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People Like Us is based on a true story. Elizabeth Banks stars in the movie, which I am sure that we all can’t wait to see. Phily.com spoke with the star…
Raised in western Massachusetts, Banks went to the University of Pennsylvania. She lived at 40th and Spruce, graduated in 1996, and then returned to make her feature debut here, the 1998 Slamdance festival winner Surrender Dorothy.
She came back again in the mid-aughts, to star opposite Mark Wahlberg in the underdog Iggles hit, Invincible, the true-life Philly tale of barkeep-turned-NFL pro Vince Papale.
“I love Philly, it’s a great town,” she says.
Banks also loves the movie business. People Like Us, which opened in theaters Friday, is the fourth film Banks has been in to be released this year: there was the thriller Man on a Ledge, and the comedy What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and a little thing called The Hunger Games. Banks is Effie Trinket in the last of those three, a big-wigged chaperone assigned to oversee District 12′s tributes — you know, Catnip Evergreen and Peeta Malarkey, or whatever their names are.
Banks says she had read the Suzanne Collins books before being cast in the film, and had a sense that the movie was going places.
“I wouldn’t say its success came as a total surprise. I was a huge fan of the books and of the characters and of that world, and then I’m a huge Gary Ross fan” — The Hunger Games’ director.
“That said, I don’t think we knew how rabid the young people were going to be about it. It’s always tricky, especially because of the subject matter. But I did know that we all loved it, and if there were enough of us out there and they bought tickets that it would translate. And the way that the film has been embraced is incredible.”
When she’s not acting in movies or grappling with the responsibilities of motherhood, Banks is busy with her other job: movie producer. Her company, Brownstone Productions, shepherded the Bruce Willis futuro-thriller Surrogates to the screen, and Banks has produced — and has a cameo in — Pitch Perfect, due from Universal this fall.
“It’s a big comedy set in college, but very broad. It’s a female-driven comedy, sort of in the vein of Bridesmaids, about a group of misfits that are in a singing competition, an a cappella singing competition, and it’s about underdogs, and boys vs. girls. It’s got a lot of classic storytelling in it, but in a very twisted way. We have some amazing characters, including Rebel Wilson, who made a splash in Bridesmaids. Anna Kendrick heads the cast, the Oscar nominee, and then Anna Camp, who had a really great role in The Good Wife this year, Brittany Snow, who I think is familiar to a lot of audiences, and a whole bevy of other really funny, young people.”
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