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Anna Faris Bio
Anna Faris (born November 29, 1976) is an American Actress and producer. She has been mainly recognized as a comedic performer for her appearances in numerous comedy films throughout her career.
Her breakthrough came with the role of Cindy Campbell in Scary Movie (2000), which spawned a film franchise and established Faris as a notable comedic Actress. She appeared in the subsequent three sequels of the movie, with her last appearance being in the fourth installment, released in 2006. During the early-mid 2000s, she played supporting roles in dramatic pictures such as Lost in Translation (2003) and Brokeback Mountain (2005), and appeared in various comedies, including The Hot Chick (2002), Waiting… (2005), Just Friends (2005), and My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006). She received critical praise for her role in the indie black comedy Smiley Face (2007) and then starred in the Playboy-themed movie The House Bunny (2008) which was billed as her star vehicle and earned her a MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Comedic Performance.
In 2009, she co-appeared in Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel and Observe and Report, and also had voice-over roles in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (she has continued to lend her voice for both films’ sequels). She starred and co-produced the feature What’s Your Number? (2011), which was followed by comedic roles in the political satire The Dictator (2012), and the anthology film Movie 43 (2013). Faris has played Christy Plunkett on the CBS sitcom Mom since 2013. The show has earned the Actress further critical and popular acclaim and a People’s Choice Award nomination.
1980s–90s: Early acting credits
Her parents encouraged her to pursue acting when she was young, and she gave her first professional acting performance when she was 9 years old in a three-month run of Arthur Miller’s one-act play Danger: Memory! at the Seattle Repertory Theater. Due to her work, Faris was paid US$250, which was “huge” for her at the time. “I felt like I was rolling in the dough”, she recalled. She went on to play Scout in a production of To Kill a Mockingbird at the Issaquah, Washington, Village Theatre, and played the title character in Heidi and Rebecca in Our Town. While attending High School, Faris appeared in a frozen-yogurt TV commercial. Around this time, “my third or fourth job was a training video for Red Robin, which is a burger chain out West. I play, like, the perfect hostess. And I think they still use it,” she said in May 2012. Faris had a small role in the made-for-TV movie Deception: A Mother’s Secret, where she played a character named Liz, and later was cast in a supporting part in the indie drama Eden, which was screened at 1996 Sundance Film Festival. Faris’ first major film role came shortly after college with her independent film, Lovers Lane in 1999, in which she played an ill-fated cheerleader. A B movie, it was released directly-to-video, going largely unnoticed commercially. Critical reception towards the feature was mostly negative, but for her part, Faris got her early acting reviews by writers; website efilmcritic.com’s Greg Muskewitz found her to be “the one center of interest” of the movie and stated she was “cute, all pouty-mouthed and naive, with the stupid cheerleading costume she never changes out of. And besides, she’s much more appealing than Jennifer Love Hewitt“.
2000–06: Scary Movie and breakthrough
Her breakout role came with the horror parody film Scary Movie (2000) where she played Cindy Campbell. It marked her first starring credit, as she had only appeared in small and supporting parts in theater plays and low-budgeted features until then. Faris saw the experience of working on the movie as a “great bootcamp” for her, as she told UK’s The Guardian in 2009, explaining that she “hadn’t done much before that. With those movies you have to be so exact with your props and the physical comedy and everything, so it was a great training ground”. The movie was a major commercial success, ranking atop the box office charts with a US$42 million opening weekend gross. It went on to earn US$278,019,771 worldwide. For her performance, she received nominations for the Breakthrough Female Performance and Best Kiss Awards at the 2001 MTV Movie Awards. Faris subsequently reprised her role in Scary Movie 2, released on July 4, 2001. Unlike the average or mixed critical reception the original film earned, the sequel gained generally negative reviews. It was, however, a box office hit with US$141,220,678 earned around the globe. Out of the four Scary Movie features Faris starred in, this was the least successful critically and commercially.
Her next film appearance was as a supporting role in the indie horror May, playing Polly, the lesbian colleague of a lonely and traumatized young woman whose attempts to connect with people increase desperately. The movie was first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 13, 2002 and was then given a limited theatrical release to nine theaters in the U.S. May rated favorably with critics, who mostly praised Faris for her portrayal; Beyond Hollywood called her a “love factor” in the film, adding that she was “sexy” in a role whose “occasionally air headed attempts to seduce May adds to the twisted flavor that permeates the movie”. The Digital Fix, also showing approval of her part, asserted Faris played her role “with an infectious level of enthusiasm, frequently skirting the border between a believable performance and one that is completely over the top, but always managing to come down on the right side”. Later in 2002, she starred alongside R&B Schneider and Rachel McAdams in the comedy The Hot Chick, about a teenage girl whose mind is magically swapped with that of a 30-year-old criminal. The movie received mainly mediocre reviews, but her performance was positively pointed out by some critics; Daily Mail described McAdams and Faris as “talents to watch, but they are let down by everything around them”. The Hot Chick grossed US$54 million worldwide.
