Elizabeth Banks on the Secret to Great Comedy

Interviews with people who shape our culture.
April 16 2012 2:18 PM

Bent for Laughs

Elizabeth Banks on the secret to great comic acting.

 Elizabeth Banks attends the European Premiere of 'The Hunger Games' in east London on March 14, 2012
Elizabeth Banks

Photograph by Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images.

If you saw The Hunger Games, you may not have recognized Elizabeth Banks beneath the pink-streaked hair and all the makeup. 

Playing Effie Trinket is one of four feature film roles in 2012 for the 38-year-old actress, who earlier made her mark in comedies like The 40 Year Old Virgin and Role Models, and on NBC’s 30 Rock.

Banks recently sat down with Slate’s Jacob Weisberg to talk about her fondness for improv, how she was inspired by Rosalind Russell, and the joys of working with Judd Apatow.

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In the days ahead, look for more of our interview with Elizabeth Banks, including her take on turning What to Expect When You’re Expecting into a feature film, her answers to reader questions, and what she considers the biggest mistake of her career.