Krysten Ritter discusses her role in Killing Bono, working with director Nick Hamm, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, and much more.
If you ask me, it's difficult for anyone to NOT be a fan of actress Krysten Ritter. After appearing in What Happens in Vegas, 27 Dresses, Confessions of a Shopaholic, She's Out of My League, and a memorable arc on the AMC series Breaking Bad, Krysten Ritter has established herself as a go-to actress for any sort of unconventional role. Krysten Ritter appears in the fantastic comedy Killing Bono, which is based on music critic Neil McCormick's memoir, and hits theaters on November 4. Krysten Ritter plays Gloria, Neil McCormick's spunky new neighbor who becomes his love interest. I recently had the chance to speak with Krysten Ritter over the phone, and here's what she had to say.
I really enjoyed the movie, but I haven't gotten a chance to read the book yet. I was wondering if Gloria was present in the book, or if she was invented for the movie?
Krysten Ritter: Well, she was very present. She is now Neil's wife, in real life. They're married, but, she's not an American girl, so that's slightly different. Also, in real life, when they met, she had a kid. They decided I was too young to have a kid who was nine, so they decided to get rid of that for the purpose of the movie. But yes, she's a real person.
Did you get to talk to her at all before shooting?
Krysten Ritter: I didn't. They made the character American, but I never met her, or Neil. They were on set at different times than I was, so I missed it.
I talked to Ben (Barnes) recently, and he said that (director) Nick (Hamm) didn't want him to meet Neil, so he could create his own version of the character.
He was great. I'm always drawn to these kinds of stories, and this is just one hell of a story. What was your first reaction to the script, when you first when through this?
Krysten Ritter: I always fancied myself as rock star. I love that world, I love the music, so it was a piece of material in a genre that I responded to. I love U2 and I was definitely down for that. I talked to the director on the phone and he sort of tailored the part to mimic me. This scrappy, beatnik model running around the lower east side with a guitar around my back. He loved that and incorporated into the script that I was a punk rocker, been there done that, which is sort of my story as well. I sort of went a different direction. I'm too girly to be a rock star. Yeah, that's how I came about, and I went over to Ireland and drank a couple Guinness'. It was fun.
What I really liked about this is you get to see both the highs and the lows. You get the highs with U2, and the lows with Neil. Can you talk a bit about working with Ben and Pete (Postlethwaite), since it was his last film. Can you talk about just the experience of being on the set with this talented cast?
Krysten Ritter: Yeah, Ben and I got along really well, right away. His girlfriend is adorable and we all hung out together. Robert Sheehan, I feel is just electric on camera. I was telling my friends, 'This kid is like Johnny Depp.' He's gorgeous and he can act. Unfortunately, I didn't get to spend much time with Pete. It was sad. I know he was a friend of (director) Nick Hamm's, and the day that he wrapped, it was very emotional that he was finishing the film. It was very emotional, his last day. Other than that, it was a great experience. It was a lot of hot irons (Laughs), curls, and little dresses, but it was fun and a good time.
I know U2 wasn't on the set, but was their music being played throughout, between takes?
Krysten Ritter: We heard that we were using some of the songs, and U2 was endorsing the film, which was great. Their former agent was one of our producers, and he would take us out to dinner and he would tell us fun stories about that life, and how he came out the other end and started to make movies. Everyone was a U2 fan. It's great music that appeals to such a huge audience. I was already a fan, so working in this genre was perfect.
Is there a scene that you shot, or maybe just a memory from the production that will always stick with you, when you think back on Killing Bono?
Krysten Ritter: I remember being very sick. We do this walk and talk, where we're outside and we see a billboard, and Ben Barnes tells me that he ruined it for his younger brother. I was so sick, I had strep throat and I felt like I was on the verge of death (Laughs). That's what I remember. I had such a wonderful time working with the hair and makeup girls. When I watch it, I think, 'Oh, that was the day we had to do this to my hair.' You always walk away from it with a different story than any audience member.
I know Don't Trust the B---- In Apartment 23 is set for midseason. How far are you into the order right now?
