Lake Bell isn’t exactly a household name, but chances are that you’ve seen her in something over the years. She’s a regular on Adult Swim’s Children Hospital and has appeared on several semi-popular television shows and movies before scoring that role. You might remember her as Cameron Diaz’s outspoken best friend in What Happens in Vegas, or as Eva Longoria’s replacement in Over Her Dead Body.
Bell brought her extraordinary talent to the big screen recently in the quirky comedy, In A World… This is Bell’s first attempt at writing and directing a feature, and I think audiences will be pleasantly surprised by the end result – her castmates definitely seemed to be.
Bell stars opposite comedian Demetri Martin, and both were on hand for the film’s press day in Los Angeles, where I was lucky enough to sit down with the stars for a roundtable interview. Keep reading to hear what this charming on-screen couple had to say about their experiences with the film and everything that led to this off-beat comedy coming to life.
There’s a lot of ways that people fall into this career, often out of necessity. How did you get interested in voice-over acting?
Lake Bell: In full disclosure, I always knew I wanted to be an actor and I set forth on that goal path, and then heard about the concept of voice-over being an occupation and was involved in it because I had always done voices as a kid. I collected accents, you know I knew I had a good ear cause I could mimic people, my parent’s friends, would come over for dinner and they’d be from out of town or maybe another country and have an accent and immediately I would sorta mimic them, which was a little rude [laughs], but after that it just became a hobby. And so then, I liked the idea of blind voice was the ultimate actor’s tool and medium, because really you could not be judged by what you look like. You could finally be any characterization. You could be any sex, you could be any social level, any nationality, and I found that always really liberating and exciting.
Fun fact in the movie – I do a voice-over character as Gustav Warner, played by Ken Marino’s agent that he’s always talking to who is a big fat old Jewish man. See, I would never get cast as that normally.
How do you make a movie about a subject so unseen before in films and still make it about a father-daughter relationship at the same time?
Lake Bell: Well, obviously, it was an initial challenge to take something usually not seen and make it compelling. I remember seeing The King’s Speech and being really inspired by such a beautiful movie that was about speech, and about speech patterns really, and obviously a myriad of other deep thematics, and being inspired that that could be visually stimulating – but obviously my movie’s very different from that. I loved that movie though. I was, needless to say, encouraged that something so audible could be then be visual.
One of the things I got out of this film was the relationships that you wrote. Where did that come from? They’re wonderful.
Lake Bell: I think that as a writer, and obviously Demetri is an extremely talented writer himself as well, I think that you know, and you’re all writers, so I think you write what you know, and obviously that is the only thing you can pull from. I never want to throw my dad under the bus, but about my complicated relationship with him, but I think, growing up you’re always investigating your parents as real people and that they once were your age and are fallible. I’m interested in the human condition in general. I think that’s why I’m an actor. I want to tell stories anyway, and that’s why I like to watch movies and be an audience member as well. Those relationships are pulled directly from ones I know and understand, and feelings that are prominent memories for me.
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