Lake Bell knows how to do ac­tion now too

The “No Es­cape” star wants to do her thing and not be pi­geon­holed.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - MATT PRIGGE @mattprigge

Right now Lake Bell is known as a comedic ac­tress. She is and she isn’t. She’s done plenty of drama, and not just be­fore she broke through into the main­stream with the voiceover com­edy “In a World…”, which she wrote, di­rected and starred in. And she’s done plenty of it since. She even stars in the new thriller “No Es­cape,” in which she and Owen Wil­son play par­ents who ar­rive in an Asian coun­try (they filmed in Thai­land) right as a vi­o­lent coup turns the city into a blood­bath, forc­ing two funny ac­tors to be­come ac­tion stars.

This was one of your first big roles af­ter “In a World…” It’s strange that some­one saw that and thought, “Put her in a se­ri­ous ac­tion movie!”

I know, I know! [Laughs] That’s why it’s so badass, be­cause they were like, “We’re do­ing things our own way.” I’m su­per-thank­ful they had the vi­sion to say, “You know what, this per­son — be­cause she’s un­ex­pected in this ac­tion pic­ture — be­comes an in­ter­est­ing choice, as op­posed to what we’ve seen be­fore.” Some­times you have to be bold in your cast­ing.

You did the in­die “Black Rock,” which is partly an ac­tion film too. How is it chang­ing gears into ac­tion? Did you do your own stunts, like jump­ing across build­ings?

Yeah, we to­tally did that stuff. Ob­vi­ously we had dou­bles if nec­es­sary, but they wanted to show us do­ing ev­ery­thing. Part of what I think is unique about this movie is they’re real peo­ple. The way we at­tack these stunts and how we nav­i­gate each event is not clean. It’s very messy. It’s very re­al­is­tic. We’re not all of a sud­den su­per­heroes, where we know how to jump. We don’t know kung fu out of nowhere. It’s al­most an emo­tional ac­tion pic­ture, where you’re in­vested in these peo­ple and their lives. They’re not per­fect. They have in­ter­per­sonal prob­lems. An­nie and Jack have some things in their mar­riage they’re fig­ur­ing out. It’s all very real.

It’s in­ter­est­ing to have a very se­ri­ous, har­row­ing movie star­ring two peo­ple mostly, though not ex­clu­sively, known for com­edy. Did that make it eas­ier, that you’re both funny peo­ple?

Well, there weren’t a lot of laughs. We didn’t joke around at all on the movie, which is funny be­cause you’d think if I did a movie with Owen Wil­son, it would be a laugh riot. But I feel like I know him in a se­ri­ous way. [Laughs] We’ve cried to­gether and yelled at each other, but we didn’t joke around a lot. All of a sud­den we’re on this jun­ket, and it’s like, “Oh, you’re kind of funny!” [Laughs]

You’ve done plenty of drama in the past. Do you feel you have to fight for these roles?

You know, I feel lucky that I don’t feel too pi­geon­holed. I do jump around a bit, whether it’s “Black Rock” or “Wet Hot Amer­i­can Sum­mer” or a Bri­tish ro­man­tic com­edy [“Man Up”] or di­rect­ing my own pic­ture. I’m get­ting away with that. And now I’m a mom. I’m into lots of hats.


Lake Bell, with Owen Wil­son, tries to sur­vive a coup in an un­named Asian coun­try in “No Es­cape.”

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