Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Leslie Mann

The actor: Leslie Mann, who most recently portrayed Katherine Heigl's suspicious older sister in Knocked Up, opposite Paul Rudd. The film, her second with director (and husband) Judd Apatow, provided Mann with a meaty character in a career with more than its share of supporting roles.

Big Daddy (1999)—"Corinne Maloney"

Leslie Mann: What comes to mind? Big boobs. That was fun working with all those guys I'd known for a really long time. My daughter, who's now 9, is in love with those two little boys who I worked with [Cole and Dylan Sprouse, who  played Julian "Frankenstein" McGrath]. I had a blast. It was fun working with Adam Sandler and Jack Giarraputo, who produced it. We moved to NY for a couple of months, and I'd just had a baby, and it was my first job after having a baby.


The A.V. Club: Was that rough?

LM: No, it was fine, because Judd was there watching Maude while I was working and getting some writing done. I pretty much have a good time on everything. That'll be my answer for everything.

Bottle Rocket (1996)—uncredited

LM: Because I was cut out. I'd just read for James Brooks on Beautiful Girls. He decided not to direct it, and then I didn't do it, but that's how I met James Brooks, and then he brought me in for Bottle Rocket. I worked with Luke and Owen [Wilson], and Wes [Anderson] directed it. I remember I had a Southern accent, and I was in a bikini. I would love to find that, just to see how good my body looked at the time, pre-kids, but I haven't been able to. [Laughs.] I guess I could ask somebody. But it was fun, because Polly Platt produced it, and James Brooks, and I got to meet Luke and Owen and Wes. It was fun. See? "It was fun."


The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)—"Nicky"

LM: The first time I worked with Judd was on The Cable Guy, and that was a tricky situation. I wasn't sure if I would like working with him, and then it ended up that I loved working with him, because we had such a good time together. [Virgin] was his first time directing a movie, and he's just a very generous director, and makes it really fun for all of the actors. It was great working with Steve Carell. It was fun.


AVC: Did you actually spit up on Steve Carell, or was that done off-camera?

LM:I did. It was raining that night, and it was really late. We did the scene, and they didn't put the throwing-up in the scene; they left that out. I'm like, "Judd, you really need to do that." I really fought for them to do that. [Laughs.] I don't know why; I just thought it'd be fun to throw up on Steve. So I had to make my own little concoction. It was strawberry yogurt and some kind of kefir to make it a little runnier. I had to take big gulps of that and then spit it all over Steve.


Virgin High (1991)—"'Squiggle' Girl"

LM: My friend was in some commercial workshop when we were living in Newport Beach going to high school. She had a number to call for extra work. We were just extras. And for some reason, they put that on my IMDB thing.


AVC: It says "'squiggle' girl."

LM: It sounds like a porno, huh?

Knocked Up (2007)—"Debbie"

LM: I think that was probably the most fun I've ever had acting, because I got to do a lot more. I feel like a lot of these scripts that people like me get have really underwritten female parts, and I think Judd did a really good job of writing the female parts of this movie, so that was obviously more fun for me.


AVC: Was he writing for you?

LM: He likes to write for people, so yeah, he was writing for me. Actually, he was thinking of Alison Lohman [for "Alison Scott"], but that didn't work out. They auditioned a lot of people, and then Katie was really the best of them.


AVC: Is it tough working with your husband on a set?

LM: It's not. It's like I said: He's really fun. He was a stand-up comedian for a lot of years, so he has a lot of that skill, and it's very loose and free. It's not traditional, kind of memorize your lines and the director says "action" and then you do the scene, and then he says "cut" and makes adjustments, and you go on until he's happy. With Judd, he says "action," you read the scene, and then he re-writes it as we're rolling, so he yells out a lot of different lines or different directions to take the scene in. It's really fun. It really keeps you on your toes.


AVC: Do you switch into director-and-actor mode on the set?

LM: We really love talking about it all the time, so it's not like he's a banker and I'm an actress, and we don't understand what the whole process is. From the beginning until the end, we just love talking about every part of it together, so we're lucky in that way.


Timecode (2000)—"Cherine"

LM: It was all shot in real time. We did a lot of rehearsing—that was all improvised too.


AVC: How did that work?

LM: Well, all of the actors got together at like 8 o'clock in the morning and set their watches so everybody was on the same time. Everybody would go, there were four cameras following the different scenes. For example, when one camera would be in the office, another camera would be in the bathroom, and one would be in the street, and another would be someplace else. At 2:07 in the afternoon, everybody would need to feel the earthquake. And at 2:10, one of the cameras would need to follow somebody into the office. I thought it was fun to watch, but it probably didn't make a whole lot of sense.


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