Kristen Bell on liking 'very dark things' and why you should 'devour' The Woman in the House
The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window (TV series)
Kristen Bell is fascinated with the macabre, and she has a theory about why that is.
"I've meditated somewhat on why I like very dark things, and I think it might be because my brain is actually struggling to figure out how something that bad could happen," Bell, who explains that she struggles to find an episode of Dateline she hasn't seen, tells EW. "It's like when you're trying to fit a puzzle together and you're just confused, so you keep staring at it."
It should come as no surprise, then, that the true-crime aficionado was drawn to Netflix's darkly comedic thriller satire, The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window, in which she stars and serves as executive producer. She hopes that fellow lovers of all things dark and mysterious are drawn to the show.
"I think that people will devour this show, because it's sort of made to be binged, every single scene, practically, is a cliffhanger," she explains, adding, "and it builds suspense, like a normal mystery show could, but in increasing absurdity, which hopefully will make you laugh."
As its (hilariously long) name would suggest, Bell plays Anna, a heartbroken woman who drinks too much wine and likes to watch her neighbors through her window. Things go from bad to worse for Anna when a hot widower, Neil (Tom Riley), and his daughter (Samsara Yett) move in across the street and Anna believes she watches a murder unfold in their house one night. Mindhunter's Cameron Britton, Michael Ealy, Mary Holland, Shelley Hennig, Christina Anthony, and Benjamin Levy Aguilar also costar opposite Bell.
As executive producer, Bell had a special say in bringing Anna to life on screen, and one detail in particular was important to her to get right.
"The hairstyle was really important to me, and I know that that seems very surface but I really wanted to create this Alfred Hitchcock heroine in a sort of Rear Window, Vertigo way, because she was looking through the front window so often, and she was peering through the blinds. I really wanted the look of her face with these bangs to be the same as the curtain she's looking out of, where you're just noticing her eyes," she says.
To achieve this, Bell says she wore a bang piece that she likened to "a toupée," and a lot of emphasis was given to her eyelashes, which needed to be extra-long to "look a bit like a deer in headlights." Says Bell, "That just creates a really interesting vibe for a lead character."
It wouldn't be a satire without poking fun at some genre tropes — and if there's anything the thriller genre loves, it's a good tortured female lead character. For Anna, that meant a devastating backstory (the likes of which won't be revealed here to avoid spoiling the fun) and a debilitating phobia — in this case, ombrophobia, or a fear of the rain.
To fully immerse the viewer in her phobia, naturally, Bell was placed in the rain... a lot. "Let me tell you something, I could do without it. The amount of rain that I swam through essentially, I could handle not standing in the rain for a bit," she says with a laugh. Although, it was still worth it in the end. "It was perfect. It creates a visual mood, and every time you need to stop her, she's outside and then it starts to rain, and it gets moody and, you know, she keels over," she says.
Ultimately, all of this amounts to a show that "is unlike anything you've ever seen before," Bell teases. "It is darkly comedic, and utterly satisfying," she says, adding, "I think if you've ever watched a psychological thriller, particularly starring a woman who might have seen a criminal act, and you've ever thought to yourself, 'Yeah, right,' this is the show for you. Because that's exactly what we're saying on the inside."
All eight half-hour episodes of The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window are now streaming on Netflix.
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Kristen Bell stars in Netflix's spoof thriller about a hard-drinking suburbanite who thinks she witnessed a murder.