Faris is happy to keep 'em laughing

Though she once longed for dramatic roles, the 'Yogi Bear' actress says she is now content to keep the laughs coming

December 16, 2010|By Chris Kaltenbach, The Baltimore Sun

Anna Faris is happy making people laugh.

Three years ago, the Baltimore native, who moved with her family to Seattle at age 5, was considering a biopic of adult film actress Linda Lovelace. With small parts in two acclaimed dramas under her belt ("Lost In Translation" and "Brokeback Mountain"), Faris was ready to give drama a try.

But since then, Lindsay Lohan got attached to the project Faris was considering (she's no longer connected, with Malin Ackerman now the leading contender for the role). And Faris, who plays a crusading documentary filmmaker in the big-screen adaptation of "Yogi Bear" opening in theaters today, says she no longer sees big-time dramatic turns in her future.

"There was a time where I was really hankering to do some super-dramatic role, but I feel a little bit out of that head space right now," the 34-year-old actress says from Los Angeles during a press tour for the new film. "I love doing comedy so much. I really hope that I get to do a dramatic piece somewhere down the line, but I hope that I can do comedy for as long as I can. I feel very content in this world."

Her fans seem pretty happy with having her there, as well. Since making her mark as the cheerfully clueless Cindy Campbell in the four-film "Scary Movie" franchise (where her exploits included getting attacked by a demonic cat, getting drunk while dressed as a Viking and some outrageously raunchy sex scenes that can't be described in a family newspaper), Faris has starred in a steady stream of comedies. She's played a stoned economics major in "Happy Face" and a put-upon waitress in "Waiting," as well as a surrogate mom on TV's "Friends." Throughout, Faris' ability to generate laughter by remaining utterly oblivious to the hilarity surrounding her has been a welcome constant.

Her biggest success, or at least her best notices, came for her role in 2008's "The House Bunny," as a Playboy playmate deemed too old who becomes den mother to a group of sorority girls. While "Scary Movie" made her a success, it was "House Bunny" that made her a star. It's also the film, however, that made her rethink the Lovelace project.

"I started to get a little less comfortable with the timing," she says. "With 'House Bunny,' I thought it was similar ideas, [though] very different stories. I think it's such a beautiful script, I really hope it gets made."

Happy to leave the adult film actress parts to her peers, Faris has continued to showcase her comedic chops. Although yet to duplicate the success of "House Bunny," she was a welcome diversion as a bipolar security guard's girlfriend in "Observe and Report." She also lent her voice to a pair of family comedies, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel."

And beginning today, she gets to play one of the foils to an animated talking bear named Yogi (voiced by Dan Aykroyd) and his young buddy, Boo-Boo (Justin Timberlake).

Working alongside such ursine pop-culture icons was a blast, says Faris, as well as a trip down memory lane.

"I used to watch the cartoons with my brother all the time. I remember loving it, but I was always siding with the ranger," she says, laughing. "I always found myself getting frustrated with Yogi. Now, I think I would be on Yogi's side, but as a 9-year-old little girl, I was a little bit of a rule follower."

"Yogi Bear" also offered her first chance to make a film in 3-D, which proved a mixed blessing. "The look of the movie is just amazing," Faris says, adding in mock horror, "It's terrifying to see myself like that. That is just mortifying."

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

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