Q&A: Alyson Hannigan

She’s been a vampire-slapping lesbian witch (Willow in Buffy The Vampire Slayer), done things with a flute that would make Joan Rivers blush (the American Pie series) and now, after three years away from movies, she’s back in rom-com spoof Date Movie, which sends up everything from Napoleon Dynamite to Wedding Crashers.

In her first lead role, Hannigan had to be up for anything and everything – including two long days in a fat suit…

So, the fat suit looks like fun…

Right! It definitely changed my whole demeanor I felt like I couldn’t help but sigh a lot. Everything was more difficult and it was really just an interesting process and being on a set there are lights and everything and I am used to just maneuvering about them and fitting through little spots and I still had that mentality and I’d try to get around something and I just couldn’t. It was really difficult. Just sitting in certain chairs, I have so much compassion for people who are larger, because you don’t think about things like that. It was amazing how it affected my energy.

How long was spent in the make-up chair every morning?

Two hours for the face and arms and a good half hour to get the suit on and dressed and everything. The suit and getting dressed was probably the toughest part, the make-up you sit there and they are amazing, but the suit was so difficult to get on and the lumps have to be in the right position. Getting dressed was such an ordeal and intense.

There’s a spoof of My Best Friend’s Wedding in there where you and Sophie Monk fling each other about a bit…

I have to throw her down the stairs! That was awful. No, Sophie is just so much fun and we had a blast working together. Just everything, she’s so full of life and great in this movie.

Do you get to do a lot of improv in a movie like this?

Yeah we definitely would do a take as written, then a few where we’d improv, but Eddie Griffin (Scary Movie 3) liked to just go with it and fly off the handle. I didn’t know what he was talking about half the time or where to go with it. But that is the mind of a comic so just watching him was a blast. He’d often improv and call me the wrong name – like Julie. I’d say actually dad it’s Julia. I think he did the most improv because he has it right there and I am not as confident. I was just sweating a lot.

Nice… that should make for some colourful extras on the DVD then?

Absolutely I think the DVD is going to be hysterical. There is so much stuff to fill the outtakes. There was stuff we filmed knowing it wouldn’t make the movie, but we could do it on the un-rated DVD. So they were always eager to push the envelope for the DVD. Adam and I had a hard time keeping a straight face in the Jerry Maguire elevator scene. We are standing there with a goldfish and the couple in the elevator just went crazy and started making out with us - he was kissing her and then would lick my ear and I was just trying to stand there with a straight face and I just lost it and was shaking and end up on the floor laughing. That was the hardest scene not to laugh in.

You also have to sing at one point, how was that?

Awful! Awful! People keep trying to make me sing! When I saw it in the script I hoped they wouldn’t make me – then I got to the part where I had to sing a little –damn it.

Drama or comedy – which one floats your boat?

I enjoy both. After Buffy I made a concerted effort to actively pursue comedy because I really enjoy it. The American Pie movies were so much fun so I really had a blast doing this film and now I could go either way. For a while I just wanted comedy, but now if a good drama came along I’d enjoy doing that as well but for as long as I can remember I wanted to make people laugh.

So which is your favourite date movie?

Probably Say Anything because I saw it when I was a teenager and I love all those John Hughes movies as well, but John Cusack in that gets me every time. I am such a sucker for romantic movies.

Sorry, we have to ask this… ever tempted to wear the fat suit home one night and give your other half a shock?

(Laughs) no but my husband did come visit me and he thought it was so weird. It just looked like I had gained a lot of weight. He said he would still love me no matter what though and I was still beautiful – from him I believe that.

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