Krysten Ritter – Life Happens to the B—- in Apt. 23
by Jay S. Jacobs
It’s a good week to be Krysten Ritter.
On Wednesday night, her buzzworthy new sit-com Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23, in which she plays the title character,premieres on ABC. Then Friday, her first starring film Life Happens – which she also co-wrote, opens in New York, LA and other selected cities.
An impressive week for any actress – but not a huge surprise for anyone who has been following the pretty brown-haired actress’ career. She’s been stealing scenes in supporting roles for years, popping up on shows like All My Children, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls and an acclaimed arc on Breaking Bad. In the meantime, she has played a series of gorgeous best friends in romantic comedies like She’s Out of Your League, What Happens in Vegas, Confessions of a Shopaholic and 27 Dresses.
It was time for her to take the lead in a film. However, Ritter didn’t trust just anyone to launch her career. Therefore, she and her friend Kat Coiro got together to write a screenplay called BFF and Baby – which eventually became Life Happens. Ritter plays Kim, an LA party girl who has a wild life with her two besties (played by Kate Bosworth and Rachel Bilson) until she gets pregnant and she has to deal with the shock of being a single mom and how it changes her personal and professional life.
Then as she and Coiro (who directed the film) were getting Life Happens finished, Ritter was cast for Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23. Ritter gets to play the hysterically anti-PC Chloe, a New Yorker who cons women by having them move in with her, then scares them away to keep their rent and security deposit. She finally meets her match with June (Dreama Walker) who won’t scare away so easily. The series is turning out to be one of the most hotly anticipated shows of the spring.
And if all that wasn’t enough, Ritter also has the lead in the upcoming Amy (Clueless) Heckerling comedy Vamps co-starring Alicia Silverstone, Richard Lewis and Malcolm McDowell coming soon.
About a week before her two debuts, Ritter gave us a call to discuss both new projects.
I don’t believe you have children. What was it that inspired the film for you?
Kat and I are long time friends – my co-writer and she also directed it. We always wanted to do the female Swingers. We loved Wedding Crashers and felt like there was definitely a void of female-driven content. We ran into a lot of double-standards, where the girls come off slutty or stupid or ditzy. Kat went and had a baby in real life. One day we were driving around, eating some burritos. Some cute boys pull up next to us. And the baby cried. We literally looked at each other with chills. We were like, “Oh, my God, that’s the movie.” So that’s how it came about. That’s how it was born, the whole thing. (laughs)
Like you said, there are lots of male sort of buddy comedies out there, but before Bridesmaids last year, there were very few about women. Were you trying to show that women can be just as wild and crazy as the guys can?
Yeah. I always think that girls behaving badly or truthfully is funny. It’s real. It’s pretty authentic. The dialogue in the movie, some of it has come out of our own mouths. So, yeah. It’s crazy to me that it’s taken this long. Thank God for Bridesmaids.
In Life Happens, you weren’t just the star, but also co-wrote the film. What was that experience like? Did it make it feel different acting out your own lines? Did you have more invested in the making of the movie?
It was interesting, because a couple of weeks before the movie was starting, maybe not even that long, there was a time that I stepped away as a writer. So did Kat. She went off and did her shot list and her storyboarding, and I went off and worked with my acting teacher on the work. I approached the character as if I didn’t write it. I broke down the scenes. I found the beats. Sometimes I found things that I didn’t even know were there, because that’s what you do as an actor. Even if you don’t write the script, you go through and you mine for these seeds that the writers planted for you. It becomes your own. You make your choices. It takes on a life of its own. That happened, even though I had written the script. I found things. I was like, “Oh, my God, I’d never even thought of it that way.” So, it was really fun. It was really a challenge, but also the most rewarding experience, ever.
I read that you while writing the film, you were originally planning to play Deena, not Kim.
Yeah, and [Kat] wasn’t going to direct it. In the very early stages, we were just writing to write. Then the script started getting some attention, so we were like, “Okay, this will go out and at least we’ll have a writing credit. I’ll play the best friend.” Whatever. At least we’ll get it made. Then after the whole development of it all, we ended up making the original version and I starred and she directed. I think it’s kind of perfect how it all worked out.
Was it almost like a family affair? You and Kat are friends, and I believe her husband Rhys played your baby daddy…
The baby daddy. Yes. And Lauren Bratman, our producer, we’ve all lived together in a house. (laughs) Our editor. All of the actors were friends. Geoff Stults, I knew from She’s Out of My League. Justin Kirk and Kristen Johnston from Vamps. Rachel Bilson, I knew because she read with me for Vamps. Jason Biggs did a play with Rhys. Kate Bosworth did a movie with Rhys and then did a short film with Kat. It’s all very incestuous. My makeup artist designed the look for the movie. My stylist did all the wardrobe for the movie. It was literally pulling favors from everybody we know.
So as a non-mother, what was it like to deal with the babies on the set?
