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Confessions of a Shopaholic - Isla Fisher interview

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Interview by Rob Carnevale

ISLA Fisher talks about the pressure of taking on such a beloved character as shopaholic Rebecca Bloomwood for Disney’s new comedy, Confessions of a Shopaholic and coping with stilettos.

She also reveals why she’s comfortable tapping into her inner idiot and why fiancé Sacha Baron Cohen deserves all of the credit for helping her into comedy in the first place…

Q. Did it feel like you were actually taking on a novel hero with Confessions of a Shopaholic? She obviously has a big fanbase already, so were you worried about the reaction from fans?
Isla Fisher: Extremely worried. When you’re in the lead of a movie suddenly you’re more responsible for the tone of the film and there’s obviously the added pressure of taking on such a beloved character. But I was so fortunate in that I was truly the biggest fan of Sophie Kinsella’s books. It’s going to sound pretentious, but I’d had the vibrations of that character since I’d read it in my imagination. When I met with Jerry [Bruckheimer] and discussed the role, I was so lucky he chose me, and then I just thought about it every day, in everything I did, whether I was driving my car, or cooking. Whatever I was doing, I was thinking about Becky Bloomwood and what she would be thinking.

Q. Is it true you requested five-inch stilettos for this part?
Isla Fisher: I did. I thought there’s something funny about a shopaholic impractically buying ridiculously high heels and tottering throughout the stores. I thought it would be amusing. But it was less amusing, of course, when I was actually doing it!

Q. You do a lot of physical comedy in the role, so how was that?
Isla Fisher: The great thing about doing physical comedy for film is that if it doesn’t work you’re not exposed. It ends up on the editing room floor, so it gives you a lot more room to experiment I guess. But I really enjoy doing it. I’m very comfortable tapping into my inner idiot.

Q. What was the most embarrassing thing to shoot?
Isla Fisher: It’s interesting but when I’m in character I don’t really feel any embarrassment. In real life I’m obviously a lot more shy, but once I’m on set and in costume and I’m hidden behind the person I’m playing I feel quite free to experiment. Except for Hugh [Dancy] probably, when I slapped him in the face with a fan.

Q. Playing journalists seems to be quite a popular career choice for actors. How much did you enjoy it and what kind of research did you do?
Isla Fisher: My girlfriend is a journalist, from high school, so I spoke to her. But I also researched the shopping end of the character by visiting some overspend/under earner groups who essentially are shopaholics and who, rather sadly, their lives have essentially become unmanageable because of their shopping addiction. But I don’t want to focus on that side of it because the film is supposed to be escapist fun.

Q. How was working with costume designer Patricia Fields on your wardrobe?
Isla Fisher: She’s incredibly imaginative. She’s not married to any designers and she’s open minded. Every single look tells a story. I really enjoyed working with her. I’m not a fashionista. I don’t have much experience in that world, but I felt I was kind of educated in the end and that even my own fashion style is now sort of more brave. I enjoy dressing a lot more.

Q. What are your shopping temptations?
Isla Fisher: Books… and more recently cook books. I think it’s wish fulfilment. I never have time to cook, so I just look through the books and imagine the dishes I would make if I wasn’t going out for a business dinner.

Q. What would your favourite dishes be?
Isla Fisher: Probably Italian… or French.

Q. You’re part of a very famous comedy couple [with fiance Sacha Baron Cohen], so how advantageous is that, in terms of advising or testing each other? Or do you keep work separate?
Isla Fisher: Well actually Sacha was the reason I got into comedy. I was actually auditioning for a lot of dramatic roles and having no success at all. I was losing confidence in my abilities when he recommended that I do comedy. He felt I was really funny, so when someone as funny as him recommends that I listened and actually auditioned for Wedding Crashers, which ended up being my big break.

Q. Which one of the two of you will be the first to do a dramatic role?
Isla Fisher: Oh gosh, I have no idea. I don’t know. He’s definitely a lot funnier than me.

Q. What are you doing next?
Isla Fisher: I’m working on an animated movie that Gore Verbinski is directing, called Rango with Johnny Depp. It has a really nice schedule.

  1. This is a fun romp. It’s meant to erase memories of the credit crunch, not depress. Lighten up!

    Sasha    Feb 19    #