NEW YORK (AP) — Lake Bell can be annoying when she’s watching TV or a movie with her husband. That’s because she tends to watch with a director’s eye.
“My husband gets very frustrated,” she said in a recent interview. “We sit down to watch a movie and I’m like, ‘I can’t. This piece of casting is really taking me out of the movie.’ He’ll be like, ‘Lake, what’s taking me out of the movie is you talking.’ I’ll be like, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry’ and a minute later I’ll be like, ‘Why would you light like that?'”
Bell, 36, is a busy actress with roles in the upcoming Netflix revival of “Wet Hot American Summer” and Adult Swim’s off-kilter comedy “Childrens Hospital” (airing Fridays at midnight). She’s now filming the crime thriller movie “Shot Caller” with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jon Bernthal.
Bell is also a director. She wrote, directed, co-produced and starred in 2013’s “In a World,” which received positive reviews. Her next film, an adaptation of “The Emperor’s Children” based on the book by Claire Messud, is in pre-production. Noah Baumbach is writing the screenplay.
She talked about her various projects with The Associated Press in a recent interview.
Associated Press: You began directing with a short film. What was it about directing that appealed to you?
Bell: The first day I thought, ‘My god, I feel so at home. What a great comradery. This quenches my thirst for something creative in a way I never knew was possible.’ I sort of loved the bustle of a thousand questions. Women are inherently kind of multitaskers.
AP: John Fithian, the president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, recently called 2015 the year of the woman in cinema, largely because of more female leading roles. There still aren’t a lot of female directors though. Why?
Bell: Look, I’m on the board of Women and Film. I’m in favor of any organization that supports the community of female filmmakers but in the same breath I’m excited for when we don’t need organizations like that. … In the studio system I think there is a dearth.
AP: Do you want to direct a big movie with a big budget?
Bell: I absolutely want to do that, but I probably would want more control than would be allowed. Maybe that’s the fear. The fear is you’re not going to have much control. … With more money brings more fear and when you’re trying to be creative in a fear-based environment it’s dangerous. Then decisions are made out of fear, not what’s best for the film. I’m very interested in seeing where my career as a director goes.
AP: Do you also want to keep acting?
Bell: Yeah, because I learned how to direct by being in the trenches of movies. Getting to be a student from the inside looking out, and if you’re a respectful observer you can sponge lots of information. That was my film school. Every set that I’m on as an actor, I love to see how other directors run their ship.
AP: Is it hard to direct your peers?
Bell: The first time I did it I thought, ‘Oh, my god. Are they gonna raz me through this?’ But in the end we have a great respect for each other. … We are really taught to wrangle. Being on the set of ‘Childrens Hospital’ is a license to act 12 years old. We are despicable. It’s so bad. … It is so absurd. I think of myself sitting like a civilized person right now and I’m shocked how ridiculous it can get.
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