April 9, 2009 / 11:12 PM / 10 years ago

Faris finds nothing stupid in dumb blonde roles

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Being a “dumb blonde” is nothing to laugh at, unless you’re actress Anna Faris.

Cast member Anna Faris attends the premiere of "Observe and Report" in Los Angeles April 6, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Faris, whose comedy “Observe and Report” debuts in movie theaters on Friday, has made a career playing less-than-brainy blondes on film, but in reality she is anything but dumb.

Still, when the 32-year-old who majored in English literature in college is called stupid in her movie roles, she fails to let it bother her. In fact, she relishes it.

“It doesn’t bother me if people think I’m a dumb blonde,” Faris told Reuters. “I spent a lot of energy worrying about what people think, and I already have to do that enough in my career, and I just don’t want to be preoccupied with it.”

Raised by parents who kept her on a strict curfew and did not allow her to watch many movies, Faris gained notice in the “Scary Movie” series of horror film spoofs in the 1990s.

In recent years, she proved adept at playing a stoner on a quest for pot in “Smiley Face” and last year was a Playboy bunny who found herself in a college sorority in “The House Bunny,” which she also produced.

Her career track recalls that of an earlier “dumb blonde,” Goldie Hawn. Hawn, 63, played a dimwitted dancer on TV comedy “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” before winning an Oscar in 1969’s “Cactus Flower.” Hawn’s first foray into producing, “Private Benjamin,” proved to be a box office blockbuster in 1980.


Faris is up to her old — and rather stupid — tricks again in “Observe and Report” as a vacuous cosmetics counter clerk who attracts the interest of a mall security guard named Ronnie, played by Seth Rogen.

In one scene, Faris appears nearly passed out on a bed after too much partying, with vomit streaked on her pillow. It is just one of many over-the-top sequences in a film centered on Ronnie’s mission to catch a nude flasher run amok in a shopping mall.

“My mom might need a glass of wine before she watches (the movie),” Faris joked.

Faris said she was raised in a fairly conservative manner in suburban Seattle, but her parents let her stay up as late as she wanted if she was reading.

She gained her independence at the University of Washington, where she studied literature. Her favorite authors include Joyce Carol Oates and Flannery O’Connor.

Faris said she would love to write but admits to agonizing over each sentence and having problems developing plots. She turned “House Bunny” into a moderate box office success with $70.4 million in global ticket sales.

The seeds of her next comedy idea involve her portraying a “flawed, dispassionate woman.”

“I think we’ve seen a lot of very driven, Type A women on screen in the last decade, especially in comedies, and I want to explore the other area,” she said.

Faris holds fast to the lesson, taught to her by director Keenen Ivory Wayans in his “Scary Movie” parodies, that there is no vanity in comedy. So, she dives into every role with no regard to appearances.

Even when she talks about taking on a dramatic role instead of a comedy, Faris cannot avoid joking about it.

“Somewhere in there, there’s like the heroin addicted prostitute that’s just yearning to come out,” she joked.

Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Paul Simao

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