By Ben Lyons, E! Entertainment Television | November 15, 2010 | People
Kristen Bell sits down with Ben Lyons of E! Entertainment Television
This has been a pretty darn good year for Kristen Bell. We’ve seen her share the silver screen with her fiancé, actor Dax Shepard, in When In Rome; the legendary Betty White in You Again; and this month with none other than Cher in Burlesque. Not a bad year for the self-described “late bloomer” from Michigan, who graduated from NYU and went on to become a Hollywood star who manages to fuse sex symbol with funny girl next door.
Bell's Board Game and Garden Time
Despite all of her success—including making the difficult transition from the small screen to top billing on the big one—all this girl wants to do is play Scrabble and garden. Seriously.
BEN LYONS: You’ve worked with some pretty amazing women this year, including Betty White and Cher. Tell us about that.
KRISTEN BELL: In 2010, my motto is “Icons only.” And great résumés. 2010 is also about “Show me your résumé.”
BL: Then how did I get this interview because I haven’t updated my résumé in a while! Seriously, how did working with those two legendary women happen?
KB: Honestly, dumb luck. I was signed on to You Again before anybody else—even before our director, Andy Fickman. As they started assembling the cast, I was getting more and more frightened I was going to get bumped, that they would kick me out. It’s so great to work with some really awesome women. It’s a nice change because the previous few years I had been working with mostly all men on Veronica Mars, Heroes, Forgetting Sarah Marshall—I feel like now my life is filled with estrogen, and I love it!
BL: Christina Aguilera plays the lead in Burlesque. Were you a big fan growing up?
KB: I was a huge fan. I didn’t have posters on my wall or anything—but, actually, the posters on my wall were really weird growing up. I had an Antonio Banderas poster, a Simon Rex poster and a JTT [Jonathan Taylor Thomas] poster. I mean, what a spectrum.
BL: Banderas? Really?
KB: Let me tell you what I realized later in life: I didn’t really have a thing for Antonio Banderas or his movies, and I’m sure he’s wonderful, but I was hitting a time in puberty when girls were putting posters up, and I felt really left out. I was a late bloomer, so I ripped out the first couple posters I could find, and it happened to be those three. Years later my friends called me out on it, and I had to admit I just wanted to be part of the club of girls with posters on their walls.
BL: Now, with Burlesque, you’re part of the musical club. Are you a fan of musical theater?
KB: Yes! I went to musical-theater school. Glee is my dream come true. I was trained operatically as a soprano when I was 12. I love music and like the fact that musicals are coming back.
BL: Would you consider doing Broadway?
KB: Absolutely! I’ve thought about it and even investigated it, and for me it’s always been about timing. Broadway shows require—even if you’re the biggest actor of all time—a 12-month commitment, and I’m not loving the idea of moving back to the East Coast right now. I’m settled here, but if the right show comes about—maybe in a limited run—I’d consider it. I’d actually love to bring more musical theater to LA.
BL: How do you pick and choose which projects to be a part of?
KB: To be totally honest with you, I’ve been in the right place at the right time. I’m no stranger to desperation. I have that actor thing where I feel like every role will be my last, and I can’t believe people actually hire me. It’s very romantic to have the notion that actors construct their careers and have all the options in the world, and they are cutting and pasting the perfect strategic résumé, but it’s not really the case. A lot of it is, “This movie is being made right now—do you want to try out?” So I’ve been lucky there have been things I fit into.
BL: Let’s get to the serious stuff—Scrabble. I know you’re a big player; what are your strengths and weaknesses?
KB: I’m great with the two-letter words. I know X-I; I know Z-A; I know Q-I. But once you memorize all the two-letter words, expand your horizons. Go for the three-letter Qs—Q-A-T, for example. Know what I’m saying? If I could memorize [all the three-letter words], I’d be unbeatable.
BL: Besides Scrabble and your career, what keeps you rooted in Los Angeles?
KB: LA is what you make of it. I crave a more suburban lifestyle, which is what I’ve made LA for me. I hike a lot, and I really like being outdoors. I like how eclectic the culture is here. The older you get, the more settled you feel. We live out of suitcases enough as actors; I don’t want to move to a new city every 12 months. I like to cook a lot and garden.
BL: I’ve heard about your famous garden.
KB: You did? Who told you about my garden? Well, my garden rules, so it doesn’t surprise me it’s being talked about on the streets.
BL: What’s in season right now?
KB: I planted Black Monukka grapes. I planted a blueberry bush that is not thriving right now. I planted peppers that are doing OK—green, lilac, red, yellow and Thai peppers, which are the spicy ones. I planted basil that has basically taken over my garden. I can’t give basil away. I show up places with bags of basil for people, and I still have too much of it.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ASHLEY BARRETT. SHOT ON LOCATION AT FOUR SEASONS HOTEL LOS ANGELES AT BEVErly hills