Isla Fisher: Q&A
The petite redhead talks about ''Shopaholic,'' comedy, and nudity
”Growing up, I realized I was never going to be a beautiful, moody blonde who stands at a bar surrounded by men because she’s so cool,” says Isla Fisher. ”That’s why I started being funny. To get some attention.” Now, thanks to her star turn in the splashy Confessions of a Shopaholic, the 33-year-old Australian is getting a lot of attention as journalist Rebecca Bloomwood, whose obsession with buying clothes destroys her life. EW had breakfast with the quick-witted redhead. She wasn’t at all moody, but she is beautiful and very cool.
How did you land the role in Shopaholic?
Jerry Bruckheimer wanted to meet with me. I was six months pregnant [with Olive, Fisher and fiancé Sacha Baron Cohen’s first child] and had already gained about 50 pounds. I waddled into the meeting and I pitched a lot of jokes which ended up being in the movie. Normally, you pitch and your ideas stay in the movie but somebody else gets the job. But Jerry picked me.
Shopaholic is PG, but your big break was playing Vince Vaughn’s racy love interest in Wedding Crashers. Did you choose who stood in for your various body parts?
No. I had a hand double for the under-the-table scene. I had a breast double for the boob-in-the-face and I had a butt double. That may have been the same person.
Did you say at the start, ”You’re going to have to get me body doubles for this”?
My argument was, if you see a character’s breast, she’s no longer funny. You see her as someone sexual rather than as someone funny. I lost that argument with the producers. In fact, they wanted her to be naked, I think, through five scenes. I just stopped talking to them about my performance. I amped up the reality of my character even more. I thought, to combat the fact that you’re going to see her boobs, I have to make her even more extreme for us to still get a laugh.
What kind of scripts did you get following that film?
A lot of stuff I didn’t do. A lot of not-funny ”girlfriend” roles. That was frustrating. What’s great about today is that we have He’s Just Not That Into You, Sex and the City, Bride Wars, House Bunny, Baby Mama, Shopaholic. It feels like a different time.
There’s been debate about the movies you just mentioned. They have juicy roles, but their message seems to be that all women want is a big wedding and a Gucci handbag.
That’s a complicated topic. Am I disappointed occasionally by the lack of irony in some movies? Yes. I do consider myself to be a feminist. And I do believe that Rebecca Bloomwood is a complete woman. She doesn’t spend the entire movie dreaming about getting a guy.
Rebecca’s nemesis in Shopaholic is a leggy blond glamazon. Does that echo your Hollywood experience as a petite redhead?
Yes. I’ve auditioned so many times and been told I’m ”not sporty enough” or I’m ”not sexy.”
Really? I don’t want to be creepy, but you’re very sexy.
No, be creepy.
What does ”not sporty enough” mean?
Well, there’s all these movies like Underworld where you have to beat people up.
Your Shopaholic character pads her résumé.
As opposed to her bra, which I’ve been doing my entire career.
That’s not true.
What was your first job?
Collecting poo from my pony and selling it by the side of the road for two dollars a bag.
I meant your first acting job.
A lotteries commercial when I was 12. When you watch it I’m so small, I’m just a blur. But I was so excited.
What makes you laugh?
I think [Australian series] Summer Heights High is amazing. I love Monty Python, Black Adder, Fawlty Towers. I’m a huge fan of British comedy.
After Sacha and Ken Davitian wrestled naked for Borat, did you think, ”Oh, he had better take a shower before he comes home”?
Yeah, that was bad. But I remember when Sacha pitched that scene to me, I couldn’t stop laughing. When you hear a joke that’s that good, you think it’s never going to be better than it was in your imagination. It far surpassed anything I’d ever imagined.
Have you seen Bruno?
Yes. It goes even further.