I’ve been around a lot of babies, actually. I have two godchildren. I raised my sister, who is only fifteen years old. I’ve always been around a lot of babies. The good thing about not having one is that you get that fix, but then you get to give it back at the end of the day. So, I’m very comfortable holding a baby. I just would hold it as much as possible. It, listen to me. (chuckles) I would hold the twins, Connor and Zach [Ross] as much as possible just to get comfortable. It’s the same way you would prep for anything. Like when I was doing Breaking Bad, I would cook fake heroin for hours, just to get really good at it. You just want it to be a part of your DNA.
Do you ever get the feeling that you have to calm down the wild life and be a bit more responsible – as your character decided in the film? There are a lot of temptations in the Hollywood scene.
Me in my personal life? No. God, no. I’m a grown woman and I’m a homebody. I work hard, so there’s not really time to mess around. But that’s just not something I’ve ever… I’ve never even been to a Hollywood club. I know nothing about it.
You have a new series getting great buzz called Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23.
I know, it’s so exciting!
What can we expect from the show?
Well, I play the B—-. I play this New York party girl.
Well, what does the B—- stand for?
Well, I play the bitch. Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23. You know, which was the original title. But I play this New York party girl with the morals of a pirate, who may or may not be a sociopath. I con young girls into moving in with me. I scare them off and keep their first, last [months rent] and security [deposit]. It’s really fun. It’s the best character ever. I’m having such a great time playing her, dressing up like her, cracking dirty jokes. It’s such a great experience for me as an actress. I love the character.
Is it fun to play such an evil role?
It’s really funny, because every once in a while, it’s like an excuse, you know? I think I said something recently and my boyfriend said, “Huh, that sounds like something the bitch would say.” (laughs) It’s definitely fun. But we’re on hiatus, we’ll see if we get a second series. We’re finished, so who knows. It was good timing, because I definitely found myself getting a little dirtier than necessary.
I was reading online that you were discovered in the Wyoming Valley Mall, which believe it or not, I believe I have been in. That’s outside of Wilkes-Barre (PA), right?
Yes. That’s freaky, you’ve been there?
Yeah, I had a friend who went to college not far away.
Thank God for that mall!
Now, how does one get discovered in a mall? And how did you get into acting?
You know, this is when I was sixteen. I was scouted. Model management, that’s what they do. They go to small towns and find girls and bring them to New York. I started modeling when I was sixteen. Going to New York for test shoots. Every once in a while, they would call with a job. Then during the summers, I would travel. I went to Tokyo when I was sixteen. Basically, I was modeling until I was nineteen years old – full time for about a year. My agent, I switched to Wilhelmina and they had an acting division. I was always sort of obnoxious and outgoing and bubbly. They said, “Oh, maybe we should send you on this commercial audition.” They did and I got it, and that’s what happened. This was in 1999. That was one of my first acting jobs. So, I’ve been acting since 1999, which is so crazy.
The first time I remember seeing you was in Gilmore Girls. How did you get involved in that and what was it like to be a part of such a classic series?
You know, it’s so funny, I had never watched Gilmore Girls. It was such a weird thing. After it came out, people in airports would be like (shrieks) “Oh, my God! You’re in Gilmore Girls!” I was like, wow, this is weird. I was recurring on Veronica Mars at the time. I lived in New York, so I was flying to San Diego to shoot. Then if I had a day off or two, I’d go up to LA to go to a lot of meetings or auditions. I auditioned for Gilmore Girls, and I got it. It was really exciting, but also really not exciting, because I lived in New York, and they hired me in LA. They wouldn’t fly me out. (laughs) At the end of the day, I kid you not, I was paying to be on that show. It was so crazy. But it was really nice, it got me started. I’ve been working consistently since 2004. That was just part of my journey. But I’d never seen Gilmore Girls and I paid to be on the show, so it’s weird for me. (laughs again)
You’ve also played a significant role in Breaking Bad. How did you get that role and what was being on the show like?
With Breaking Bad, that was just a good old-fashioned audition. I went in and auditioned, nothing too exciting. Yeah, it ended up being… who knew? When I did it, I had no idea. At that point, only seven episodes had aired. Bryan Cranston hadn’t won the Emmy yet. Then I did the show and people really started catching on. It ended up changing my whole life. People saw me in a different way. I had an amazing experience, working with Aaron Paul. It was just amazing.
Recently, you’ve been mostly doing supporting roles in stuff like She’s Out of Your League, Confessions of a Shopaholic and 27 Dresses. How cool is it to graduate to starring roles? Of course, you made at least one of them…
It’s fun. It’s all a progression. Baby steps. Every job prepares you for the next one. Obviously, this is my first time being the lead of a sitcom on ABC. That hasn’t happened before, so it definitely feels different. And bigger. More people involved. I approach it the same way, but yeah, it’s very exciting. For me it’s all about variety and I’ve been lucky to have gotten such a variety of characters to play.
I hear you’re also a singer and musician. With your busy acting career, do you have enough time to fuel that passion as well? What are you doing with that?
Yeah. You know, not as much as I would like, but I am putting out a record which will come out this summer on WT Records, which is really small. We just shot a music video. So, it’s something that is very personal and I’m not trying to have some big pop star career, trust me, but it’s another extension of what I do. For me it’s all the creative process. It all feels like the same job.
Copyright ©2012 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 10, 2012.
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