She’s constantly described as “not your typical leading lady,” and that designation may be just fine with Elizabeth Banks. She wants to do things differently, and that’s exactly what she’s done throughout her career.
Banks has acted in 80 films and also has six directing credits. Banks began her career as many young women do in Hollywood, in a small part in a film almost no one saw. From there is was a series of TV on-shots and supporting roles in movies like Shaft, Spider-Man, Catch Me if You Can, and the campy Wet Hot American Summer. Banks reprised her role as Ms. Brandt in two more Spider-Man films, then played bigger roles in Invincible and the 40-Year-Old Virgin. Fans loved her in smart, comic roles, so it’s not surprising her star-making role turned out to be the goofy, cult-favorite Zack and Miri Make a Porno.
Branching Out Leads To Massive Success
But Banks refused to be typecast as the “funny blonde.” She branched out, as a doctor through three seasons on Scrubs, Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games and the girl next door who wants to be a superhero in The Lego Movie.
While many actors are so laser focused on “building” their career, they turn down roles that might “keep them down,” Banks hasn’t been afraid to revisit the camp that helped build her career, doing a few more spots under the “Wet Hot American” banner as well as comedies such as Walk of Shame. In this way, she has not only kept working but kept giving back to her fan base, who see her as not afraid to be that fun girl next door, who’s alluring but also comfortable being one of the guys. It’s a rare quality to have all of that going for you at once, but Banks manages to pull it off. She’s happy to be working and refuses to be defined by a role.
Now Banks wants to turn that success outward, helping encourage other women in their fight for success in whatever field they’ve chosen. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Banks said: “To borrow a phrase that I know very little about, I think it’s important for women to be real ‘woke’ right now… I do feel like young women, in particular, have woken up to the fact that things they took for granted can no longer be taken for granted. You’ve got to keep fighting for progress.”
Women Are In The System
Along those lines, Banks is working with a production company that is actively searching for up and coming female talent: actors, writers, directors … female voices to help continue to evolve the Hollywood system that has, for so long, written women over 30 off. Banks said she wanted to see something different in the culture around her, so she decided to do something about it. But, still, she’s not willing to get cast in the more plastic mold many “girl power” feminists want to force their colleagues into. Banks is still well aware of how fun it can be to play a little “bad girl” eye candy on the big screen, leading to her roles directing and producing the upcoming Charlie’s Angels reboot.
Whatever happens, Banks says she plans to continue defining her career … and helping other women do the same “I am the byproduct of all of the anecdotal and now accurate information that we have about the number of roles available to women of a certain age …The problem is that life was getting a little mundane and boring, and I wasn’t feeling challenged… If you want to fight being bored in this business as a woman, especially as a woman who has been around for a minute, you have to figure it out on your own.”