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Who The Hell Is Anna Faris?

Anna Faris is back in cinemas this Friday with not one but two films: twisted mall cop comedy Observe and Report (co-starring Seth Rogen) and British geek adventure Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel (with The IT Crowd’s Chris O’Dowd).

It's a familiar pattern. One minute Faris is totally absent from our thoughts, then we turn around and suddenly she's in everything. But for such an ubiqitous starlet, we don't know that much about her. Sienna Miller's been in half as many films, and we know what she had for breakfast.

So, just how much is there to know about Anna Faris?

1. Early years

Anna Kay Faris was born on the 29th of November, 1976, in Baltimore, Maryland (probably best known as the drug-ridden setting of magic cop series The Wire).

She enjoyed acting with the neighbourhood kids, and landed her first paid gig at the Seattle Repatory Theatre, aged nine. There’s no photos of here at this age, so here’s one of her looking really hot.

ANNA FACT: Her name is pronounced ‘Onna’. “It's a curse my parents gave me,” she says.

2. First roles
Anna’s first screen credit came in the amazing-sounding television movie, Deception: A Mother’s Secret in 1991.

She also had a small part in soppy drama Eden in 1996, before her first really substantial role as teen lesbian murder-fodder in daft slasher Lovers Lane in 1999.

ANNA FACT: She’s never seen herself as a comedy actress “I was never the class clown or anything like that. When I was growing up and doing theatre in Seattle I was always doing very dramatic work. Now I can't get a dramatic role to save my life!”

3. Big break
Anna’s big break came in the Wayan brothers’ scattershot slasher parody Scary Movie in 2000, where she played the permanently shrieking lead Cindy Campbell.

Although mostly taking aim at Scream, Scary Movie also took broad swings at I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Blair Witch Project, The Usual Suspects and The Matrix. It divided critics (it sucked), but it ended up a bigger hit than Scream itself.

ANNA FACT: She’s a natural blond but died her hair dark for Scary Movie, to look more like Neve Campbell in Scream.

4. The big time
The success of the first Scary Movie demanded a sequel, and a year later the world got one with Scary Movie 2 . For a film which originally promised ‘No mercy. No shame. No sequel’ the joke was wearing thin.

By this time Anna was also picking up other roles – as part of Rob Schneider’s teen entourage in awful bodyswap flick The Hot Chick , and in actually quite good indie psych horror May , both in 2002.

ANNA FACT: As a child, her parents encouraged her to put on plays and “gave her unlimited use of our videocamera,” but restricted her access to films and TV. “I believe so firmly in reading and using your imagination” says her mother, Karen.

5. Lost in the middle

After all the dumb comedy, Anna showed she also had a sharp, self-aware side as a super-ditzy Hollywood starlet in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation in 2003. It was rumoured that the part was inspired by bubbly airhead Cameron Diaz.

Not that this heralded a new career direction. Later that year saw the release of Scary Movie 3 , this time with spoof master David Zucker at the helm. It still sucked. It still made loads of money.

ANNA FACT: She met her ex-husband, Ben Idra, while making Lovers Lane. They married in 2004 and were divorced four years later.

6. Top of the mountain
Throwing off her now well-established image of the comedy blond, Anna was charming and restrained as the fast-talking Lashawn Malone in cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain (2005).

It could have been a turning point for Faris, but she got back on the laughter bus later that year as a deluded Britney Spears-style popstress in the loathsome Ryan Reynolds vehicle Just Friends .

ANNA FACT: She has English, Irish, Scottish, French and German roots. She’s very rooted.

7. Kicking dead pigs and producing
Then came a bit of a lull for Anna. She was drawn back for another round of vomit and mugging in Scary Movie 4 (2006), decent as a bit part player in My Super Ex Girlfriend (2006), and appeared generally dull slacker mess Mama’s Boy (2007).

The House Bunny in 2008 was a major turning point. The film itself was no wonder (and the Playboy idolatry stuff is kinda creepy), but Anna herself exec produced, taking control of her own projects for the first time.

ANNA FACT: She recently appeared in HBO Hollywood comedy Entourage. “That was really tricky, because it wasn't a crazy enough character to clearly not be me. But it wasn't me...”

8. Back on top
Anna’s back on screens with her best film in ages , Observe and Report , playing the slutty, high-minded love interest to Seth Rogen’s bi-polar mall security flump.

She also cameos a glamorous girl from the future in the low-budget British nerd ‘em up, Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel .

ANNA FACT: She sleeps on her stomach, “usually with a pillow sort of resting on top of my head, instead of under it. I know it's terrible for your back, but I can't sleep any other way. I get nightmares if I sleep on my back.”

9. In the future
Next up for Anna is the animated adaptation of classic kids’ book, Cloudy with a Chance Of Meatballs , about a town where the weather always comes in the form of food.

She’s also said she might do another Scary Movie. “After Scary Movie 3, I was like, ‘no I'm done,’ but then I had so much fun making [Scary Movie 4] that I think that I would,” she explains. “I would definitely be open to doing it.” Um, yay?

ANNA FACT: She has a degree in English Literature from the University of Washington.

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