Are you and your fellow collegiettes looking for a fun movie to watch during your next girls’ night out? It’s your lucky day! Elizabeth Banks’s new romantic comedy, Walk of Shame, just hit theaters today. The movie tells the story of an aspiring news anchor whose one-night stand leaves her stranded in downtown Los Angeles without her phone, ID or money… eight hours before a big job interview. Even cooler? Her Campus had the chance to chat with Elizabeth about the film and her character, Meghan Miles, as well as what it’s like to be a leading lady in Hollywood.
Her Campus: Do you think men ever have to put up with the “walk of shame”?
Elizabeth Banks: Yes, guys of course can have a walk of shame! But I think it’s all about your feelings about yourself. Meghan Miles doesn’t really feel particularly shameful about what happened [in the movie]. [The film] is about a woman at a crisis point wanting control of her life and this night, and it’s all about how to take control back into your own life. That’s the feeling I think she’s having, just that desire for a whole new life.
HC: You’re shooting all over Los Angeles for this film! What was your favorite part to shoot, and how was it touring all over LA?
EB: LA is my home, so it’s rare to make a movie at home and it’s even more rare to make a film in LA. And even more fun than that is spending a lot of time in downtown LA, which is where we shot probably 85 percent of the movie. It’s sort of like a hipster haven right now. There are so many great restaurants! My favorite thing about making this movie was the good food. But I didn’t eat a lot of it; I don’t know if you saw the dress [I wear in the film], but I was on a diet for the entire movie.
But I really enjoyed finding out more about the city in which I live and finding lots of great restaurants. We had a lot of fun evenings of hitting the bars and really living this character!
HC: Do you relate at all to your character Meghan Miles?
EB: Of course! You have to see a little bit of yourself in every character you play and bring some of your own experience to it. I spent my early twenties in Philadelphia and New York, where I had a lot of fun nights. I spent a lot of late nights walking home from places and literally ‘finding my way,’ and that’s what this movie is about.
I think [we’ve all been there] when you’re at that stage of your life when you’re not sure what the rest of your life is supposed to look like or when you don’t have an idea of what you want your life to be. I think that’s relatable to everybody. It’s certainly relatable to me. I’ve definitely had some setbacks, big moments and questions of, “Am I going in the right direction?” when a door closed and [I was] looking for that open window. Those are all the things that Meghan and this 24-hour period in her life are a metaphor for: this journey that we’re all on.
HC: What are your thoughts on the idea that a woman can’t carry a film?
EB: I have very complicated thoughts about it. I think that, first of all, you have to make funny, good movies. I think this movie is really fun and funny. It’s really relatable, and we made it for the right audience. I love the tone of it and I had a lot of fun making it. I’m excited for people to see it. The rest is out of our control in the business. But I think Johnny Depp worried about Transcendence, you know? Some movies work, and some movies don’t work. We’re all doing our best to entertain.
Of course I think there’s always talk in the media about movies for women. I’m directing the sequel to Pitch Perfect, and the only reason we get to make a sequel is that Pitch Perfect was a hit, and it was a whole group of women. So I think when you put out a good product and you give audiences somebody to root for, that can be a winning formula whether it’s led by a man or a woman.
HC: What attracted you to working on this particular film?
EB: I just felt like I knew who Meghan was, and I thought I could be funny. I mean, it really comes down to that. I really wanted to do a role that used my abilities as a comedienne; I don’t get to do that very often! Or if I do, it’s usually in support of funny men, and I love my funny men, but I really relish the opportunity of being able to play this character and present a complicated girl who’s figuring out what to do with her life and who’s really a good girl at heart. I felt like she was a really free character, and I wanted to delve into that.
HC: Were there any previous performances that you used to help your character in this movie?
EB: Well, this movie really owes a lot to Martin Scorsese’s After Hours starring Griffin Dunne. I absolutely love that movie, and one of the reasons I loved this movie was because I saw the parallels. I loved updating it to downtown LA and giving [Meghan] all these fun characters to interact with and throwing all of these obstacles in her way.
HC: In the film, Meghan is a good girl one day and a daring woman on an adventure the next. Which side of the character would you say is most like you?
EB: I think life should be an adventure! I think that’s what Meghan learns. I think if we all approached every day as, “How can I get out of my comfort zone?” life would be a lot more interesting.
Want to see more of Walk of Shame? Check out the trailer below!