The best thing about this movie, is the main thing in this movie, Isla Fisher. She’s a true comedian that moves and acts in ways that most woman would be too embarrassed to do by themselves, let alone on camera. Maybe some of her husband is washing off on her. This is Fisher’s first big starring role in a huge Jerry Bruckheimer film, and she does not disappoint. She’s vivacious, funny, and really carries you along for the ride.
Confessions of a Shopaholic, is a chick flick. There are no two ways around it. Straight men will not walk into this theater alone. That being said, it’s great for what it is and men if you are dragged to the theater, it’s okay to laugh, it’s funny!
We were lucky enough to sit down and have a chat with Fisher (who shocked me with her thick Australian accent) and talk about her lack of shopping knowledge, leading her first big film, and much more…
What was the most fun fashion discovery you made making this film?
IF: The most fun fashion discovery was to use a lot of color in my wardrobe. I’m fairly conservative normally and I just feel like Patricia Fields brought out the color in me. I now love to wear color.
Did you work with Patricia Field on choosing the outfits?
IF: I did, Patricia was extremely collaborative. I only had one request which is that I wanted Becky to wear extremely high heels so she could totter. I think there’s nothing funnier than a comedic character tottering and the impracticality of wearing something that clearly doesn’t fit her but she’s a shopaholic so she has to have it. And Patricia really is so creative and she clearly knows what she’s talking about. She did the costumes for Sex and the City, Devil Wears Prada so I kind of let go and let her guide me and I really enjoyed the process. At the beginning, I couldn’t believe we were spending 40 minutes discussing a belt. I was so frustrated but halfway through, I just felt like I began to understand that there really is sort of a science to it and there’s this incredible world and people try really hard.
On a completely different topic, where did the fan dance come from?
The fan dance! It’s always been a comic dream of mine to attempt to seduce a man doing a dance that’s actually repulsive. So the opportunity of doing that arose during this movie and I embraced it and I really enjoyed every minute of it.
Did you do any choreography or was it all done for you?
No, no, they’re all, I’m embarrassed to admit, my own moves.
Is Hugh Dancy a good dancer?
I think Hugh’s a wonderful dancer and what I really loved about Hugh is that he came to the movie and took it seriously as if he was in a dramatic movie, which was so important. As a result, he played the greatest straight man and it gave me, playing Becky Bloomwood, somewhere to go and to be more outrageous and the comedy was grounded in reality because of him. He brought so much integrity and heart to the film and yeah, he was a fabulous dancer actually. He remembered the moves, the traditional moves, far better than me and guided me through that scene.
During the sample sale mayhem you get pretty aggressive, was that something that something you were able to improv with as well.?
IF: We had to choreograph that. With all physical comedy, you have to know where you’re going to put cameras and ensure that no one’s trampled to death so we took it fairly seriously. There were a lot of heels on a very shiny surface. But we just had a lot of fun with it and we actually went a lot further. Ultimately, we shot, we took it further but we like what we kept in the movie which is just ending on her straddling the girl, rather than pulling down a rack and being removed by a security guard.
You’ve been in a number of ensemble casts, what’s it like moving to lead of such a huge film?
IF: Yeah, obviously I’m very surprised, eternally grateful to Jerry Bruckheimer and completely bewildered as to how I was lucky enough to be chosen to head my own movie. I definitely felt far more responsible for the tone of the movie as a lead than you do as a supporting cast member where you can sort of come in and muck about. On top of that, playing a beloved character from a book that’s extraordinarily successful and knowing that she was now going to be American and wanting to just capture the essence of her as properly as I could added more pressure, but ultimately, when you have an incredible producer like Jerry Bruckheimer behind you and a really amazing cast, it was just an amazing, rewarding creative experience for me.
How was it working with working with Krysten Ritter for the first time?
IF: I remember on day one, I looked over at Krysten’s page and she’d written all these notes, like alternative lines and I’m the only actor that does that and I thought straight away that she was a soul sister, because she was already trying to improvise funny comedic stuff.
