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"Zack and Miri Make a Porno" - Our Interview with Elizabeth Banks

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10 Questions with 'Zack and Miri' star Elizabeth Banks

Being a pistol allows character actress Elizabeth Banks to sit in a noisy Toronto hotel suite and not let the chaos upset her. As readily explained by the 34-year-old blonde, she does not require pampering. 

In fact, her loud laughter and strong presence soon dominate the room.


Best known for her supporting roles in the "Spider-Man" movies and as Steve Carell's crazy date in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," Banks enjoys co-lead status in director Kevin Smith's latest comedy "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" as well as Oliver Stone's President George W. Bush drama "W."


In the film, pals and housemates Zack (Rogen) and Miri (Banks) face being kicked out of their Pittsburgh house due to unpaid bills. A YouTube video of Miri caught wearing granny underwear provides the answer to their financial problems. They'll make low-budget porn with their friends. Of course, their friendship gets in the way.


Every bit as attractive and sassy as Miri, Banks looks to join the ranks of comic leading ladies with "Zack and Miri."

But ask your questions wisely. You don't want to be the recipient of her sarcasm.


Q: 'Zack and Miri' has to fight the MPAA for its "R" rating. The film had to change its poster and a Utah theater chains is refusing to show it. Why the controversy?


Banks: "America is defined as obsessed with violence and afraid of sex and the controversies surrounding this movie proves it. We play against "Saw V," which had no trouble getting an "R" rating but we did."


Q: Your funniest scene in the movie involves Miri and Zack returning to their high school reunion in order to get revenge on old classmates. Do you want to go to your high school reunion?


Banks: "Well, I want revenge on everybody but I have no plans to go to my high school reunion. I'm not a very nostalgic person. I'm always looking at what's next. I think my glory days are ahead of me."


Q: What's special about Kevin Smith?


Banks: "I think Kevin has a very distinct American voice. He has an ear for dialogue. He writes the way people talk. He writes the way people that I know talk."


Q: Why do you think your co-star Seth Rogen has caught fire?


Banks: "He's really honest. He tells you he wanted to be funny because he thought it would get him laid and I think that's something a lot of guys really to seeing. When you see him in movies, you see him relate to other men. You mostly see him with his buddies smoking week and talking about Star Wars and how to get laid. Men relate to that and then he also happens to get laid with really hot chicks. So he gives guys a lot of hope."


Q: The key joke of the film is Zack and Miri filming their first porn scene. Do you remember the first time you watched a porno?


Banks: "Like most little kids, I was obsessed with dirty pictures. My first porno experience was when my girlfriend was babysitting for a family. She called me and said she found some videos hidden behind the TV and for me to come over. We watched them and then carefully re- wound them to the beginning and put them back behind the TV. I was 14 or something. But you, girls are not that obessed with the video stuff."


Q: You refer to 'Zack and Miri" as a naturalistic comedy instead of Steve Martin slapstick. Are you a naturalistic performer?


Banks: "I approach comedy the same way I approach drama, which is you never play for laughs. You play it as straight as possible. If something funny happens, great. If not, that's ok. They'll just edit around it."


Q: You play First Lady Laura Bush in "W." Do you consider "W." a comedy? It certainly has its share of funny moments.


Banks: "It's a Shakespearean story. It's about a father and son who was no the chosen one. It has all these great Greek undertones about this guy who got elected to the most important office in the world - twice. He was the most unlikely president and he was sinner who was redeemed and born again. All of that warrants a movie and makes for an interesting movie and I think the most controversial thing is putting it out now."


Q: What's your take on Oliver Stone?


Banks: I loved working with Oliver Stone. He's a visionary and that what you want. Plus I totally trusted him."


Q: In a good way, the film feels like a total riff with lots of improvisation. Did you and Seth just let loose in some scenes?


Banks: Kevin was very generous about leaving a lot of stuff in the movie but he had a great script and established great characters. Seth and I love to improv but we both stayed in character. I was excited about how much stuff ended up in the movie but there will be an insane amount of extras on the DVD."


Q: What's your favorite scene that did not make it in the movie?


Banks: "One of may favorite scenes is Seth and I riding the Pittsburgh incline and going through every Arnold Schwarzenegger movie and giving it a porn title. It was all improv and we were just fucking around. So we came up with Terminator Rise of the Cock We just put cock in everything. It's always fun to put cock in something."


By Steve Ramos, Writer.


Read our review of "Zack and Miri Make a Porno"




What's this movie about?

Lifelong friends and roommates Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are facing hard times and a mountain of debt. When the electricity and plumbing get cut off, they seize upon the idea of making a homegrown porno movie for some quick cash, enlisting the help of their friends. The two vow that having sex will not ruin their friendship. But as filming begins, what started out as a business proposition between friends turns into something much more.

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