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Kristen Bell Talks Stripping, Sloths & 'Lies'
Kristen Bell belongs on TV -- and I don't say that just because I want her in my life, and my living room, on a weekly basis.
What I mean is that the actress simply meshes with the medium so well, her best work always seems to come alive on the small screen: from Veronica Mars to Heroes and Reefer Madness, the pint-sized powerhouse never fails to hit it out of the park when she lives in my DVR.
Kristen is now back where she belongs thanks to Showtime's sensational House of Lies, where she co-stars as a corporate strategist alongside Don Cheadle. I recently caught up with Kristen backstage at The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson to talk all about this dynamic new role, what you can expect from her next big screen projects and why baby sloths rival Lee Press On Nails for title of "Best Thing Ever."
Insider.com: What attracted you to House of Lies?
Kristen Bell: Everything. I liked the fact it was cable, so there are no limitations on the storylines in terms of how deep or provocative we could go. I like how sleek and sophisticated and dirty it was. I like that it's relevant since Occupy Wall Street and movements like that are in the zeitgeist. I like this character because she's so compartmentalized and I've never played someone who is not only willing to tell lies to other people but often lies to herself.
Insider: You and Don Cheadle have insane chemistry. Did you know each other before this show?
Kristen: We didn't. We had lunch prior to doing the show, which I believe was the lunch for him to either yay or nay me. They had invited me on board, but clearly it's Don’s show – what if he hated me? So we went out to lunch and hit it off. He is a better human being than an actor, and he's a damn good actor.
Insider: I would have been so nervous. Did you know that this lunch served this dual purpose?
Kristen: Yes, I found out late in the game. Once they reached out, I thought, "This is so exciting!!!" Then they told me, "You just gotta have lunch with Cheadle." I was a little nervous but if he didn't like me, then it was probably not meant to be.
Insider: Plus, who wouldn't like you?
Kristen: Exactly. Who on earth wouldn't not like me?!?
Insider: I was a huge Veronica Mars fan -- does its enduring popularity make it more difficult for you to pick TV projects?
Kristen: Yes and no. It's like having your first dog or child, nothing will replace that. Veronica Mars was fiercely intelligent and thankfully that's the kind of material I'm attracted to. I've tried to pepper my choices with intelligent ones. I think House of Lies is very, very intelligent. So I hope the fans are satisfied. It's hard to please the Veronica Mars crowd sometimes because it was such a well-constructed, beautiful show.
Insider: You talked about being able to make the show as dirty as you want. With that said, what was it like filming the pilot episode in that strip club?
Kristen: My strip club experience was interesting because, number one, we were there during daylight, so that's … yea. But the girls were lovely and beautiful but it’s a weird experience when they raise the lights in between takes.
Insider: Did they give you any tips for that underwear dance you do in an upcoming episode?
Kristen: Oh man .. no. I tried. It was one of, if not, the most embarrassing moment of my life. I don't do sexy, I do cute – I can do cute till the cows come home. But sexy is a lot harder, do you know what I mean? It's not what I feel.
Insider: Fans are excited to see that, but what are you excited for fans to see?
Kristen: I'm excited for the episode where we visit Jeannie's home town. You get to see a bit behind the scenes of what she's dealt with growing up, specifically with her being from a lower class family. I'm excited for that to be revealed because when you have characters who are so cutthroat and antagonistic, you do need to see what makes them tick. You need to see why they do the things they do, so I'm glad they reveal that because it makes Jeannie a little more sympathetic.
Insider: In addition to House of Lies, you co-star with John Krasinski & Drew Barrymore in Big Miracle. What appealed to you with that movie?
Kristen: I liked that it was an actual event. It was such an inspiring story on so many levels. It's a comment on cultures clashing, the Americans judging the inupiats and the way they live. It'll tug on people's heartstrings because for some reason, we feel that whales are like us. More so than a lot of other animals. There were so many parts of the script that I liked beyond it being a fascinating, inspiring story.
Insider: Like the rockin' 80s wardrobe you wear in the movie?
Kristen: Oh, you have no idea. You're not ready. Nobody is. The one thing I really wanted to do was wear Lee Press On nails, which incidentally was the first monologue I ever memorized for a commercial audition. They were baby pink iridescent nails and before shooting, I begged for approval and no one seemed to care. Ken Kwapis, our director, was like, "I don't care what nail polish you wear. I have a whole movie to make." Cut to the editors and Ken emailing me, saying, "We love every single shot where we can see your nails! We want more nails!" It's a comment on the times because that's what my moms hands looked like.
Insider: You also co-star in the vignette film Movie 43, and play Supergirl?
Kristen: Oh yea, it's happening. Legit Supergirl costume. It's me, Justin Long as Robin, Jason Sudeikis as Batman, Uma Thurman as Lois Lane and it's about Gotham City speed dating. We're all switching tables and flirting.
Insider: That said, who do you think the most attractive superhero is?
Kristen: I'm not an underpants on the outside kind of girl. You know? Keep it to yourself. Let me get there if I want to get there. It's too much too soon. Is it cute if I wear the bra on the outside of my shirt? No. I'd look like a lunatic. So I would have to say Clark Kent because his underpants are on the inside. Suit is always a good look. And those glasses? Forget about it. I love those.
Insider: You've also supply the voice of Gossip Girl -- a show that currently has split fans into two camps: ones that want Blair with Chuck and ones that want her with Dan. Where do you fall?
Kristen: This is just my opinion as Kristen Bell, but I can't get enough of Blair with Chuck. Obsessed.
Insider: OK, and finally -- the million dollar question: What is cuter, a yawning puppy or a sneezing panda?
Kristen: Neither. A baby sloth. Screw your answers. Above anything! Have you ever seen one?
Insider: Apparently not....
Kristen: [To assistant] Do you have an iPhone? YouTube: "It's Bathtime Too Cute Animal Planet." Can I explain something to you?
Kristen: I Google Baby Sloths maybe 2-3 times a week. I've been obsessed with sloths for as long as I can remember. They must be my spirit animal or something. There's nothing cuter than a baby sloth. It doesn't exist in my opinion. OK, maybe a slow Loris. Maybe. On a good day. And if it's a baby slow loris. You’re gonna die. You’re not ready. Watch this video and cry your eyes out.
House of Lies airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime.