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.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

An Iranian Woman Was Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist. Can Activists Save Her?

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

We Need to Talk: A Terrible Name for a Good Women’s Sports Show

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The U.S. Has a New Problem in Syria: The Moderate Rebels Feel Like We’ve Betrayed Them

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now, at Least.

Behold
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 2:08 PM We Need to Talk: Terrible Name, Good Show
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Oct. 1 2014 1:53 PM Slate Superfest East How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 2:24 PM The New Interstellar Trailer Is the Most Exciting Yet
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 2:26 PM The Apple Graveyard Leave a flower for a dead Apple product.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 2:36 PM Climate Science Is Settled Enough The Wall Street Journal’s fresh face of climate inaction.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.