American actor Anna Faris was in Sydney last week to promote her latest film, What's Your Number? In the movie, her character, Ally Darling, fears she may not find a husband because she's had 19 lovers, and a magazine article insists 20 is too many. So Ally begins a wild search for true love by contacting her exes. Kate Waterhouse caught up with the 34-year-old Faris.
Do you think 20 is a lot of partners for a woman to have slept with?
I think it's a totally appropriate number but I also think, 'Why are we [as a society] still having this discussion? It's fun to talk about and it's interesting but it's sad that we still have a lot of guilt surrounding our [sexual] experiences. What does that say about us?
Anna Faris, embracing 'dumb'
Anna Faris is not nearly as dumb as she knows you think she is.
Have you told your husband your number?
Was he OK with it?
Totally! He was like, 'Why are we talking about this?' and I know my husband's number is a lot … and I don't really care that much, maybe because I'm getting a little bit older. All that matters is how you feel about yourself and that you feel comfortable in your own body. The shame is only when you have an experience and you don't feel great about it.
Were you the funny girl at school?
No. I was so serious and really quiet. I was short and totally nerdy. Acting was my way of being heard; it was hiding behind a character.
How did you fall into the funny girl role?
It's so weird, getting cast in Scary Movie, I thought, 'They are going to fire me because they are going to quickly realise that I'm not funny at all.' I was never the class clown - I was very introverted but now I don't do anything but comedy … It really has been a strange journey.
So it wasn't your plan to be a comedian?
No. My friends at school laugh that I do comedy. My college room-mate was like, 'Oh my god, I don't know what happened, you are like the least funny person in the world.' I think it is about the willingness to be able to laugh at yourself. I don't really have a stand-up routine and I'm not a traditional comedian in that sense, but I do feel like making fun of myself is part of my strategy and that's what I do; I will just go out and make an arse out of myself but it's fun and I've become a happier person.
It's the gift that comedy has given me - I'm just happier and it feels really nice.
Do people put pressure on you to be funny?
Yes, you feel it but maybe you just put the pressure on yourself to do it.
Do you get frustrated that you are typecast in comedy?
I used to more than now. After Scary Movie I couldn't even get an audition for a dramatic movie. I grew up doing dramatic stuff so I was really thrown; I was like, 'I don't know why I'm in comedy and I don't know why I'm stuck there,' but then after a while, maybe after turning 30 … I started to feel like, 'What do I need to prove? I love making comedies, I love making people laugh, [I asked myself] what am I looking for? Am I looking for validation of some kind?'
Do you ever get sick of the characters you play?
Yes, sometimes they frustrate me. Sometimes I'm like, 'Why would my character be doing something this dumb?' and I'm like, 'Come on, guys'.
You're in your underwear a lot in What's Your Number? Did you work out?
Yes, it was really annoying. I'm just not a particularly athletic person but I did a lot of running and ate a lot of raw almonds.
Who is the most interesting person you've worked with?
Bill Murray in Lost in Translation was amazing.
What's next for you?
I've just finished a Sacha Baron Cohen movie called The Dictator.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I want to have kids and … I'll act for as long as I can.
What's Your Number? is in cinemas Thursday.
WE WENT TO Etch Restaurant, city.
WE ATE Pea risotto; baked snapper with squid, scallop and curry emulsion.
WE DRANK Diet Coke and sparkling mineral water.
ANNA WORE a Wallace top and pants, Stuart Weitzman shoes.