How did you develop your talent for physical comedy?
IF: Well, actually, I trained at a theater school called Jacques Lecoq in Paris where Simon McBurney who’s a very famous French clown, well he’s English actually, but where a lot of the Theatre’ Complicite troupe train. We focus on comedy dell’arte and bouffant and mime. So technically, I definitely learned the skill set but just personally, I’ve always been someone who loves to tap into their inner idiot. I’ve always been the clown of my family and I’ve always just enjoyed mucking about and I’m just fortunate that I get paid to do that now.
With the facial reactions, do you plan those, practice, or what is your process?
No, no, I just try to keep really loose and stay in the moment and not have any sort of hope for what I’m going to do. I just, I’m not a method actress but I prepare at home and then I let, I just try not to be self-conscious. I think a lot of people ask how come I got the role or I got into comedy and I just think it’s because I’m willing and a lot of actors and actresses aren’t willing to pull faces.
You’re very reminiscent of Lucille Ball.
IF: Oh, thank you. That’s a huge compliment.
Do you plan on sticking to comedies or exploring drama?
IF: You know, I have to say I love comedy. I love, just love the freedom that comedy brings but I’m open to working with any filmmakers. It’s all about the story and the character for me rather than the genre.
Were you a fan of the Shopaholic books?
I was a huge fan of the books. I read them all long before I heard about the project and when I heard about the project and that Jerry Bruckheimer was producing, obviously who I was a huge fan of, I didn’t think in my wildest dreams that I would even get a meeting, let alone get the role. I literally still cannot believe I got the role. It’s very exciting for me.
Did you do any research for Shopaholics Anonymous?
I did actually. I went to Spenders Anonymous groups and Underearners and Overspenders groups and it was fascinating. There are all different styles and types of shopping. There’s trophy shopping, image shopping, collecting, bulimic shopping. As funny as it sounds, it’s obviously also pretty sad too, but I definitely learned a lot and just that it affects men as often as women. It was a fascinating experience.
Which item of clothing can you not pass by?
IF: Oh, there’s nothing really material that I can’t pass by. Maybe underwear. Just out of necessity, just in general, underwear. It’s not such a good look, not having underwear.
Have you ever had the experience of getting a bill you didn’t expect?
IF: Actually, recently I did, apparently someone had been buying petrol in Texas on my credit card and I wasn’t there. So I did have that experience but not through any fault of my own.
Did you get to keep any of the cloths?
IF: No, I didn’t get to keep it. Maybe you should ask Jerry about that.
Do you agree with the film that shopping is better than men?
No. No. I shop rarely and poorly. I definitely appreciate men more than stores.
Who are your favorite fashion designers?
IF: Oh wow. A part of this business obviously is the pageantry of red carpet and you get dressed by incredible designers, so I’d have to say I love Stella McCartney. I love Vivian Westwood. I love Zac Pozen. I tend to go for more kind of classic. I love Prada. I feel very blessed to wear any of those dresses.
If you shop “rarely and poorly” as you put it, how do you fill your closet?
You know, I do shop when I need to and I’m fortunate in that I’ve sort of maintained my same size, except obviously when I was pregnant. So I just tend to wear stuff that I have around and when I shop I just get in and out. I have a mission and I fulfill it.
Anything in your closet you wonder why you ever bought it?
IF: Oh gosh, absolutely. I try to remove those items and give them to friends but yeah, several times I’ve been suckered into a fashion that wasn’t very flattering on a small frame.
Although this movie is about shopping, there’s also a very strong warning in it about the dangers of spending which are extremely relevant in today’s finical crisis. How do you think this movie effects the average person current spending situation?
IF: Well, obviously this movie was conceived during a different economic period and the lessons that Rebecca Bloomwood learns in the movie, we have all been learning recently. So it feels very topical. I’m really proud of the responsible way that we handle it at the end of the movie, that issue.
Confession of a Shopaholic is in theaters this Friday February 13th.