Five Minute Q&A: Lake Bell

On rom-coms, accents and unfortunate dates

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Words: Olivia McCormick

Born in New York and graduate of London’s Rose Bruford College, Lake Bell is a creative powerhouse. Since her acting career started in 2002, she has appeared in films Over My Dead Body, What Happens In Vegas and No Strings Attached. The 36-year-old mother of one also regularly appeared on TV shows Boston Legal and How To Make It In America. Bell's next project is starring alongside Simon Pegg in upcoming British romcom Man Up, about a mistaken identity on a blind date.  
 
ELLE: The term ‘romcom’ has a few negative connotations, but Man Up seems different. What excited you about the project?
LB: What I think is sad about the rom-com genre is that it has adopted this pejorative title. I think the reason why there haven’t been as many great ones is because we are fighting against the genre itself. If it is a romantic comedy then snuggle up to the fact that it can be a really earnest, refreshing feeling to feel good after a movie. 
 
ELLE: Did you do any fun bonding activities with Simon Pegg before you started filming?
LB: We did a lot of rehearsal, which was a luxury because you don’t often get that. In rehearsals where we were improvising, were really the only times we saw each other outside of working and that was integral to creating the bond. For me it was really great because I had just shot a movie in Thailand and been doing night shifts on Skype with the accent dialect training; the second I landed in London we started rehearsals and it was important a) for bonding but b) I kept my accent throughout my stay in London.
 
ELLE: Even in downtime?
LB: Yeah, not on the phone with my husband but everything else. On the tube, with my old college cronies, and at the shops.

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ELLE: Do you enjoy doing the British accent?
LB: I do, I love accents in general. I’m obsessed with dialects and I had to write a whole movie about it called In A World. It’s something that interests me, but I have a soft spot for this particular accent because I went to college in the UK.

ELLE: Did you reference anyone specific for Nancy?
LB: Nancy’s an amalgamation of my college pals, my roommates, people that I love, and a little bit of Tess [Morris, the writer of Man Up]. She’s a Wandsworth girl, not too posh. It was a characterisation that I really wanted to make tangible. I think especially because I’ve lived here, I knew who I wanted to make this person. I wanted the equivalent of someone I would relate to in my world.
 
ELLE: Have you been on any extraordinary dates in real life?
LB: Yeah. I mean, I’ve been on disastrous dates. I’ve only had one blind date, which wasn't that interesting. I remember going on one disastrous date with a musician when I was 24. We were at my house, to make out, and I remember he went to the bathroom turned on my shower. He was in there for so long and he threw up in my shower, and then passed out on the floor, naked. 
  
ELLE: Has there been any book that has changed your outlook?
LB: My older brother is the guy in the family who is constantly reading books that he’s referencing, texting quotes, doing a lot of ‘I was reading this book and you should really…’. I related to that conceit of being preached to about yet another book. So I don’t really have one that I overly reference. But if you need any, call my brother Luke. He’s got so many!
 
Man Up is in cinemas on 29 May.

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