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Interview: Anna Farris, Regina Hall for "Scary Movie 3"

By Paul Fischer Tuesday October 22nd 2002 02:30PM
Anna Farris, Regina Hall for "Scary Movie 3"

The gals are back in what is undoubtedly the funniest film in the Scary Movie franchise, thanks to director David Zucker. No wonder these two ladies were willing to be lured back for a third film, as Paul Fischer discovered when he met the pair.

Question: At the "Hot Chick" junket you weren't in favor of the first Scary movie and you said you hadn't been officially contacted at that time.

Anna: That's true. I hadn't. I was under contract and was very surprised when they called me because I was under the impression that they were going to have a whole new cast. It's a wonderful feeling to work and it's a privilege and I was excited about going back and playing this character. I was really excited to work with David Zucker because I loved the airplane movies and Naked Gun series so much growing up. It was a wonderful blessing.

Question: What are the comparisons working with Zucker and the Wayans?

Anna: They have very different styles I think. Keenan was very encouraging in terms of improv whereas David is very meticulous and he likes us to stick to the script. For me that was fine. In some cases, I love doing improv but with Cindy Campbell being sort of the anchor-woman".there wasn't a whole lot for me to expand. But Regina is fantastic at doing improv.

Regina: It all depends upon the character you're playing. Some characters are easier. If you are the outlandish character, it's easier to improv as opposed to when you have to be the anchor and ground the script. Anna has to ground the movie but she did improv in "Lost in Translation". It [Scary Movie 3] just was a different movie, a different tone. One and Two were great but we were also very new. That was Anna's first film, only my third so so much of what we did we learned from Keenan and working with David it was kind of like we were the ones who had been in the movie and knew and then we had him come in and take our comedy, our comedic skills to a totally different level by adding physical comedy. Setting up shots was completely different so I think it helped us probably grow as comedic actresses.

Question: Regina, were you contractually bound?

Regina: I wasn't contractually bound, no. Anna was contractually bound from the first one but when I did the very first one, I got it at the very last minute. In the script I think my character died. I don't they ever had any idea that Brenda would come back a second or third time.

Anna: That's just a testament to your talent.

Question: (to Regina) Did you have to do a body cast? How was that?

Anna: Those are awful experiences.

Regina: We've both had them done and it's really awful. To have your eyes and ears and mouth"unable to breathe.

Anna: You are drowning in cement. It's awful. You just think, 'could they pay me enough to do this?'.

Regina: You feel like you've been hyperventilating and all you have to move is your arms.

Anna: They sound is so muffled and it's very hot. You've got to be a brave soul.

Question: Does this kind of broad comedy come naturally to you?

Regina: I think once we created those characters it did.

Anna: Yeah and we both are really good at laughing at ourselves. I think that's pretty important. You have to enjoy being humiliated.

Question: What aspects of yourselves do you laugh at?

Anna: Like the other day, I ordered a salad and I said, 'I'd like the Tuscan salad'. And the waitress said, 'Do you mean the Tucson [two-sawn] salad?' I said 'yes, that's the one I want'. Stuff like that. Falling, tripping. If I accidentally expose one of my private areas.

Question: Leslie Nielson is an old hand at this type of comedy. Was it hard to keep a straight face with him?

Anna: There aren't very many people that can break me [up]. By this time, it's like 'okay, let's just shoot the scene. Quit laughing'. But this one makes me laugh a lot and Leslie Nielson made me laugh a lot. 'Send flowers to their bitches and hoes'. Wasn't he great? He had this other line that was cut out because it doesn't match with the plot anymore. He said 'Cindy Campbell, I've already named two states after you. Campbelltucky and Cindyana'. And sweet Leslie would always say 'Cindyrama and Camp"uh, uh. He had a really hard time with that line and he would just laugh to himself. We had a great time. He's just a wonderful man.

Question: Do you think this is the end of the Scary Movie franchise for you?

Anna: Let's just say if you see us in 4, we might have pools. I don't know what will happen. There's a lot of rumors flying around. It depends a lot on on the success of this movie. We both want to do other things. It's important for us to expand. I grew up in drama and I'd really love to return to that?

Question: Regina, you've worked with Mekai Pfifer before. How did Anthony do, impersonating him?

Regina: He was pretty good. That whole scene in 8 Mile".just seeing Anthony in that wig, with the dreadlocks and the whole idea. I think he did pretty well as that best friend and MC even though he jumped on top of me once my body was dead and blew me to pieces.

Question: So that wasn't the cast dummy of you?

Regina: Oh, it was! Thank God that wasn't me. If that was me I'd be gone. But I had to see it.

Question: Anna how do you feel about the great response to "Lost in Translation"?

Anna: It's the first movie I've done that got good reviews. I think comedies in general tend not to be critics favorites but it's been unbelievable. I was really thrilled when I got that role. I knew if was going to be something special. I'm not surprised by its success or how beautiful it is because just working with Sophia and getting to know her, she's got an amazing vision.