In 2003, she was “cast last-minute” in Sofia Coppola’s dramedy Lost in Translation, where she played an Actress promoting an action movie. Faris felt the film gave her the chance to get people know her body of work a “little more”, and called it “the best experience of [her] life”, in an interview with Contactmusic.com at the time. The movie garnered a widely positive critical response. While Variety remarked Faris “contributes an amusing turn” as her “vacuous movie star” character, New York Times concluded that the Actress, “who barely registers in the Scary Movie pictures — and she’s the star — comes to full, lovable and irritating life as a live-wire starlet […] this movie will secure her a career”. The same year, she portrayed Cindy Campbell for third time in Scary Movie 3, which, marking an improvement over the previous installment, had a mixed critical feedback and made US$220,673,217. She debuted on the last season of the TV series Friends in the recurring role of Erica, the mother whose twin babies are adopted by Chandler and Monica.
She filmed a small part for Ang Lee’s drama Brokeback Mountain in the summer 2004. As her character had just “one scene in the movie”, she only spent two days on set in Calgary. For the film, Faris, along with her co-stars, received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. In 2005, she also appeared in the comedies Waiting… and Just Friends both alongside Ryan Reynolds. Waiting… was a low-budget indie about several restaurant employees who collectively stave off boredom and adulthood with their antics. It was given a semi-wide release, to mixed reviews and moderate commercial success (It grossed US$18 million on a production budget of US$3 million). In the Christmas romantic feature Just Friends, Faris portrayed Samantha James, an emerging, self-obsessed pop Singer. The film tells the story of a successful record executive (played by co-star Reynolds), formerly an overweight high school nerd, who reconnects with his lifelong romantic Crush after arriving home in New Jersey with up-and-coming star Faris in his company. Upon its release, the feature grossed over US$50 million, and earned Faris nominations for one MTV Movie Award and two Teen Choice Awards.
She played Cindy Campbell for the fourth and final time in Scary Movie 4, which opened on April 14, 2006. As its predecessors, the film garnered largely mixed reviews but was a major box office hit, with US$178.2 million made in total. It was initially intended to be the final chapter in the Scary Movie franchise but a fifth feature was released by The Weinstein Company on April 12, 2013. She did not return to appear in it. Later in 2006, she next appeared opposite Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson in Ivan Reitman’s superhero romantic comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend. The movie premiered to a general mixed reception, but Faris’ supporting performance was well received by reviewers; website Moviefone noted that the Actress “continues to prove that she’s one of the most underrated and consistently charming comediennes out there. She doesn’t do Scary Movie-style antics here, but Faris still makes with the funny when asked to”. She and Thurman eventually both got a MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Fight. My Super Ex-Girlfriend was considered a commercial disappointment in the U.S., but managed to make a profit with overseas grosses.
2007–12: Continued comedic work
She then starred in Gregg Araki’s Smiley Face, where she played Jane F, a young woman who has a series of misadventures after eating a large number of cupcakes laced with cannabis. Danny Masterson, John Krasinski and Adam Brody co-starred in the picture, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival before it was given a very small theatrical release in Los Angeles. As for the movie itself, reviews were moslty positive for Anna’s part; according to the film-critics aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, writers agreed the Actress‘ “bright performance and Gregg Araki’s sharp direction make Smiley Face more than your average stoner comedy.” For the New York Times, Matt Zoller felt Anna’s “freakishly committed performance as Jane F. suggests Amy Adams’s princess from Enchanted dropped into a Cheech and Chong movie”. New York Daily News noted that “her spaced-out expressions, her delayed responses, her inappropriate bursts of laughter and anger” also made her character in the feature “great fun to watch”. Her role earned her the “Stoner of the Year” prize at High Times magazine’s Stony Awards.