Krysten Ritter: We're halfway done, and they reinstated the original title, which is amazing (Laughs).
I'm curious about how they're going to pronounce that, though. It seems that they're not going to say the word 'bitch.' Are they going to bleep it, or do they know yet?
Krysten Ritter: I think they're going to scratch it out. I think Don't Trust the B---- In Apartment 23 is what it going to say. I'm just going to say 'bitch' and let everyone else worry about it (Laughs). Yeah, it's really fun. It's the tightest writing I've ever seen, doing a comedy. The writing is tight, every episode is just jam-packed. Every script I get, my jaw just hits the floor. I can't believe the stuff they're getting away with. It's really, really exciting. I feel so blessed to have a character to play. It's not like I'm playing myself, or a caricature... maybe it's a caricature, but not in a bad way. It's a person that has a lot going on, and she has such a strong point of view. It's just an actor's dream.
There was a report last month that there are some actors who will be playing themselves, and I know James Van Der Beek is playing himself as well. Dean Cain and Kevin Sorbo will be playing themselves, so I was wondering if this will be an ongoing thing? Will we see a lot of celebrities coming in and playing themselves?
Krysten Ritter: I don't know. James plays my character's best friend, and that's obviously staying. The Kevin Sorbo thing, he shows up in a scene, and it's part of one of my scams. Every episode I'm doing something awful and ridiculous. I sort of bring him along to show everybody up, so it's used in a funny way. Like, 'What's he doing here?' Like that kind of thing. I don't know what they're going to do, as far as having a toe in reality and trying to cross things over like that. The writing is so amazing, I'm just like, 'You guys just go do your thing, and I'm not going to worry about it.'
That's great. Are you looking down the road at all, thinking about where this character could go beyond the first season, or are you just trying to get this first season perfected?
Krysten Ritter: We're so in it right now. Dreama (Walker) and I are sick and run down and we haven't had a day off yet, because we've been in New York for weekends to shoot exteriors and do press. We're so in a bubble, which I think is a blessing. It's not like we're shooting and getting the ratings the next day. We get to shoot the show in a bubble, and not worry about anything else. Even in my life and my career, I never really look at the results. I always have very low expectations, and just focus on the work. That's sort of how I'm treating the show too. Expect the worse, but if something good happens, that's great. Just be prepared for bad news, that's sort of how I operate. The potential for the show is so great, and it's not every day that a role like this comes along. I'm happy to have the gig, because it continues to be amazing. I guess the only thing I hope for my character is that she stays a bitch (Laughs).
(Laughs) This might sound bad, but I hope she stays a bitch too. It sounds awesome.
Krysten Ritter: They're not letting up.
Is there anything that you're looking to join when the show wraps?
Krysten Ritter: Yeah, we'll see. I get offers that are similar to stuff I've already done a lot. You just have to figure it out. I prefer to doa tiny indie drama after this. I've been doing a comedy, and then a little drama, and then writing my own thing, just changing it up.
Can you talk about what you're writing?
Krysten Ritter: Yeah, I wrote a movie that will come out in March, called Life Happens. We're still doing the nuts and bolts of that. I'm writing a pilot that Charlize Theron is producing, so hopefully we'll get to make that. I'm also executive producing a pilot for MTV called Cassandra French's Finishing School for Boys. That is something I originally developed for myself to be in, and, when Don't Trust the B---- In Apartment 23 came along, I couldn't pass that up, so we decided to retool it and expand my behind-the-camera ventures.
That's awesome. It sounds like you're definitely keeping busy.
Krysten Ritter: Yeah, I am. I like it. I find a similar satisfaction to acting. You're not performing, but it's still character work, which I think is one of the most exciting parts.
What would you like to say to anyone who might be curious about Killing Bono, about why they should check it out in theaters on November 4?
Krysten Ritter: It's just a fun rock and roll movie with cute boys and fun music and it's just really fun.
Awesome. That's my time. Thanks so much for talking to me, Krysten. It was a real pleasure.
Krysten Ritter: Thanks Brian. Have a good one.