November 21, 2008

Action Adventuress - Lake Bell Tells all

From tackling the waves to trying out a good old-fashioned orgy, screen siren Lake Bell is game for anything.

By Marshall Heyman

When Lake Bell calls for an interview, she has alternately been waiting for and on the line with the cable company to hook up the television in her new West Hollywood apartment.

“I’m a disgruntled customer,” the New York-born-and-bred actress says, a humorously mocking tone in her voice. “The funny thing is, every time they put me on hold, I’d hear an advertisement for What Happens in Vegas on Pay-Per-View. It was like”—she adopts her best Mr. Moviefone affectation—“Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz. What Happens in Vegas. You can start it anytime you want.”

The joke is, of course, that the 28-year-old bronzed stunner co-starred in the romantic comedy earlier this summer, as Diaz’s hoot of a best friend. After years of starring in television series of varying success, including Miss Match, Boston Legal and as an oceanographer on Surface, What Happens in Vegas marked her comedic big screen breakout. This fall, she takes a 180-degree dramatic turn opposite Colin Farrell, Ed Norton and Jon Voigt in the New York cop drama Pride and Glory, playing wife to Farrell and sister to Norton.

“The movie is not a comedy,” Bell stresses. “It’s pretty intense.” She also has one of the few female roles in an especially macho movie. “There are few moments for women so it was really important to mark those moments with truth and honesty and love,” she says.

Bell insists that she likes to flip flop between comedies and dramas. Neither is easier, because “acting,” she explains, “is hard.” “Being truthful is hard,” she continues. “The blessing that I am able to do both is more than I can even ask for.”

Regardless of her dedication to the craft, Bell is naturally hilarious. Over an hour-long conversation, she cracks any number of jokes, does amusing impressions, makes animal sounds and is all around sarcastic. The funniest person in her life, she says, is in fact not a person at all. It’s her dog, Margaret. “She’s got the greatest comic timing ever. She can stare you down, and everyone else will be laughing. But she won’t break.”

Bell says she found herself “breaking”—as in losing concentration and giggling uncontrollably—quite often on set of the movie she filmed earlier this summer in North Carolina, called A Good Old Fashioned Orgy. “Clearly not a drama,” Bell points out, which co-stars a slew of comedians. “Though actually it’s got a Big Chill heartfelt angle.” In this case, the heartfelt angle involves a bunch of friends getting together for group sex in the Hamptons.