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Elizabeth Banks Bio
Elizabeth Banks (born February 10, 1974) is an American actress, producer, and director. Banks made her film debut in the low-budget independent film Surrender Dorothy (1998), and is known for her roles in such films as Wet Hot American Summer, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy (2002–07), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008), Role Models (2008), The Next Three Days (2010), Pitch Perfect (2012), The Lego Movie (2014), and The Hunger Games films (2012–15). In 2015, she portrayed Melinda Ledbetter, the girlfriend and later wife of the Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson, in Bill Pohlad‘s film Love & Mercy and made her directorial debut with Pitch Perfect 2, whose May 15–17 $69M opening weekend gross set a record for a first-time director.
On television, Banks had a recurring role as Avery Jessup on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, which gained her two Emmy Award nominations. She also had recurring roles on Scrubs and Modern Family. In 2015, she reprised her role as Lindsay for the Netflix miniseries Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.
Banks changed her name to avoid confusion with actress Elizabeth Mitchell. She made her acting debut in the 1998 independent film Surrender Dorothy, as Elizabeth Casey, and appeared in various films over the next seven years including Guy Ritchie‘s Swept Away before gaining more prominent widespread exposure through the 2005 comedy film The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
In August 2005, at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Banks starred in William Inge‘s Bus Stop as Cherie, the sexy, blonde, aspiring nightclub singer. Jeffrey Borak wrote that Banks’ portrayal was acted “with poise, clarity and a shrewd feel for Cherie’s complexities. Her performance is all of a piece and in harmony, stylistically, with the performances around her…” In 2005, she appeared on the series Stella, and in May 2006, she had a role in the season five finale of the NBC sitcom Scrubs as Dr. Kim Briggs, the love interest of J.D. (Zach Braff). The character appeared throughout seasons six, seven, and eight as a recurring guest star.
In 2006, Banks appeared in the American football drama film Invincible, in which she played Mark Wahlberg‘s love interest. Later, she and co-star Wahlberg were nominated for the “Best Kiss” award at the MTV Movie Awards. That same year, she landed the starring role in the comedy-horror film Slither.
In 2007, Banks played the female lead in the comedy film Meet Bill, alongside Aaron Eckhart and Jessica Alba. That same year, she had a small role in the Christmas comedy film Fred Claus, co-starring Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti as Santa’s little helper, Charlyne. In 2008, she played the ex-wife and mother of the daughter of Ryan Reynolds lead in the comedy film Definitely, Maybe, alongside Isla Fisher and Ryan Reynolds, starred with Seth Rogen as the eponymous female lead in the Kevin Smith comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and played United States First Lady Laura Bush in W., Oliver Stone‘s biopic of George W. Bush.
In 2009, Banks appeared in the thriller The Uninvited, a remake of the Korean horror film A Tale of Two Sisters. The film was about an intrusive stepmother who makes life miserable for the teen daughters of her new husband. Banks based her character, Rachel, on Rebecca De Mornay‘s character in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. “It was very important to me that every line reading I gave could be interpreted two ways,” says Banks of her role, “So that when you go back through the movie you can see that”.
Banks is a frequent co-star of actor Paul Rudd, the two having appeared in five films together to date (Wet Hot American Summer, The Baxter, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Role Models, and Our Idiot Brother). She is also a frequent co-star of actor Tobey Maguire, the two having also appeared in five films together (Spider-Man, Seabiscuit, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, and The Details).
Banks was cast as a love interest for Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) in the fourth season of the Emmy Award–winning sitcom 30 Rock. Intended to appear in four episodes in 2010, Banks went on to become a recurring character with 13 appearances by the end of the fifth season, including her marriage in the episode Mrs. Donaghy. Her performance in season five earned her a nomination for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards.
Banks appeared in the movie The Hunger Games (2012), playing Effie Trinket, a woman from “The Capitol” who escorts the District 12 tributes to the Hunger Games. She reprised the role in the films The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014), and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015). Banks co-starred in the 2014 movie Every Secret Thing, playing Detective Nancy Porter investigating the disappearance of a young child with similarities to a case she had previously been involved with.
In 2014, Banks was recognized by Elle Magazine during The Women in Hollywood Awards, honoring women for their outstanding achievements in film, spanning all aspects of the motion picture industry, including acting, directing, and producing.
Banks portrayed Melinda Ledbetter Wilson, the wife of Brian Wilson, in the 2015 biopic Love and Mercy, which is based on the life of the legendary musician and founding member of The Beach Boys, as portrayed by John Cusack. After producing and appearing, as Gail, in the first Pitch Perfect film, Banks directed its sequel, Pitch Perfect 2 (2015), making her feature directorial debut. She also produced the film, and again played Gail. In 2015, she was named as a member of the Jury for the Main Competition at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. The festival is chaired by Alfonso Cuarón. Also in 2015, Banks became a spokeswoman for Realtor.com in their series of television commercials.
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