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PopEntertainment.com > Feature Interviews - Actresses > Features Interviews F to J > Alyson Hannigan

ALYSON HANNIGAN

MAKES HER DATES

by Brad Balfour

Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: February 12, 2006.

Though 29 year-old actress Alyson Hannigan made her rep as Willow Rosenberg, the dorky lesbian sorceress pal of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she has really established herself as a new comic talent through her work in films like those in the American Pie series of films and her new TV show How I Met Your Mother. Now she handles the lead in the ultimate parody of romantic comedies, Date Movie, playing Julia Jones, a searcher for love in a cruel world. From huge to svelte, she finally meets the man of her dreams, the very British Grant Fonckyerdoder, but before they wed they reprise scenes from everything from My Big Fat Greek Wedding to Meet the Parents to The Wedding Planner and many more.

You've joined an auspicious group of fat suit alumni such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Martin Lawrence.

Exactly. I had always heard stories of people going insane about wearing prosthetic makeup, and I was always like "yeah, yeah quit you're whining." But now I understand. There's a weird thing about having something glued to your face for so many hours during the day and I can see how someone can go insane.

How long did it take to put on the make up?

It took two hours for the hands and the face and it took about a half an hour to get into the suit and to get dressed. So it took two and half hours. We got it down pretty quickly. It took more in the beginning but then we got it down to a science?

How was it wearing a fat suit?

It’s quite warm. There was a lot of material. It was very, very hot. Much hotter than I thought it would be. It was interesting how it affected me. I definitely became much more lethargic. The things I take for granted being my size, I really learned how much easier it is for me. Especially on the set where there are a lot of light stands and small places where you can just squeeze through to get on set. And in that suit I couldn't. I had to find alternate way to get on set. It sounds so minor but it gave me a lot more compassion of the struggles that big people have to go through.

Did any of your Buffy crew go through any of that?

Well the demons had to go through way more than I did. I can't complain about my hours. Some of the demons on our show would take four or five hours.

Are you inherently funny?

Oh, I don't know, I've always loved making people laugh. I've always loved funny people. I remember with my dad, he was quite funny, when ever I'd see him Id be like, dad be funny be funny. I thought I was a switch he could turn on. I was always egging him on to make me laugh. I was always enchanted by people that could make me laugh. Also by a young age I learned that if I could make my mom, laugh when I was in trouble, I would get in less trouble if she was laughing about it. So that came in handy a lot too.

Is that what you use on your directors?

I guess my whole life I had a sense of humor but I think that Buffy was really the first time I got to work it.

Do you go back and look at the old episodes of Buffy?

No I haven't. There are actually a few episodes I haven't even seen. It's a little like looking into an old year book. You know, oh what was I thinking wearing that? Look at my hair! It's so weird! But perhaps I can get over the vanity stuff and enjoy it.

But in this movie you get to enjoy your beauty.

Yeah they cleaned me up pretty good.

You must have had some pretty interesting souvenirs from your movies?

Yeah. I guess I should be better at keeping props and stuff. With Buffy, once we knew it was going to end, we definitely got our hands on stuff. But I don't know. I really should be paying more attention. With eBay these years, I could be making a mint.

I'm not going to ask you about your acting method with this movie.

Probably not. I'm pretty sure you won't be saying, “For your consideration” for this movie. But I did prepare. Since it was a spoof comedy and I hadn't done that before, I thought I better rent some spoof movies and I watched a couple minutes of a few different ones and I was like, ok I'm going to rent some romantic movies, not the spoof movies. The straighter you play it the funnier it's going to be. So I did a little research.

What did you rent?

The romantic movies, I went through the script and made a list of all the movies we were spoofing. The ones I hadn't seen I watched. The ones we spoofed a lot like My Best Friend's Wedding and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The list goes on for days.

So go on.

Ok well there is Wedding Crashers, My Best Friends Wedding, Pretty Woman. Say Anything…, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Napoleon Dynamite. There's The Runaway Bride, The Wedding Planner, Legally Blonde, Shallow Hal. I really should bring the list out.

Loved that scene with the woman and her big rear end.

That was from The Wedding Planner, because that's J.Lo. There's also Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and King Kong.

What moment made you laugh?

It was definitely hard to keep a straight face – but the scene that made me laugh the most while we were shooting it, and it seems so ridiculous, but the scene is just in the montage. It’s a spoof from Jerry Maguire when we're in the elevator and the couple is making out and I'm holding the goldfish. And for some reason we couldn't keep a straight face. They were really going for it. I'm sure on the DVD you'll see it. The guy would lick my neck and put his hand on Adam [Campbell's] head and massage his head. He was hilarious. I was just crying to hold this poor little goldfish straight and not get him smooshed. I was crying I was laughing so hard.

The goldfish survived?

The goldfish survived. He now resides in our prop man's daughter's room.

Are you an improvisational actor?

Yeah, definitely. Because the directors were off with the writers they were very good about saying if you want to do something of your own and everything. We would. I’m always a big fan of getting a few as written and then have fun with it. It's the writer's words, so I don't want to be the one to change them. We would always do one take at the end for fun or something.

Which movie was the hardest to work on?

I had so much fun doing this movie. Everyday it was like Christmas to go and play and get to do the things we got to do. It was just such a blast to work with Jennifer [Coolidge] and Fred [Willard] again and Eddie [Griffin]. I was in heaven. It was a phenomenally great experience.

You seem to do movies with people you've worked with over and over again.

I know! But in this movie I actually had scenes with Jennifer. Technically I've done four movies with her but this is one where I had scenes with her. I'm just going to work my way through all of [director/actor/writer] Christopher Guest's actors.

So are you going to do a Christopher Guest movie [Spinal Tap, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind]?

I would love that. But he has his little group. I would love to get into that. Maybe if I just show up even if I wasn't on the call sheet.

What movie has been an inspiration to you?

I love comedy. One of my favorite comedies was Parenthood, with Steve Martin. I loved that movie so much because it was different type of families struggling with different types of issues and so realistic and so genuinely funny. I loved that movie.

Who is the funniest person you've ever met?

Oh gosh, that's a very, very tough question. It doesn't really count because I've met her on her show but Ellen DeGeneres I think could be the funniest person I've ever met.

When you did Buffy, did you think of it as a comedy?

No we could never put it into a category. I think the tragic thing about it is that we were always put up for a nomination for drama and the show never got nominated. But had we put a Desperate Housewives and put in comedy, I think it would have got a nod. Back then you just didn't do that if it was an hour long. It was kind of everything. We got to do drama. We got to do comedy. We got to do horror. We got to do action.

Do you miss everyone?

 I do. Luckily I talk to my favorites at least weekly.

Were you ever tempted to do standup?

No. I have a fear of reading things that I write in public. Maybe one day but I don't think I have the guts to do it.

What do you think is the best thing to do on Valentines Day?

I love candy. So he can do no wrong, if he gives me candy, I'm a happy girl.

Any favorite flavors?

Sweet Tarts make this red little heart shaped candy for Valentines Day and they're really good. I don't know their exact name but they're really yummy.

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT ALYSON HANNIGAN HAD TO SAY TO US IN 2008!

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Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: February 12, 2006.

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