She was cast opposite Diane Keaton and Jon Heder in the indie comedy Mama’s Boy, which came out theatrically on November 30, 2007. Distributed for a limited release to certain parts of the United States only, the movie was a commercial and critical failure. While Variety found Faris to be “hamstrung” in her role, Urban Cinefile called her “the best thing in this predictable, often silly Jon Heder movie”. She followed this appearance with a starring part in a mainstream feature; Fred Wolf’s comedy The House Bunny. She appeared as Shelley, a former Playboy bunny who signs up to be the “House mother” of an unpopular university sorority after finding out she must leave the Playboy Mansion. Although the movie received average reviews, critics’ reactions towards Anna’s part were unanimously favorable, most of them agreeing, according to website Rotten Tomatoes, that she was “game” in this “middling, formulaic comedy”. J. R. Jones of Chicago Reader found Faris “sweet and likable” in her role, and Matthew Turner remarked for ViewLondon that she was “hilarious” as her “unflappable Shelley”. She later nabbed a MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Comedic Performance for her role. The film was released on August 22, 2008 in the US; it debuted to what Entertainment Weekly called an “impressive” second place on its first weekend, with a gross of US$14.5 million. It eventually made US$70 million in its entire theatrical run.
She then appeared in the 2009 British-American comedy Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel, which follows two social outcasts and their cynical friend as they attempt to navigate a time travel conundrum in the middle of a British pub. Faris played Cassie, a girl from the future who sets the adventure in motion. The Guardian described her appearance as a “bewildered cameo”, and Digital Spy noted in its review for the movie: “Faris is the movie’s star name, though she’s more of an incidental character, needed for plot mechanics and to lend it potential reach in the US”. The picture was only theatrically released in Britain, and was then given a television premiere in a number of countries throughout Europe. Observe and Report, another project featuring Faris, was released on April 10, 2009. It was a black comedy in which she starred opposite Seth Rogen, portraying a bitchy cosmetic counter employee on whom Rogen has a Crush. She was drawn to appear in the movie, as it gave Faris the opportunity to play an “awful character”, rather than the usual “roles where you have to win the audience over or win the guy over, and be charming”. Controversy arose regarding a scene where Rogen is having sex with Faris’ intoxicated character, with various advocacy groups commenting that the part of the film constituted date rape. Despite the backlash, Variety found Anna to be “a great sport” during the “explosively funny gross-out gags”. Observe and Report debuted to a “disappointing” opening weekend, and eventually made US$26 million, from a budget of US$18 million.
She followed those movies with voice-over work in the animated Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the live-action hybrid Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, which were released later 2009. Both features were major commercial successes, having grossed US$243 million and US$443 million worldwide, respectively. She appeared in the computer-animated live action film Yogi Bear, that was released by Warner Bros. on December 17, 2010. It received largely negative reviews, with many critics unimpressed by the film’s screenplay. Pajiba website felt that Faris “excels in lending a sense of tolerability to less than mediocre material”, and The Hollywood Reporter, while admitting to find her “very talented” in its verdict, wondered “what on earth” made her agree to play her role. Despite the critical reviews, the movie became a profit, with US201 million grossed in total on a production budget of US$80 million.
Faris’ next movie was the retro comedy Take Me Home Tonight, which received its wide theatrical release on March 4, 2011, four years after it was made. The picture was a box office bomb and gained moslty negative reviews. Reception towards Faris’ performance was more positive, with Boston Globe remarking she was “fun to watch” as her character. She then obtained a Teen Choice Award nomination for Choice Movie Actress – Comedy. Later that year, she had the starring part and served as executive producer of What’s Your Number?, where she co-appeared alongside Chris Evans. In the movie, she played a woman who looks back at the past nineteen men she’s had relationships with in her life and wonders if one of them might be her one true love. It garnered generally mediocre reviews from writers, who concluded that the “comic timing” of Faris was “sharp as always”, but felt it was wasted in “this predictable, boilerplate comedy”. The film came out on September 30, to what Box Office Mojo called a “terrible” US$5.4 million first weekend gross. It went on to earn US$30 million worldwide. She followed this movie with voice-over work in the sequel Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (released in December 2011), where she reprised the role of Jeanette Miller.
Her next on-screen appearance was the following year, playing Zoey in the political satire The Dictator, co-starring Sacha Baron Cohen. Faris was eager to work with Baron Cohen as she had been a fan of his “for years”. She found the experience of acting with him “really hard, but also really exciting” as it was “90 percent” improvised. Upon its premiere, critics gave the film mainly mixed and positive reviews, with Faris’ role garnering a similar reception; ViewLondon wrote there was “a strong comic support” coming from the Actress, while Slant magazine felt that she was “wrong” for her part. Los Angeles Times, however, called her “the film’s standout” and stated that when “she opens her mouth, that rasp that has made her so much fun to watch (the “Scary Movie” franchise most memorably) takes hold and turns the dialogue inside out. The kind of true-believer purity she brings to Zoey’s eco-terrorizing rants comes close to stealing Baron Cohen’s comic thunder”. The picture was a box office success, grossing US$179 million globally, and earned Faris the Star of the Year Award at the National Association of Theatre Owners.