Question: Do you relate to that sort of blonde, self-important""

Anna: [joking] That is me.

Question: Are you doing Cameron Diaz?

Anna: I did think of a person but not Cameron Diaz? [to Regina] She knows.

Regina: I know. I'm not gonna say unless you pay me.

Question: Anthony was very funny saying he signed up for this thinking it was a Wayans Brothers movie. Did you know?

Regina: I knew that they were not going to be involved. I did like the script a lot, Anna was doing it. It wasn't like my part was so huge that I felt like I was committing to a giant hunk of time. I like David Zucker's work so much; Airplane and Naked Gun so it didn't scare me to have him as the director. I didn't feel like they were getting Joe Shmo. I felt like they were putting the movie in someone else's hands who knew the kind of movie we were doing. The script was funny and the money was good.

Question: What was Zucker directing the nightclub rap scene like?

Anna: I don't even remember seeing him there.

Regina: That was pretty funny because he's not a nightclub guy.

Anna: He's a little older so he's out of touch with that environment. I vaguely remember him being in a little bit of a daze during that. We had 400 extras or something crazy.

Question: Who gave him advice on how to deal with hip hop culture?

Anna: I don't know. He works with some very smart people close to him.

Regina: A good team. We had Fat Joe on the set. That was exciting for me. Maybe Fat Joe helped David.

Question: Would you like to do a drama next?

Anna: I don't know. I would love to. I want to do good projects. Right now I have a recurring role on friends, three episodes. I can say that I have something to do with Monica and Jen's storyline. I play a baby, a five year old. We shot one. I do another one is November. My character lives in Ohio.

Question: How intimidating was it going onto a "Friends" set?

Anna: Very. You're really walking on their turf. I didn't have any expectations but they were all so friendly, so accommodating, very hard-working and very emotionally invested in the show. I was very impressed. It's also the world's best job. The audience just loves it and embraces them so much.

Question: Do you find that doing comedies limits the range of roles you are offered?

Anna: These movies have opened up a whole lot of doors for me. I didn't have anything before. I had a really bad horror movie before Scary Movie. There is that. When you do such broad comedy it's hard for studio people to envision you being anything else. Also, a lot of people don't see these movies. The general public does but"

Regina: You're right. It's hard to find good pieces. For me, I'm still stuck on why I wasn't asked to audition for The Hours" [laughter]. I'm looking to doing mainstream, funny comedies moreso instead of just limiting myself to the Urban market. It's difficult for me whether it's a drama or comedy.

Question: What are you doing now?

Regina: I have a deal with Miramax. I have a film in development that I'm starring in and producing that will hopefully be a vehicle for me to go out of the broad comedy range. It's not a romantic comedy and it's not broad comedy. It's more along the lines of a "Working Girl" type structure.

Anna: We both love doing comedy but it would be really wonderful but less broad.

Regina: We actually want to do something together. But not so broad.

Anna: We want to do some kind of buddy movie. Not necessarily action.

Regina: We have three or four ideas we're kicking around.

Question: Are you doing to form a partnership?

Regina: Well, I remember so many successful duos in the past who've worked together. We think we have a good thing that's been done, her being white and me black" I know it's shocking but it's been done successfully with men like Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte but it hasn't really been done with women. We want to do that.

Question: Was there a favorite scene that was cut from this film?

Anna: I think it is important to keep these movies trim but there were a few scenes that I worked really hard on that I didn't love but I fought a horse and I also fought fifty evil little girls and I swung around a pole in the Matrix and I had this really tight leather outfit on and it was brutal. I think it wasn't [unintelligible.. SOUNDS LIKE: laughs].

Regina: But don't you think these kinds of comedies should be short? Sometimes you go to a comedy and the movie is funny but it goes on too long.

Question: Did you watch The Ring before you did the film?

Anna: We both watched The Ring and Signs before we knew they would be spoofed

Regina: Yeah. I went to see both films in the theater.

Anna: And we liked them both. They're both so visually striking. Those are the best movies to spoof. Everybody remembers the scene where the men are running around the house and the girl coming out of the t.v. and the tape and the Pam Anderson and Jenny McCarthy opening. They were great. I liked both those movies. You appreciate their silliness but yeah"

Question: Did you get any improv input in the scene where Regina is pretending horrible things are happening to her?

Regina: That was all in the script about my hand catching on fire. The foam part, I wasn't happy with the foam. I had to chew a bunch of Alka Seltzer without water.

Question: You do really hard work on these films.

Anna: These movies are hard work.

Regina: Everybody thinks they're a bunch of practical joking fun but.. oh what we do to make you guys laugh.

Question: How about working with Rob Schneider in that masterpiece of American cinema, The Hot Chick.

Anna: He is a nice guy but the thing about a lot of comedians I think is they tend to be a lot more serious that you would expect. Yeah.

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