WWhen Elizabeth Banks started in Hollywood in the late '90s, she had one goal: a career like Julia Roberts. "Everyone wanted to be Julia Roberts," she says. "I still want to be Julia Roberts! Believe me, if I were Julia Roberts, I would not work so hard. "In the last two decades, Banks has indeed worked very hard. And if her name is not known straight away, it's certainly her work. She has appeared regularly in commercial comedy films – The 40-year-old maiden (2005) What to expect, if you expect it (2012) – and a returning guest star on TV shows like 30 Rock and Modern familyfor which she received Emmy nominations. For a while she played the eccentric Effie Trinket in the wildly successful hunger Games Trilogy (2012-2015) and at the same time the Gobby Gail Abernathy-McKadden in the Pitch perfect Series (2012-2017).
But it is the work of the bank as a producer Pitch perfect) and a director (am Pitch perfect 2, which became the highest-grossing music comedy film of all time), which has earned it international recognition. She has changed from a job actor to a bankable filmmaker, a transition that is usually difficult and complicated – but she made it seem easy. This month, a new one will be released Charlie & # 39; s angel reboot, a film Banks wrote, produced and directed. At 45, she has become a threefold threat: actress, filmmaker and business magnate in one.
"I was a frustrated actor," she says. We chat at an unremarkable brunch in LA, an airy, fairy-tale place that seems to disgust their work ethic. There are instructions to: "Please keep your laptop in your pocket, this table is for dining, daydreaming and entertaining."
"I did not have enough to do," she continues. "The industry did not offer me enough, I was not allowed to tell the stories I wanted to tell." Julia Roberts never has these problems. "she decides what she want to do, when she would like to. You have to open up your own possibilities. "
In 2013, Banks was looking for a Romcom director Pitch perfect 2 came with. The opportunity was unexpected. She had followed her own path for a while. She was the director and lead actress of a public announcement for the American Heart Association that became "very viral" and a funny short film starring actress Chloë Grace Moretz. Banks had already started a production company with her husband, sports journalist Max Handelman, Brownstone. As the director of Pitch perfect Banks refused a sequel and found it child's play to accept the job. She was already a producer in the franchise business. She had all the information she needed. I suggest Banks was a frustrated director on the set of her entire career, and she yells, "I'm not the only one!"
She has learned everything she knows about the workplace, says Banks. "But that means that you'll see pretty quickly if you're in a process with someone who does not know what he's doing, and trusting someone who does not know what he's doing is frightening, it's happening to everyone We all work with people who are not up to the job. "
Banks recalls a meeting with Sony just to announce: "I want to direct Charlie & # 39; s angel to be able to work for a big studio with a big budget? They do not usually just distribute it. But I felt ready and confident. " Pitch perfect 2 earned $ 69 million on the opening weekend, setting a record for a director. Banks was awarded as a filmmaker. Suddenly she was asked in a way she had not been before: she wanted to realize the bigger vision of a movie instead of playing a smaller, acting role in it. "I would not say I could have directed what I wanted," she says. "But I definitely had room to have some autonomy about what I would do next."
Watch out Charlie & # 39; s angelit is impossible to question their ambition. The investigative agency of Charles Townsend has increased and there are now groups of angels worldwide – all smart, well-educated women. Banks play a key role: Bosley to the angels Sabina (Kristen Stewart), Elena (Naomi Scott) and Jane (Ella Balinska).
Some details of the film – for example, that a female employee in a large tech company discovers a sinister plot but is rejected by her male bosses – could be construed as political. Can not you avoid this in 2019? "I do not do great things," she says. "I happened to shoot an action movie about corporate disruption that also features women in the lead roles, and everyone says, 'What a political statement! And I mean, 'Is that it?' If they were all men and it was exactly the same story, it would not be very political, would it? I wanted to make a broader, appealing film, rather than something really political. "
She finds it interesting that "simply because I made a movie starring women who are feminist enough, that's what I heard when I put the film together." You're lucky you can do it. It's feminist enough. "You do not have to push it." And I thought, "I do not think I'll push it at all!"
