Anna Faris: The conversation

The 'Scary Movie'-turned-sitcom star on the perils of eating a burrito, manipulative mums, and her love of dead insects
Click to follow

In Mom, you play a recovering alcoholic and mother whose teen daughter is pregnant and whose mother is also in recovery. It's pretty dark for a sitcom...

I’m always surprised when the script comes in. It’s like, ‘Oh, we’re doing this? We can get away with this? Everyone’s cool with this? We are a comedy, remember…’ But I love it that we’re doing something different. It’s very rewarding. When people come up to me now, they tend to be very passionate and tell me their stories. In the past, with Scary Movie, The House Bunny,… not so much.

You’ve played your fair share of goofs and gone to town on gross-out comedy. Is there anything you won’t do to get a laugh?

Yes, actually. There was one joke about a heavier woman in Mom and I really didn’t want to do that. The weight stuff, I just can’t stand at all. It’s a big topic of conversation lately because some of our highest grossing movie stars don’t necessarily have the type of body that we’ve seen in the past. And it’s awesome. I love it. It always felt like for so long the chore of a young woman in a movie was to be the best friend to the girl and have the guy fall in love with you. And that makes for a really boring person… But I don’t ever fight. There are so few things that I object to. As a person I am not easily offended, ever. That’s me.

In first episode of Mom, Christy says of her mother Bonnie, “Some mothers teach you how to cook. Mine taught me how to beat a cavity search and still feel like a lady.” What did your mother teach you?

So many things. If I complained about being bored, she’d say “Boring people get bored.” Also “A messy room is a messy mind.” My Mom always taught me to be very sensitive and kind. She was a great mom – very, very different from Bonnie. She is amazing – I probably shouldn’t talk about her in the past tense.

And now you’re a mother in real life too, to Jack. How has having a two-year old changed your life?

Everything, everything makes you guilty. I also feel like I really have no idea what I’m doing. I’m learning every day - basically, what not to do. Like, “Oh, so he’s going to bonk his head on that again? I guess maybe I should do something about that…” And all the little things - like feeding and saying “no”. Also my parents – my baby is their only grandchild - undermine every single thing I do. You guys! You have to help me out! I feel like my Mom is getting back at me for something.

Maybe for all the times you were badly behaved as a child?

Maybe. Every time my son spends time with them, he comes back smarter and craftier and more manipulative. I’m like, “What are you guys doing to him?”

What if Jack turns around in 10 years’ time and tells you that he wants to be an actor like his Mum and Dad [Parks and Recreation star, Chris Pratt]?

Oh boy. I would say, “Ok, here’s what we’re going to do babe. We’re going to build a tiny little amphitheatre in the yard and you and your friends can write some plays and maybe do some acting classes.” But I would want to make sure it wasn’t out of a craving for fame. That’s the big pitfall. I would want to make sure it was truly a love of performing.

So fame is a bad thing?

It’s a really dangerous thing. It can be really, really intoxicating and poisonous. I just feel embarrassed most of the time - when there’s somebody taking a picture of me eating a huge burrito on their phone.

You did Scary Movies 1 to 4. Why not 5?

Regina [Hall] and I both didn’t do Scary Movie 5. I think they want to “restructure” it – is how they put it. And that might be all I can say about that… Honestly I loved making those movies. And I learned so much.

Do you find them funny?

[pause] Sometimes. Sometimes. It’s oddly hard to make me laugh, actually. I really love self-deprecating humour. I’m not big on catty. I really love silly humour, like the original Airplane.

How about Parks and Recreation?

Yeah - so many talented people on that show. And I just love watching my husband. He’s so adorable.

Is it true that you and he first bonded over a love of dead insects?

We met in LA when we were cast in Take Me Home Tonight and one day I went to his apartment and he had all these framed dead bugs. I also had my own framed dead bug collection, which everyone thought was creepy and weird. I like the gnarlier things, like beetles and moths… It seems less cruel to have a beetle than a gorgeous huge butterfly, but maybe I shouldn’t rank my insects. Anyway, Chris had the same. And I just cried. I was like, “You have dead bugs too?” It was so corny.

Would you work together again or are you now sitcom rivals?

No, no. We’re not competitive at all. I’m really proud of him and I’ll ask his advice about stuff if I feel like I’m not hitting a joke well. But now he’s becoming this big action star… We’ve been working on a movie called Vacation Friends that we’re hoping to shoot next hiatus. It’s about a couple that meets a super-crazy couple on vacation and they have an insane time. I love acting with him. Getting to be a crazy person with him would be a blast.