Her first 2013 release was Movie 43, an independent anthology black comedy that featured 14 different storylines, with each segment having a different director. Faris’ segment, titled “The Proposition”, was directed by Steve Carr and revolves around a man who attempts to propose to his girlfriend, but she reveals to him that she is a coprophiliac. She appears with husband Chris Pratt, which is her third film collaboration with him. The compilation movie was universally panned by critics, with the Chicago Sun-Times calling it “the Citizen Kane of awful”. It was, however, a moderate profit at the box office, where it made US$32 million on a budget of US$6 million. Shortly after Movie 43 premiered, I Give It a Year, a British romantic-comedy co-starring Faris, was also released. The film was about two lovers who hastily decide to tie the knot, but as their first year of marriage unfolds, temptation and incompatibility put their relationship in jeopardy. It received mixed reviews but was considered a box office success in the UK.
In January 2013, she was cast in the main role of the CBS sitcom series Mom, which debuted later that year on September 23. Her character is Christy, a newly-sober single mom who tries to pull her life together in Napa Valley. As she landed the part, the show gave Faris, who had guest-starred in various television programs until then, her first full-time television role. Besides being a ratings success, the sitcom has received generally favorable reviews, with much praise going towards Faris; Vulture called her “the most talented comic Actress of her generation”, and Boston Herald critic, Mark A. Perigard wrote in his verdit: “This is dark material, yet Faris balances it with a genuine winsomeness, able to wring laughs out of the most innocuous lines”. She has been nominated for a Prism Award in the category of Performance in a Comedy Series, as well as a People’s Choice Award for the Favorite Actress in a New Television Series.
Faris reprised her voice role as weather intern Sam Sparks in the animated science-fiction comedy sequel Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, that was released on September 27, 2013, four days after Mom debuted. As its predecessor, the movie attracted positive comments from reviewers (with a 70% Rotten Tomatoes rating), and was highly profitable, with sales of US$274.3 million. Her next movie appearance was an uncredited cameo in the 2014 action-comedy 22 Jump Street.
Image and media
During her career, Faris has become notable for her comedic performances, and has been called one of the “most talented comic actresses” of her generation by several publications. Cosmopolitan magazine named her “the Cosmo’s Fun Fearless Female of the Year” in 2010, and Tad Friend described her in The New Yorker as “Hollywood’s most original comic Actress“. A Vulture article called Faris “her generation’s Goldie Hawn” and she has been often compared to Comedian Lucille Ball. The Wrap likening her to Ball, asserted the Actress “has impeccable timing and isn’t afraid to cast dignity aside in pursuit of a hardy laugh”.
Although various of her movies have fared badly with film critics and audiences, Faris remains often acclaimed for her portrayals in most of them; A.V. Club once stated it was a “pleasure to watch” Faris on screen and described her as “a gifted, likeable Comedian who tends to be the best element of many terrible movies”. Slant magazine’s Dana Stevens wrote in her review for Faris’ vehicle What’s Your Number?: “More than any contemporary comedienne I can think of (with the possible exception of Kristen Wiig, who mines a different, drier vein), Faris demonstrates this fearless anything-for-a-laugh quality. It would be wonderful to see her in a movie that tested the limits of that audacity, rather than forcing her to tamp it down”. Most critics agree that her 2007 indie comedy Smiley Face remains one of her best films; Los Angeles Times remarked that this film was “an opportunity for the Actress to show that she can carry a movie composed of often hilarious nonstop misadventures. No matter how outrageously or foolishly Faris’ Jane behaves, she remains blissfully appealing—such are Faris’ fearless comedic skills and the freshness of her radiant blond beauty”.
Faris has appeared on the covers and photo sessions of several magazines throughout her career; she graced the September 2000 cover of Raygun, and in subsequent years the list has grown to include Playboy, Self, Cosmopolitan, among others. She was featured in GQ UK’s June 2001 pictorial of “Young Hollywood”. She has been listed as No. 57, No. 39, No. 42 and No. 44 in Maxim magazine’s “Hot 100” in 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively. In 2009, she was ranked No. 60 in FHM ’s “100 Sexiest Women in the World”, and ranked No. 96 on the same list in 2010. Ask Men also featured her as No. 78 on its 2009 “100 Most Desirable Women in the World” list.