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Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel Talk About ‘When in Rome’

Josh Duhamel and Kristen Bell in When in Rome

Josh Duhamel and Kristen Bell in ‘When in Rome.’

© Touchstone Pictures

Jan 23, 2010 – The romantic comedy When in Rome finds Kristen Bell playing Beth, a New Yorker who is into her career and totally unlucky when it comes to love. Josh Duhamel, no stranger to romantic roles, co-stars as Nick, a reporter who falls for her charms. But Beth isn’t sure whether Nick’s really into her or if she somehow forced him to be by stealing the coin he tossed into a ‘fountain of love’ in Rome. Together for a press conference to promote the Touchstone Pictures film, Bell and Duhamel talked about what it was like working in Rome, working with each other, and getting physical with the comedy.

Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel When In Rome Press Conference

Kristen, are you as much of a workaholic as your character? If you met a guy, would he have to be as important to you as your job as an actress?

Kristen Bell: “I think your significant other should be way more important than your work. Personally, I love working. I don’t know that I’d say I’m a workaholic because I also love maxing and relaxing. (Laughing) So, I don’t think I’m a workaholic, but currently I feel I’m at a really lovely place and I’m grateful to be where I am so I like working, too.”

Your character doesn’t believe in magic or superstitions. What about yourself?

Kristen Bell: “I’m not very superstitious at all. I never have been. No, not at all. I’ll walk under ladders. Who cares?”

Even when you were little you didn’t believe?

Kristen Bell: “No, not really.”

Josh Duhamel: “One of her hobbies is breaking mirrors, in fact.”

Kristen Bell: “In fact. Absolutely. I like to smash mirrors any chance I get. No, I’m not superstitious at all.”

Kristen, how was it carrying When in Rome?

Kristen Bell: “Well, I mean, first of all, being surrounded by these guys is so flattering because they all have a style of comedy that I – just plug your ears (to Josh) – really envy and laugh out loud often at them. I don’t know, I was grateful for the opportunity. I’m glad that they had the faith in me to be able to pull it off, and I just tried to do the best I could.”

Josh, you had the opportunity in this to exercise the physical comedy muscle that we haven’t often seen you do. How about getting the opportunity to do that? Is that fun or do you worry about hurting yourself?

Josh Duhamel: “Mark [Steven Johnson, director] about me hurting myself more than I did.”

Kristen Bell: “We took out a huge policy on his face before we started this movie. A hugepolicy.”

Josh Duhamel: “Mark and I had…if we had any arguments in this film, it was for that. Let me just explain the situation. There was a scene where I was supposed to run and run into this car. But the stunt coordinator had it set up where the car was going to sweep out my leg and I was going to roll under the front of the hood and roll up onto the windshield and look in and see that it was my friend, Puck. It wasn’t the most well conceived stunt ever performed, but it took us a few times. I’m running at this car and the first two times we did it, I literally went right over the top of the car and one time fell on my shoulder, on my neck. Remember? And then another time I fell some other way over the other edge of the car. They almost pulled the plug on the stunt, but I talked him into letting me do it one more time because I’d figured it out and when we did it right, we literally took out the windshield on the front of the car.”

“But to answer your question, no, this was more in line with the way I am anyway. I’m more of a klutz than I am anything, so I just had a lot of fun coming up with as much stuff as we could in this movie.”

Can you both talk about starring in romantic comedies and about how you build that sort of relationship slowly enough that it pays off in the end for the audience? Could you talk about that rhythm of romantic comedy?

Kristen Bell: “I mean, it’s definitely a difficult thing to capture. I’ve seen a ton of movies where I’ve believed the couple, and I’ve seen a ton of movies where I have not believed them at all. Unfortunately, as an audience member, you check out if you don’t believe them. So we knew it was really important, and I think that’s something you trust your director to bring as well and just sort of capture those moments. But Josh and I got along so well right from the very beginning that I think it was just natural that it read as romantic chemistry, because we got along very well in real life.”

