After several years away from the small screen in a string of feature film roles, Kristen Bell is making a return to television with “House of Lies” – and because it’s Showtime, she’s bringing unbleeped words and barely covered naughty bits with her. Bell was straight-faced when she gave PopcornBiz the lowdown on her new role, so we’ll believe her – for now.
Tell us about the world the show takes place in and the job that you guys do.
Well, it's about a group of cutthroat management consultants that will do anything and everything it takes to get the job. No one really knows what consultants actually do and I don't think that consultants know. They know that they need to walk in there and convince you that they're necessary, not unlike an actor's job. I will say there are striking similarities there. So there's a lot of putting it together on the fly which keeps the pace of the show up because you never know if it's about to unravel.
What drew you to the role of Jeannie Van Der Hooven?
A couple of different elements. Showtime because cable has a lot more leeway to do what they want. They're not under the thumb of anything really because subscription based is really spectacular from a writer's point of view. Don Cheadle – that was a part of it. He is exceeding my expectations. Being able to work with him, I was all ready really excited, but I feel like my performance has been elevated because of him. I feel like in a weird way that I try to soak up a little bit of his brilliance. He is charisma personified. He's done this forever and it's what he's meant to be doing. I kind of worship him. It's really sad. It's a very, very different role than anything I've ever played. Number one, it's an adult. Check. I'm playing my age. Yes! The character is very flawed and I think that's what makes it interesting. She has a lot of issues and doesn't do everything right.
Don's character is casually suggesting that he and Jeannie will sleep together. What does your character make of that?
I think secretly she might be interested, but she gets around. Don't worry about her sex life. She's hot which is interesting and awkward to shoot, but surprisingly feels very safe. They're very respectful about it because I did that in "[Forgetting] Sarah Marshall" a little bit, but haven't done a ton of that kind of stuff, those sort-of-simulated-sex scenes. They've actually been feeling weirdly comfortable.
Did you get uptight about it at first, going to the gym 50 times a week?
Oh, yeah, from a body standpoint absolutely. I just wanted to feel comfortable, but then a day before you do it you just carb-load because you say, "F this. I have one life," and then you just have a bucket of Oreos. I wasn't I think uptight about shooting. It was very measured, the way that I went about it, talking to the producers. They were basically like, "You own it. So, tell us what you will do. Tell us what you won't do." It just made me feel very in control, which is kind of all that you can ask for.
"House of Lies" debuts this Sunday, January 8th at 10 PM ET on Showtime