Banks has dropped the male look Charlie & # 39; s angel Past and has loaded the film with "devious feminist ideas". "Little things," she says, "like" Do not forget to smile! "Because the reality for female directors is that they still do not have the same opportunities as men, even those who are allowed to lead a juggernaut Charlie & # 39; s angel,
"I think you've never heard anyone say to a man, 'You can not stage this story because it's a woman' and yet I'm told I will not tell you who she is said – that I could not manage men because they would not follow me as a director. Director is all about leadership. So basically they said I could not lead. I've worked with many difficult men as actors and it has never been a problem. A good leader is a good leader. I did not take to heart what this gentleman said to me, but I'm sure he never said so to a man. "
Banks was born as the daughter of a bank employee and a factory worker as Elizabeth Mitchell in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. As the eldest of four children, she grew up in a close family that "did a wonderful job and supported me all my life." But it was not always easy. "My education was socio-economically difficult," she says. "That meant you had to make decisions that you could afford."
How bad did it get? "Kamala Harris is talking a lot about this now, and a $ 500 emergency will basically bankrupt many families, so it was." When I grew up and the car broke down, it was a state of emergency. "My parents did an excellent job to protect us from that, but for me, a big part of the success is not to worry if the car breaks down. "
Banks met her husband in 1992 on their first day at the University of Pennsylvania. She studied at the American Conservatory Theater before settling in LA and marrying in 2003. They are now parents of two boys who were both born from pregnancy. Surrogate motherhood due to a uterine problem or what Banks calls "broken stomach" in her personal blog. "We make a baby cake," she explained then, "and bake it in the" oven "of another woman."
The family practices Judaism, although Banks is never officially converted. When we meet, the Jewish New Year is only a few days away. "We are bad Jews this year because we decided to bring the kids to Disneyland," Banks says, her eyes lit up. "They do not know we're leaving, it's a surprise, they have a free day at school and I felt like we'd stay here for work, but this way I'm out for the day My youngest with in his first roller coaster and I'm so excited. "
After a decade in the same house, the Banks clan has recently been upgraded to a sizeable estate in Sherman Oaks, and she enjoys doing the "Nesting, Decorating, and Organizing," which was not specifically planned for the past 10 years. She's getting better, Banks says as she takes a break. "I want to be available to my children as much as possible. We could try to make a Saturday night, but we will not leave the house until the kids are in bed so they do not miss a minute at the weekend. I decide when I have to work. This provides comfort and space for the other things I love, my family and my friends. I am in control of my time. If I do not want to do anything, I say no. "
Speaking becomes parity. Michelle Williams has just raised the subject in a speech at Emmys. "She's one of the biggest actresses of her generation," says Banks. "And she works so hard on every job and yet in poisonTom Hardy made a lot more money than she did. It's hard to say, "You guys, you know, sometimes just telling us that you like us!" You can show that you appreciate us in many ways. On the one hand, you give us awards, on the other hand, you let us play really cool roles, and on the other, you pay us. "It is interesting that we women are expected not to value money as a factor in our value if it is a factor in the value of everyone."
Does she feel that things are gradually improving? I honestly do not find it hard to be optimistic in the world we live in today, whether it's women, directors or women, who have autonomy have their body, I feel every step forward over our shoulders and wait to see if they come for us. "How long has she felt like that since Trump was elected?" Uh huh. "
In 2016, Banks made a strong speech at the Democratic National Convention in support of Hillary Clinton, where she famously parodied the upcoming president. "Some of you know me from The hunger Gamesin which I play Effie Trinket, a cruel, non-contact reality TV star who wears crazy wigs and holds lengthy speeches in a violent dystopia, "she said. "When I was in Cleveland last week, I said," Hey, that's my act! "
Her support for Hillary was "a breeze if you're a feminist," she tells me. "I'm here for more justice in the world in general, there was all this anecdotal evidence that the system is working against us, and now the system is open and active against us, I'm a white woman, and it's much worse for humans with and without skin color, and I'm fully aware of that, which is depressing for me because I'm someone who believes it's all the better at the table, we live globally and we can not put that ghost back in the bottle, so we help each other. "
I would think more if we had more time. As soon as our meeting ends, a black SUV is waiting for them. There is no easing, but I am sure that the banks would not believe otherwise. "I have to find out what I'm going to do next," she muses, before she leaves. "I have to pitch. And reading. And make things a reality. "
Charlie & # 39; s Angels will be released on November 29th
Hair by Mark Townsend at Starworks; Make-up by Fiona Stiles at Starworks; Stylist Wendi & Nicole at Forwards Artists. Green dress by Carolina Herrera; Pink Decks by Brian Atwood; Lucite earrings by Saskia Diez; Ring by Jennifer Fisher. Orange dress by Zuhair Murad; Creoles by Jennifer Fisher