Anna Faris jokingly says that she prepared to play a Playboy bunny by having “slept with Hef, but I’ll dispel that rumor right now.” The bubbly actress has been on Hollywood’s comic periphery now for almost a decade since breaking out in the Scary Movie series.
These days, the confident actress felt it about time she took matters into her own hands and develop a project specifically for her, the result being The House Bunny, in which she stars as an ex-Playboy bunny who is suddenly kicked out of the mansion and finds herself a house mother to a bunch of women about to lose their sorority. “About three years ago I was thinking about what happens when it’s time for the next phase of life for some of these girls who have lived in the Playboy mansion and how do you sort of re-enter the real world? I pitched the character to two writers and, together, they wrote a script and together we produced it,” Faris explains. “The next thing you know we’re shooting at the Playboy mansion.”
The actress laughingly admits “I did very little to emotionally prepare to play Shelly Darlington, because I guess she’s always been in there somewhere, but, I did work out. I got some hair extensions, a lot of padded bras and I guess that’s the extent of my prep.”
Asked if, like the characters in the film, she ever felt like an outsider, the actress does that admit that “I definitely still feel incredibly awkward and I never quite get used to this stuff, but I’m really proud I made a movie, because I feel in my movie experience, I’ve definitely give up a sense of vanity, so it was kind of nice actually to play the pretty girl.”
While the film has many thematic levels, she doesn’t see the film as a comment of any sort of empowerment that women may have with a publication like Playboy. “I don’t think it’s a stand against not being a model. I think Shelly will always be a little vain, love her wardrobe and her curves or whatever, but, I think it’s more about finding her real family and that she realized that she doesn’t belong in that world anymore. I don’t think it’s necessarily a judgment against that world.”
Faris admits that her journey from generating what began as a simple idea to finished film was, to her, “amazing, very inspiring, empowering and also eye opening because I had no idea how difficult it was to make a movie and to put all the pieces together. Without my writers I would still be twiddling my thumbs thinking, ‘Where would that Playboy bunny go?’ And then of course the support of Happy Madison was incredible, because they were able to push our movie through so quickly and Sony was amazing. I keep thinking I am really naïve to think that anything ever goes that smoothly, but you know I’ve gotta say I wasn’t getting a chance to play the roles that I really wanted to and so this felt like, ‘Oh, so maybe I can do this and maybe I can continue to do this,’ which would be amazing.”