‘Brit­tany Runs a Marathon’ and dis­cov­ers her­self in Ama­zon com­edy movie

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Ontv - BY GE­ORGE DICKIE

Brit­tany For­gler is the type of young woman who’s every­body’s friend – funny, out­go­ing and with a love of a good time. Then wake-up call comes.

As played by Jil­lian Bell (“Worka­holics,” “22 Jump Street”) in the Ama­zon orig­i­nal com­edy movie “Brit­tany Runs a Marathon,” pre­mier­ing Fri­day, Aug. 23, she’s a 27-yearold New Yorker whose hard-par­ty­ing ways, chronic un­der­em­ploy­ment and toxic re­la­tion­ships are be­gin­ning to catch up with her. When she vis­its the doc­tor to get a pre­scrip­tion for Ad­der­all, the or­ders come back very clear: You need to shape up.

Too broke to join a gym, she doesn’t know what to do next. But when her seem­ingly to­gether neigh­bor Catherine (Michaela Watkins, “Ca­sual”) en­cour­ages her to try run­ning, she finds she likes it. As her en­durance and per­for­mance im­proves, she sets her­self a lofty goal: to com­pete in the New York City Marathon.

“I think we’ve all gone through stages like Brit­tany goes through at the be­gin­ning of the film,” Bell ex­plains, “where we all feel sort of stuck or re­peat­ing bad pat­terns and she de­cides that she wants to do some­thing for her­self to change her life and then that’s why she sets the goal of run­ning the New York City Marathon. And it’s based on a real per­son. When I read it, I was sort of blown away ... . There were a lot of lines in the script when I said, ‘Oh, I’ve said that be­fore’ out loud to my­self or one of my best friends. So I just re­ally re­lated to the char­ac­ter.”

To get into the char­ac­ter’s head space, Bell un­der­went some­thing of a trans­for­ma­tion her­self. Not only did she have to don mul­ti­ple pros­thet­ics to de­pict Brit­tany’s var­i­ous stages of weight loss, but the 35-year-old ac­tress also took up run­ning and shed sig­nif­i­cant weight.

“I thought I would ei­ther spi­ral out or it would be ther­a­peu­tic,” Bell says, “and I think it did a lit­tle bit of both but in a good way. I got to know my­self a lit­tle bit bet­ter after do­ing this film. I def­i­nitely worked the hard­est I ever have, at least phys­i­cally, on any project. They didn’t ask me to lose weight but I lost 40 pounds for the role just be­cause it was part of her real jour­ney and I wanted to see if it would help con­nect me to the script more emo­tion­ally be­cause hon­estly there are some parts of the script where I said, ‘Oh, why is she strug­gling right here?’ And it was be­cause at this point, you’ve plateaued and it was some­thing I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t ex­pe­ri­enced it.”

Jil­lian Bell

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