kept her from too much navel-gazing, despite her burgeoning Hollywood career.

Definitely, Maybe is one of three films that Fisher is starring in this year.

The romantic comedy, which comes out on Valentine’s Day, was described by one critic as “the best rom-com since Annie Hall” and “the thinking woman’s chick flick”.

The 31-year-old star has also put her voice to the animated film Horton Hears A Who!, starring Jim Carrey, and has just started shooting Confessions Of A Shopaholic in New York.

Usually, Fisher and her fiance, Sacha Baron Cohen, split their time between Los Angeles and London, where she’s been researching for the role by “reading Vogue” in between feeding, burping and nappy changing.

Born to Scottish parents – a banker father and romance-novelist mother – in Oman, Fisher was raised in Perth and first found fame on Home And Away.

At 21, she moved to the UK, but met her funny fiance back in Australia, and then went to LA “on the back of what was deemed a big studio movie”.

“I know that a lot of Australians come to the States with those ambitions of really wanting to act, but weirdly enough, I only came out here for the premiere of Scooby Doo, which was when I was offered representation and got a job almost straight away.”

It was at this time that Fisher discovered her funny bone with the help of her future husband. “It had never crossed my mind to do comedy. It’s normally the guys that get to be wacky,” she explains. “And the girls just roll their eyes.”

The idea was “such a compliment coming from him though. I mean obviously he’s biased but he just said, ‘You’re funny, just be yourself.’ ”

Funny and wacky she was, as the bipolar nymphomaniac bridesmaid Gloria in the 2005 blockbuster comedy Wedding Crashers.

The American media embraced her and so did the public; the film raked in more than $300 million and won her an MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance.

“Isla’s funny as hell!”, said Vince Vaughn at the time. “She’s fast. She’s sharp and she’s whip smart.”

Fisher upped her price to $1 million, the phone didn’t stop ringing and the romantic comedies kept coming.

“I got offered so many romantic comedies after Wedding Crashers but I found most of them to be pretty predictable and the characters one-dimensional,” she explains.

“But that’s what I liked about it [Definitely, Maybe]. It’s different in so many ways.”

Fisher plays the part of April in Definitely, Maybe, which also stars Rachel Weisz. The film centres on a Manhattan dad (Ryan Reynolds) who is in his mid-30s and going through a divorce.

He takes a look back at his past relationships and the women that have affected his life. April is his longtime best friend and confidante.

Fisher says she was initially scared of signing on for the part because “she is just so emotional”.

“She’s complicated but she’s a real woman. She’s a free spirit but also afraid of her own heart and I could easily relate to that – especially when I was in my early 20s.”

Fisher says she’s now much more confident and welcomes the challenge of her leading role in Confessions Of A Shopaholic, based on the best-selling novel by Sophie Kinsella. She plays a compulsive shopper up to her neck in debt who becomes a financial advice columnist.

The film is expected to be released at the end of the year.

“It’s so much fun,” she says. “I basically get to play a girl that loves to shop so, yeah, it’s not exactly hard work.”

Fisher’s voice also stars in an animated film about an elephant, Horton Hears A Who!, based on the 1954 book by Dr Suess, and due out in March.

She confesses she thought the job would be “a piece of cake”, but that it turned out to be “much harder than I would have ever imagined”.

“I initially thought I’d just turn up in my pyjamas and chat away to myself like a crazy woman. But no. The script isn’t finished when you do these movies so you end up writing a lot of it yourself or just improvising, which means you have to think slightly more than you hoped you would.

“But seriously, if that’s the hardest thing I’ve got to do then I really am one of the luckiest girls in the world.

“I’ve gone from being a jobless actor aspiring to audition to being offered work. I feel pretty blessed.”

Definitely, Maybe is released on February 14.