Elizabeth Banks on Her Biggest Career Mistake

Interviews with people who shape our culture.
April 19 2012 2:21 PM

My Big Fat Early Career Mistake

The movie Elizabeth Banks wishes she’d never made.

Actress Elizabeth Banks attends 'The Five Year Engagement' Premiere opening night party during the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival at the MOMA on April 18, 2012 in New York City.
Elizabeth Banks at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 18 in New York City

Photo by Michael Loccisano

Elizabeth Banks has appeared in her share of breakout films over the years, including her latest The Hunger Games and the 2005 Judd Apatow hit The 40-Year-Old Virgin.   

But the 38-year-old actress knows full well that the roles she landed in her 20s won’t be available to her when she heads into her 40s. The trick, she says, is figuring out how to age gracefully. And for her that may well mean directing.

In an interview with Slate’s Jacob Weisberg, Banks says she’s drawn to directing because it offers something she doesn’t have as an actress: creative control. She also opens up about her worst career move—taking a role in a low-budget film called Surrender Dorothy while she was still in college.


You can watch three other segments from the Banks interview. In Part 1, she describes what it’s like working with Judd Apatow. In Part 2, she explains how the best-selling parenting manual What To Expect When You’re Expecting was turned into a comedy. And in the third segment, Banks answers Slate readers’ questions. Look for an audio podcast of the entire interview in the days ahead.





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