All grunge and giggles
Faris gave heart to the raunchy Scary Movie franchise, supplied girl-next-door vavoom as The House Bunny and won a Stoney Award from High Times magazine for her tour de force performance in the stoner comedy Smiley Face. Even now, playing the feministvegan manager of an organic food co-op in Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator, she’s a grungy pixie in overalls and armpit hair. Born in Baltimore and raised in Edmonds, Wash., Faris, 35, started as a child actress playing dramatic roles in the likes of Arthur Miller plays. After doing commercials, training films and a movie or two, she found stardom as wide-eyed waif Cindy Campbell in four Scary Movie films (2000-2006) and in the recurring role of Erica, the mother of Chandler and Monica’s adoptive child, in the final season of Friends. Faris married second husband Chris Pratt ( Moneyball, Parks and Recreation) in 2009. She was up against Kristen Wiig and Gillian Jacobs for the part of Zooey in The Dictator, since they were looking for actresses who could improv. And Faris says the film certainly did turn out to be improvisation. ‘‘Sacha uses the script as sort of a very, very loose framework, so he was always doing improv and taking the scene in a gazillion different directions,’’ she says. ‘‘So you were forced to just keep up with him. I’ve been part of a lot of movies where we’ve done
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and improv, and I always felt like as long as I’m sincere and earnest in the scene, that was my strategy.’’ Even when he was riding behind her on the scooter and grabbed your breasts to hold on? ‘‘That was improv!’’ she says. ‘‘Luckily we were being pulled by a little tractor. I had just kind of gotten used to his craziness and his physicality – the day before we’d done this crazy hugging scene where he wouldn’t stop hugging me and he was sort of mauling my body. So you just sort of learn (giggles), ‘Oh! My body’s not my own anymore!’ ’’
Sacha Baron Cohen as Anna Faris as Zooey.