“I think that, I don’t know, it’s kind of a crap shoot. You just have to hope for the best because you really don’t know until you’re in the editing booth and he figures out whether or not we captured it. I mean, what I liked about this is that it’s not the girl chasing the guy, which you so often see. Like, the sad, downtrodden girl who is just chasing after the guy all the time and sort of revolving around his world. This was sort of the opposite. I mean, who wouldn’t want all of these guys chasing after them so I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll do it.'”

Josh Duhamel: “I think for Kristen and I, because we had to start out so quick and fall in love so quick in order in a way to propel the movie through, we had to really make those first couple scenes work – at the wedding and the stuff afterwards, you know, when we get back to New York. Otherwise, it would have felt like there was nothing there to begin with so what’s she really chasing after? So we really focused on that wedding scene and trying to establish as much of a love at first sight thing as we could so that when she got back to New York and all these guys were chasing after her, it would make some sense.”

Kristen Bell: “And the other thing I will say is that, and I don’t know if this was strategic on Mark’s part, but we shot that wedding scene very, very late in the game. And so we had already established a friendship, and so it was much easier to connect immediately. We knew each other’s rhythms and we knew how we were going to play it, and so our first meeting was actually the end of the movie. And I think the way in which you shoot it is really beneficial to your actors sometimes, so we lucked out there.”

Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel When In Rome Press Conference

Kristen, do you subscribe to the adage that you’ve got to play the character with the utmost seriousness when you’re doing the comic scenes?

Kristen Bell: “Yes and no. You have to be the character, but lucky for me the character was written fairly klutzy. I mean, people embarrass themselves on a daily basis. I know I do. And this character did a lot, which I think is what makes her likable and also leaves room for a lot of funnies. That vase breaking scene allowed me to get really physical, which sometimes when you see people getting physical, it’s just very funny. I’m very klutzy in real life to begin with and we just captured that on film. Basically, there wasn’t much training or stunt coordinating going on. I would just trip. Mark would happen to be rolling the camera and we would put it in the movie.”

Would you say you constantly fall over things in real life?

Kristen Bell: “There’s a fair amount of that, yes. I also bruise like a peach. So yeah, I knock into things and I’m not the most coordinated person in the world.”

How was your experience in Italy?

Kristen Bell: “Glorious.”

Josh Duhamel: “I loved it. I mean, the only thing was it was just so hot. We were in the middle of a heat wave when we were shooting the stuff in Rome.”

Kristen Bell: “And Italy has not discovered air conditioning. Yeah, that was different for us because we were so spoiled with every room being air conditioned.”

Josh Duhamel: “But, for myself, I got to study a lot of art history in school, in college, and it was always a dream of mine to go to Rome and see some of the things there. So that, to me, was the best part of it. I had a day off when we were there. I remember I rented a Vespa and just went out and didn’t know where I was going and got to see a bunch of the sights in Rome. And I still can’t believe that I had the balls to do it because there’s nine million Vespas running around and cars and not knowing where I was going. So it was a great day.”

Kristen, in the movie you picked Josh, the good-looking ex-jock, but in real life, out of all these characters, which one would you have picked?

Kristen Bell: (Laughing) “I’d still pick Josh.”

But character-wise, would it be the funny guy or the artist?

Kristen Bell: “Oh gosh. I’d still pick the funny guy.”

Kristen, is it true there’s going to be a Veronica Mars movie?

Kristen Bell: “Not as of yet. I’ve answered this question a lot and the way it stands right now, from the information that I have, is that Rob Thomas wrote the script or the treatment or the synopsis or whatever, and we brought it to Warner Bros. and Joel Silver and Warner Bros. had said there’s no enthusiasm to make a Veronica Mars movie at this point, which means they don’t think they can sell tickets. I think that the Veronica Mars fans would say otherwise but…”

Josh Duhamel: “I’d be there.”

Kristen Bell: “Thanks, Josh. It’s all a matter of convincing them that people would see it, which I know some of the online groups that are still so dedicated are trying to do, which is awesome. But at this point we have no control because… One day Rob and I will just shoot it in his backyard. I’m positive of that.”

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January 29, 2010 - Posted by | 1

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